Monday, March 30, 2015

The Dumbest Song: Updated Through Sunday

  • 5 Dollar Friday
  • 28 Dollar Saturday
  • Stayed Home Sunday

Spice Smoking Hinders Busking

Friday, I came into the quarter before nightfall.
I was en route to the music store to buy new strings, as I had about 20 bucks on me.
One of the first personages whom I espied was none other than David, the water jug player.
He was standing in the median on Canal Street, dangerously (for a tottering drunk) close to the tracks, and had his cellphone plugged into one of the outlets on one of the lamp posts, which I am now aware exists. Leave it to David to locate free electricity in the quarter.
I hadn't drank, nor smoked pot in 12 days, having walked past the pot dealers on my way there thinking: "I don't really need it."
David asked the question that has become customary with him: "...You don't have any smoke, do you?"
I didn't, mostly because a 6 dollar set of strings was going to take enough of a bite out of my 20 dollars, without further reducing it with a 5 dollar sack of weed, which I didn't really need.
I had really been enjoying my sobriety. Or, enjoying my sober brain, more specifically. 
Being able to remember all 9 verses of "Tangled Up In Blue," by Bob Dylan: priceless.
Waking up in the morning with a clear picture of what I need to accomplish, and the energy to do it: ditto.
Being able to read for 2 or 3 hours, absorb what I have read, and put it in perspective: priceless.
I have gone from being the stoned and drunk guy who gets an idea and say's to himself: "I should do (whatever)" to the guy who say's" "I think I'm gonna do (whatever)" and then goes about it immediately. 

Whether it be setting up the Snowball mic and breaking out the guitar and laying down tracks of the song idea that I had just gotten; or jumping on the computer to work on the Perl program.
Tit For Tat
David the water jug player gave me a brand new set of strings, minus the one which he had used to replace the one that he broke.
"I guess I can use my string money to go get a sack of weed now," said I.
I was feeding into a recent trend that I have become aware of and the corresponding philosophy that I have been experimenting with; whereby "what goes around, comes around."
It is similar to the time that I got 10 dollars worth of free food, and then turned around and spent 10 dollars on a phone charger from the Latina woman, who runs a family business, rather than getting it cheaper at another store.
David was delighted. I had to reassure him several times that I would be coming back to him, after scoring a sack of weed, should it happen.
I found that the weed guy only had "the good," which is 10 dollars a sack, a little more than string money, but he came down to 9 bucks, as I started to walk off. So, my tit cost a little more than the David's tat, which he had given me.
We chose a spot to roll and smoke, and were doing so, when I spotted on the sidewalk, right n front of the spot we had chosen; something which looked like either a stick, or an almost whole blunt.
It was an almost whole blunt, which looked like someone had lit, taken a few puffs off of, and then tossed on the sidewalk when the police came around the corner, perhaps.
"Put that in your pocket!" said David, about the sack that I had bought. "We can smoke this!"
I felt lightheaded almost immediately from the almost whole blunt -almost too immediately.
After we finished, I excused myself so that I could repair to the Lilly spot directly. It is too easy to get caught up in something like standing there for what seems like forever, staring at a flower or something, once the weed kicks in.
By the time I was rounding the corner to go to the Lilly spot, I began to realize that it hadn't been weed that was in that blunt.
Maybe someone threw it down after noticing, as I had, that it was kicking in a little too quickly; and had a most peculiar, almost "doctors office" kind of flavor to it.
I was feeling like I was on the verge of tripping, as if on LSD, which I haven't had since 1985, and I was praying that I hadn't just tried heroin for the first time in my life; if only for the fact that it would make me vomit soon, if that were the case; and that's embarrassing, even in the French Quarter; for me, at least.
I was worried, also, that I wouldn't be able to play; or that I would melt into my inner mind; curl up in the fetal position on Lillys stoop; and take a journey into "the land inside your mind," as the old song went...coming back later to a real world without a guitar nor backpack next to me.
I will have to finish the story later; Starbucks is closing; but, not to keep you in suspense; it turned out to be "the spice" that we had found and smoked.
It is a synthetic marijuana which was the rage about 5 years ago; being sold as "potpourri" and to be used only as "incense." It was sold under names like "Mojo" and "NOLA Diamond," and yes, "Scooby Snacks," was about 8 bucks per gram; a slight savings over the good weed.
Things Not Spiced Up
It didn't help me play any better; actually made me want to go stare at a flower instead of playing; and I felt I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, wearing the wrong color and playing the wrong song; and I only made 5 dollars the whole night; and didn't blame the tourists for not tipping me.
At least I discovered that it isn't the tiposaurus sign alone which garners me tips. I have to have some chops...
http://tindeck.com/listen/tfagg
Speaking of which, the above song, I did while staying home Sunday; It is called "The Dumbest Song," check it out.....of course it isn't totally finished; as always....
Note On The Above Song:
I have tried to use another mp3 hosting site; and I apologize if, after clicking on it; you were directed to the same websites as myself after I have just tried the link, here at the library.
The first one wants you to download and install a "download manager" type of program (when Firefox already has a built in one which works fine). And clicking on the direct "download" button, brought me to yet another page which wanted me to (insisted upon; and gave me no option to back out) upgrade my current media player.
So much for "free" mp3 hosting...they are the ones that randomly generated the "tfagg" to label the file, by the way....
You may be able to listen to it without adding software to your computer.
The Song, I have decided to add a lead vocal to; and retain everything that you hear as backup vocals, pulling their levels down, commensurately.
Then, I will put it back onto Kiwi6.com, which I have used successfully in the past....
Saturday, I made 28 bucks in 2 hours; alcohol and spice free (though I was smoking cigarettes after every other song).
Sunday, I stayed in, after noticing that the time had crept up to 9 PM, and it was a Sunday, which often dies down after 10 PM, and that I had made 28 bucks the day before and not spent any of it on alcohol nor weed.
8 Dollar Monday
to be continued; at library; out of time.....

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

24 Dollar Monday

24 Dollar Monday
Is it just me; or am I starting to look like Sony Bono?

Broken String Cuts Session Short

From the Envie Cafe, where I had encountered "Stoker," I left for the Lilly spot, a little bit after 10 PM last (Monday) night.

Stoker had been sitting at one of the outdoor tables, taking apart and repairing one of his amps, with pieces of it strewn about him.

"Stoker"

He was using one of their outlets to charge the automobile battery, which he uses to power it. He was using another for the soldering iron; and a third to charge his cell phone.


He sits upon the seat of his motorcycle -the one he uses to pull a trailer behind him, loaded with gear- and plays and sings blues, usually on Royal Street.


Eventually, one of the managers came over and told Stoker: "Like, dude, you can't do all that here..."

He had wires all over the place; it was almost comical; it looked like he was building a robot.

The 8 Day Itch
I was feeling the first real urge to drink in the 8 days that I had been sober, and I told Stoker about it. He gave me one of the textbook lines, out of the AA manual; something like: Don't tell yourself that you are never going to drink again; just that you aren't going to drink tonight...


He meant well, though.

Sideline: Stokers Incredible Story

He also told me an interesting anecdote about Dorise Blackmon, during this past Mardi Gras, having thrown his guitar, case and all, out into the street, when he had gotten to the spot where Tanya and she always play, and had set up -over the protestations of the guy that was sitting there, holding the spot for them.

He had told the guy holding the spot that he (the guy) wasn't a musician, and that he didn't see Tanya and Dorise anywhere in sight; and that he was there; and he was going to play; because "that's how it works out here..."

Dorise showed up and words were exchanged, with Stoker telling her that he was only going to play for a couple hours, or so.

No go.

Dorise threw his guitar out onto Royal Street; and a nearby state trooper (they were everywhere) who witnessed it; put her against a wall and handcuffed her; but then let her go; because the guitar wasn't damaged (according to what Stoker related but, more) likely because one of his fellow officers said: "That's friggin' Dorise Blackmon, who plays with Tanya Huang. You just can't do that to her; she's royalty, out here."

I told Stoker about how I once stopped by T&D on a windy day; and seeing their baskets almost full to the brim; said "One good gust of wind and there will be money blowing down the street.."

She had just shrugged and said: "It's happened before." like it was no big deal.

"She said that?!?" asked Stoker, incredulously.

You Can Live On Bananas



I was feeling a slight flare up of the eczema, which had been perplexing me with its presence, throughout the juice fast that I had been on for the whole of the 8 days.



I had only consumed 4 bananas the whole day; along with a lot of distilled water laced with cayenne pepper; before going to the Envie Cafe to blog and to drink a cup of their brew.




The previous day, I had only had a few apples, and a few bananas, along with some apple juice and a few cups of tea, made with spring water, at the apartment -usually a remedy for any swelling of glands and inflamation of skin, which caused the condition to receed within 2 or 3 days.


No(la) Tap Water For Me



So, I thus deduced, by process of elimination, that it is the tap water which they use to brew their coffee which was irritating me; and had been throughout the week, when my evening cups of coffee had been my only sin against the distilled-water-only phase of the fast.


And this was a mild irritation, which had the back of my neck tingling, the underlying muscles tense, making me want to "crack" my upper spine, and the skin, which had been red with a rash which had seemed to take forever to fade over the course of the juice fast, starting to feel dry and itchy with a prickly sensation, as if the rash was threatening to come back.


This was also triggering my urge to stop at Sydneys and buy some strong liquor; as I was rationalizing that it would be like medicine, which would subdue the reaction.


As I walked Decatur Street, in the direction of Sydneys, I felt a physical weakness set in, thinking that it was about time. The whole weak, I had been almost hyper, with my mind racing so much that I couldn't sleep; though I did get an awful lot of reading and writing and music done.


I was walking very slowly, feeling no sense of urgency. I didn't have to desperately produce drinking money, and I still had about 14 bucks left, after buying the harmonica, the bananas and the coffee. I didn't have to make a cent. I could get on the cable car and go back to the apartment, where I could break in the brand new harmonica in the key of C, and do other productive things, like resuming my perusal of the history of America (I'm up to the year 1635, and New Amsterdam has just been colonized).


The weakness had the effect of taking away a lot of my confidence in being able to make any money at the Lilly spot; but I reminded myself of Jim Brown, the legendary football player, of whom it was said would get up off the ground and hobble slowly back to the huddle like an old man in need of a cane, as if he was totally spent, but then, as soon as the ball was snapped on the next play, would explode through the line, like a fireball,* faking guys out and dragging others down the field.
*(I just thought "fireball" sounded like the right word).


I had some faith in my ability to rise to the occasion, once I was set up and began to play; and, especially after the first person threw me a tip. I was telling myself that I was saving my energy; doing a "Jim Brown."


I was also thinking that the time to start eating again was approaching.
My sense of smell has been heightened, as it always is after a fast.


I could have been blindfolded, as I hobbled down Decatur Street like an old man in need of a cane, and been able to tell when I was passing the hamburger place, the crawfish place, or the Italian restaurant. The smell of alcohol hung like a cloud of vapor everywhere.


I made the right hand turn onto St. Phillips Street, towards the Lilly spot instead of going straight to Sydneys beer, wine, liquor and cigar emporium, when I got to that intersection, telling myself that, should I drink, it would take me 8 days just to get back to the point of sobriety that I had reached.


And knowing full well that the 8 day stretch wouldn't commence the very next day because; why not drink again the next day, since you already blew it...
Well, You get the idea...

I got to the Lilly spot, and saw a fair amount of tourists about.


I set up the spotlights and the tiposaurus, and a couple of plastic sharks encircling the tip jar for good measure, and began to play.


Having to break the harmonica in became a blessed convenience, as I felt that I had to gradually break myself in, also.


Having no real sense of urgency, I began to play "Imagine," by John Lennon, and to softly play along with the harp, making sure I used all 10 of the holes, both blowing and drawing -something which became an educational experience, as I had to think of where, in the song, I could fit each note in order to excersize it and break it in.


As I began to gradually increase volume and intensity, it occured to me that I was singing and playing better than ever, by dint of starting at such a relaxed pace.


I ran through some of my key of C harp songs; able to decide upon which song to do next while still playing the previous one.


I was playing "Wild World," by Cat Stevens when, I was mildly surprised to see two women sitting on Lillys stoop to my right. They had kind of sneaked up on me.


I poured my increasing energy into sounding as well as I could, and felt the sensation of floating out of my body, as if I were up in the loft of the house across the street, laying back and listening to (and enjoying) myself.


The ladies sat there through 4 songs (which I think is a personal record for me being able to hold tourists attention) and I could hear them singing along, as I went from the Cat Stevens song, into "Golden Slumbers," by The Beatles, and then into "Tears In Heaven," by Eric Clapton. They applauded after each one.


When I went into a harmonica solo on "Wild World," it put in my mind the image of a great bird, taking flight in the breath-taking splendor of slow motion. And it was like spreading the harmonicas wings, as, I felt that it was sufficiently broken in and laid into it for the first time in its life, bending its notes.



When I finished the Clapton song, I looked over and acknowledged them for the first time.


"What are you going to do next?" asked the one on the far side.


"A Space Oddity" by David Bowie was what I did next, chosen a bit hastily, without having opened myself to the muse over what song would naturally follow "Tears In Heaven."


I was trying to preserve the detached, out of body state of mind, but was drawn back a bit by wondering if I had chosen the right song -one which they knew, and liked. I had one ear open, monitoring for the sound of them singing along; and was glad to hear one of their voices.


While I had been playing, three passers-by dropped a dollar each to the tiposaurus. As I thanked them, between words to the songs, I couldn't help thinking "How skeezy is that?" -like I was dropping the hint to the ladies that I appreciated tips.


Towards the end of the Bowie song, my voice began to crack a bit. A fog was rolling in.


The ladies got up and the nearest one placed a 20 dollar bill next to the tiposaurus.


"Thank you. I think I got a frog in my throat," I said.


"I heard that," said one of them.


"Maybe a fog in my throat," I added as they walked off.


And, so I was left to ponder whether or not the cigarettes that I continue to smoke had dried my throat out, given my suseptabilty to that condition since my body had ridden itself of a lot of mucous the past week, giving the smoke nothing to stick to, except my vocal chords.


Then, at 11:36, after having played an hour and 10 minutes and made 23 dollars, a string broke on my guitar.


I realized that my sins of excess over my 26 day drinking binge were visiting upon me, as I had no backup set. Of course I had no backup set -I'm lucky that I hadn't fallen asleep with the stove on and burned the apartment down.


It's going to take a bit of catching up, but I had made string money.


For good measure, I played a couple more songs, minus the string, trying to be creative with it and made one more dollar off someone who seemed to be enjoying the 5 stringed instrument.
Then, there was nothing to do but to adopt the attitude of "a bit at a time," resolving to reappear the next (to)day with new strings, and a new harmonica, and 9 days sober.


Washboard Skeezing 101





The blessing of being sober was highlighted when, as I was packing up, a drunken skeezer was yelling at a tourist. It was the black guy, who plays a washboard and walks up and down the street working the tourists by playing the washboard for them, whether they like it or not.


He comes by and plays over me, but never for more than a minute or two before moving along; so we get along alright. He also doesn't skeeze me for anything.


"Your a predjudiced motherf***er!" he was yelling at the tourist.


"I know your kind. You're a redneck, ignorant, predjudiced motherf***er!" he continued, following behind the guy, haranguing him.


They passed by and came upon a group of 4 middle aged white men, who had been standing about 50 feet down from me.


As I packed up, I was able to hear the washboard guy saying to one of them: "No, he don't want to fight me. It's you who wants him to fight me. I'm just calling him out because he's a prejudiced redneck motherf***er. In New Orleans, we shoot from the hip!"


I couldn't resist putting in my own 2 cents with: "I think that's the wrong expression!" which drew a snicker or two from the tourists.

There's the little bugger...

The prejudiced tourist walked on, and then I saw one of the 4 with his arm around the washboard player, trying to calm him down.


"Why don't you relax, and play us something?" I heard him say.


I then heard the washboard for a bit, then heard one of the 4 tourists telling one of the others to "Give the guy a dollar," then adding a good natured: "No, you're paying, 'cause I bought the drinks!"
Then there was some mumbling from the washboard player, who had taken his cap off and was holding it out to them.


Then, one of the tourist said: "Well, now you're begging!"


"I'm not begging; I'm CHARGING," said the washboard player. "I get 20 dollars a song out here!"


I had mixed feelings, admiring the guy's tenacity, but with part of me thinking: "Stop skeezing, they gave you a dollar...Is that why you need to get tanked up on whiskey every night; so you can get your aggressive panhandling game on?"


They handed him another bill, and walked away.


As I was putting the last of my stuff in my pack, he came by, muttering in a disgusted tone, something in which I only made out the words: "...two dollars..."


I left for the apartment thinking to myself: "I make 20 dollars a song, out here," and had to smile.


The Circle Of Life


In the morning, I remembered being told that there was a food bank at the church right up the street from us, every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 AM.


I remebered this at 9:19 AM when I checked the time on my new cellphone.


I then checked my gig bag for the charger for that same phone, only to discover that it had fallen out of the hole in my gig bag which was created by the rats under the dock one night when I drunkenly forgot about a bag of Ritz crackers which were in it.


I had put it in the bag, erroneously thinking that it wouldn't fall through the hole. That would be one more expense which I would have to take care of, before other expenses as, the cellphone also became the alarm clock that I wanted so badly, and would pay for other things, by getting me to work on time.

My Favorite Meal


At 10:30 AM, I was at the church a block away and was pleasantly surprised to be handed a bag containing a box of pasta, in my preference of "whole wheat," along with a jar of sauce, made with olive oil and not soy (which I can't have) and a can of corn and a can of green beans.


I assessed that it was 10 dollars worth of food, as the pasta sauce was the expensive kind, hence the olive oil as an ingredient.


And, it was handed to me by none other than the girl who drives my favorite mule (the white one with the brown tail).


"Do you play guitar in the Quarter?" she asked.


"Yes."


"I've seen you before. I'm one of the tour guides," she said.


"I know, you come by my spot all the time," I said, and stopped short of adding "I really like your ass; it's my favorite one of all..." We were in a church, after all.

An Encounter Of The Howard Kind


I dropped the food off at the apartment; then decided to postpone my quitting of smoking for one more day, and headed for the store, with 37 dollars on me.


I ran into Howard in the hallway, and we talked a bit about apartment life in general, and sports.
He seems to be doing alright, except for the fact that he thought that the University of Kentucky mens basketball team had been defeated and knocked out of the NCAA tournament "Can you believe that? They were picked to win the whole thing, and they lost to Hampton!"


I had to set him straight by telling him that it was the Kentucky womens team which had lost and been knocked out of their tournament.


This was a bit disconcerting to me, because Howard had always been very sharp, when it came to sports. He could tell you which college a particular pro football player came out of, for example.
I was hoping that it was just a case of him having glanced at the sports page hastily and missed the little details, like the fact that the Kentucky "mens basketball team" was led in scoring by a player named "Amy" and another one named "Lakeisha" added 19 points.


He complained that it is hard for him to get around on his bike anymore, and he is thinking of getting a motorized one. He is 68 years old. But he lives off of McDonalds food, supplemented with Cheetoz and Pepsi...


I went and spent 6 bucks on a pack of American Spirit cigarettes, and then thought about walking to the Goodwill Store to see if a certain home stereo was still there for $16.99 (how they determine their prices is a mystery to me).


It is a Philips brand and has nice sounding speakers. There are some rust colored stains on the speaker grills, which are grey, as if water from a rusty pipe dripped on them; and that is probably why it hasn't been sold. A lot of people judge things by appearance. How many nice, shiny cars have you seen which blow smoke when they run?


I need to get new guitar strings, which will set me back 6 bucks, or the cost of a pack of cigarettes (is the universe trying to tell me something?).


I decided that, replacing the phone charger should come first, and, as I did so, I glanced across the street to see a Boost Mobile cellphone related store.


I went in and told the Latina looking girl behind the counter that I had lost my charger. "Do I need to go to a store that sells this kind of phone?"


"No, we sell chargers that will fit that, but they're 20 dollars..." she said.


"Oh," I replied, rather dejectedly and asked her if she thought that I could find one somewhere cheaper, thinking that she might have been an hourly employee there with no interest in the business.
I guess she is a commissioned employee, because she returned: "Why, how much do you have?"
I had visions of walking into The Unique Grocery store and finding one hanging on a hook somewhere at $6.99.


"Well, I was hoping I could get one for, like, 10 bucks."


She pulled a charger off one of her own hooks and said: "It would be $10.90."


That song by Wilson Phillips was playing in there, called: "Hold On," I think, and, as I handed over my hard earned 10 dollars, it occurred to me that I had just gotten 10 dollars worth of free food from the church, and now I was paying 10 dollars back, in a sense.


I handed her the money; she made sure the charger fit my phone; and then I thanked her and had an impulse to tell her: "God bless you," on my way out; but I never say that to people, and when other people say it, it just makes them sound like "church people" to me; who probably say it so much, it has become automatic.


I felt silly; it was such a trivial thing; but Jesus' words came to me: "If you are ashamed of me; I will be ashamed of you in front of my father." 


Still, I was hesitating, when Wilson Phillips sang the line: "...Won't you tell me now"
"God bless you," I said; then added: "Y su familia!"

Well, that's all for now, folks...

I headed towards the door, lamenting that I wouldn't be able to get the (Philips) home stereo and still be able to buy guitar strings; but then thought that I probably wouldn't have time to listen to it that day, anyways, and that I could be patient and wait one more day.


I thought this as I was walking out and just as Belinda Carlisle was singing: "Just hold on for one more day."

Monday, March 23, 2015

"I'm Not Going To Eat The Apple"

I decided to blow off busking Sunday night, as, for the 3rd day in a row, I missed the (earlier on Sunday) closing of The Louisiana Music Factory; and the chance to get a new harmonica.
Plus, I had been up most of the day, tossing and turning with my mind racing with random thoughts (aka "insomnia") again.

When I did wake up, 20 minutes before the music store was to close, and at least 45 minutes away from it; dependent upon catching a cable car as soon as I walked out the door; I had only had 5 hours of sleep at the most. I dreamed about having a lot of money; during those 5 hours; and, indeed, I had about 30 dollars, after having spent 6 on a pack of cigarettes.
8 Days Sober
I'm on my 8th day without drinking; and am still on a fruit and fruit juice diet; so the things should start tasting nasty any time now.
I really wondered if a pint of brandy might have been a sleep aid and/or a racing mind suppressor.
I ran to the Wal-Greens for another "sleep" drink, and stopped to look at all the pretty liquor bottles, while in there.
The Beach Boys Method

When I got back to the apartment, I worked on a song (since I couldn't sleep because of excess mental energy) using a new recording method, which I have dreamed up.

I recorded a few bars of a bass line, along with the metronome; and then cut and pasted it end to end, until I had about 10 minutes of the repeating bass line.

If I had tried to play the same bass line that long, without any other accompaniment, my mind would have drifted, and I would have deviated, which would have thrown me off when I went to play along with it.
I then played the shaker along with it; giving it a kind of rhythm.

Then, I sang over its repetitiveness, until about 7 minutes in, when I hit upon a vocal line which meshed with the bass -right down to the breathing and the vibrato on every syllable.

I then backed up and sang that one good line repeatedly, replacing all of the experimental stuff which led to my discovery of it.

I then had a bass line with a vocal line over it which sounded good together. An hour and a half later.
The bass line already outlined a certain "implied" chord progression, but not exactly, because the bass doesn't always play the root of the chord. Unless you are Ted Nugent.

The addition of the first vocal kind of narrowed it down to fewer chords which would "work" underneath the 2 voices.

The whole idea was inspired by listening to The Beach Boys "The Smile Sessions" deluxe disc, which included a bunch of outtakes from the studio.

It was an eye (and ear) opener to learn how much hard work those guys put into their songs.

No wonder I haven't made much progress on my CD; I only do a few takes, before deciding that a part is "good enough," and then, all the little glitches accumulate over the 8? tracks, so that I have 8 times as many mistakes as I might in a solo performance. It was a lesson in perfectionism; and I have a new found respect for The Beach Boys.

Brian Wilson is heard to stop the recording as soon as anything is not quite right, and start them all over again; after making adjustments -"Too much high end on the guitar," "Let's take it a little faster, it's dragging" "We need to come in all together a little stronger on the first syllable," "Shake the tambourine so it sounds more like jewelry; this song is about jewelry!"  "Let's take it from the top; take 23!").
I have never done 23 takes of a song in my life!

So, I sang over the bass line for 10 minutes, just to get a 20 second snippet of an eventual song. But it will be 20 seconds where the bass, guitar, and 3 voices, along with a shaker, have been "worked out," to say the least. Now, I just need to repeat the process, until I have a whole song; using the Beach Boy method. Those guys have great voices; not to mention...

The blog title is the name of the song.

It's written from the perspective of Adam, refusing the apple; and it gives a nod to the Beach Boys, "Smile" album, which has a song about vegetables on it.*

*Brian was actually coaxing them, with things like "Sound more like a radish; you know: Blub, blub, blub, blub...You're underground, you know?"

That album was one of their biggest commercial flops, but has become a "cult classic," according to Paul, of Doreen's Jazz Band.

Since I blew off busking Sunday night and slept instead, I was up before dawn,  and got an early start to the day.

The Nick Of Time

I had been meaning to go to the food stamp office to notify them of my change of address, in case they send me any correspondence, notifying me of an appointment, or of my need to go in an file a "status report."

Like a kid showing off his birthday gifts...
Most of their requests, if not complied with, will result in them cancelling the food card. This seems to be a way of saving the state some money. If they tell all of the benefit recipients to jump through hoops, then, invariably there will be some who won't jump, for one reason or another (they are in jail) and then, they can cut them off. No use feeding a guy who is being fed already at the jail, right?

I went in there, and was informed that it was a good thing that I did, as I was about to be cut off.

A New "Obama" Phone

Then, I observed across the street, a tent set up where free "government" phones were being given away to anyone with a food stamp card or a medicaid card and an ID. So, I replaced my phone which isn't working with a better one; making it a pretty productive trip to the food stamp office.

Now, I just need to get the warrant taken care of, over in Jefferson Parish, for trespassing upon the rail yard there about a year and a half ago. I was told by the local cops that they would just dismiss it because it is so minor and happened so long ago; but I need to (stop procrastinating and) call them to find out how to appear in court on the matter, without them having to hold me in a cell or something until court is in session.

Had I stayed on the train 20 minutes longer,  I would have wound up somewhere in Texas and, who knows where I would be blogging from now; or if I would even be alive...

A New Harmonica

And, so, I made it to the music store before they closed, on this Monday, with an hour to spare, and found that they have a Hohner harmonica, called a "New Orleans Special" which s actually 3 bucks less (at $9.99) than the "Ol' Standby" brand -the ones that never seem to last that long because they are cheap.
The harp looks like an Ol' Standby with "New Orleans Special" stamped upon it. They only had them in the key of C, and so I will resume playing the same old tired set list; and hope to not get any complaints from the nearby residents who hear me every night.

That's about it. It is earlier (8:29 PM) than usual for me to start playing at the Lilly Spot, but I need to have a 40 dollar night in order to catch up on a lot of expenses. I'm starting to (finally) feel physically weak after not having eaten in 8 days, except for about 10 apples and 8 bananas.
I have to be careful about how I break the fast, though, because food goes along with drink so well.
I'll make one more stab at quitting smoking by not buying any cigarettes; because they are starting to taste like licking an ashtray, now that I think about it...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Love Is What He's Got

Hapless And Harpless
An hour and 4 minutes to get to the music store, and ticking...
I am at the EnVie Cafe; it is 11:40 PM, 20 minutes before Sunday morning technically starts, in this time zone.

How Cool Is That?

There is a quintessential "traveling kid," sitting in one of the chairs outside, strumming a guitar, and singing one of the stalwarts of their set, "Love Is What I've Got," by Sublime?

He is barking it out in a drunken, almost slurred, voice; feeling the false bravado that the whiskey has provided him; and probably thinking to himself that he is the coolest thing going. He is probably too shy to play in front of people when sober.

"I permanently disfigured my face and body with hideous tattoos; there's my dog, right over there, and I'm drunk enough to say: "Where's my f***ing money, you stupid bitch who has a job?!?" (left) -note all the trash and garbage on the sidewalk. Oh, and the empty cigarette pack and spilled drinks, too.

Before that song, he was howling another classic about spangeing change off people, flying a sign ("until the police come") and "living dirty" ("I have no problem with living dirty..."). When the "F word" came around in the lyrics; he upped his volume and shouted the word. How cool is that? It reminded me of the comic, who once said something about how much of a real challenge it is to be "clean" and still be funny. Take those words away from Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy; and they suddenly have no jokes to tell...

The barrister kept eying him, as if on the verge of driving him away.
I, once again failed to make it to The Louisiana Music Factory, to get a new harmonica.
I woke up the final time, at 8:56 PM, which was 16 minutes later than the previous "morning," and left me 16 minutes less time to make it to the music store.
It had been another fitful "night" with me having lied down in the early morning, after having had a hot bath; only to have my mind continue to race with random thoughts.
I finally went, a little before noon, to the Walgreens up the street and got a "sleep" drink (with melatonin, Valerian root, etc.) and a newspaper, and returned to the apartment to attempt sleep again.
I may have drifted off about 3 PM, with plans to be at the music store before they closed at 10 PM.
Clock-Radio Would Have Been Invaluable
 A 5 dollar alarm clock (with even a radio, that I can walk around listening to, without being tethered to headphones) would have been an investment, which probably would have paid for itself 10 times over, in just the past two days. 

I would have been at the Lilly spot a couple hours sooner each night, and been playing a brand new harmonica, during the 4 extra hours -and still have gotten these blog posts done. Only, the blog posts would have detailed my making probably 50 dollars more; and talked about all the neat toys that I am considering purchasing.

But, now I am in the same boat; up the creek without a paddle, and faced with playing from whenever I leave here, until about 2:30, with just the guitar and my voice; but sober (on the 6th day of it) and still existing upon water alone.

I can't say that I haven't eaten for 6 days, because I have had about a half dozen apples, and some prune juice; and a little bit of apple and grapefruit juices; in an attempt to purge myself of whatever is still causing my eczema to flair up; from having way too much histamine in my system. 
I am wondering if it is due to the NOLA tap water, which might be what they use at EnVie Cafe to make my coffees. I'm drinking one now, as I write. I have eliminated the Monster Energy drinks as the culprit, by stopping my consumption of them.
Some stuff just gets into the fatty cells, I think, and can take more than 6 days to leave.
My Findings:
There is a "double-edged sword" involved with fasting and cleansing. One certainly wants to purge oneself of mucous and allow the lymphatic system to continue to remove cellular waste (while not taking in any new toxins) but if this isn't done thoroughly enough, the body will sense that it is starving, once you switch to water-only; and will try to wring whatever it can out of whatever crappy food is left in the system; by constipating itself in an attempt to hang on to it, rather than flushing it out. I say this from experience; and am not sure it is corroborated by any "scientific" datum by the medical profession; but, they are the ones who were putting leeches on people to draw "the bad blood" out of them, not too long ago (a blink of the evolutionary eye) so I am sure I am ahead of the curve, there...

It (the lingering reaction) is giving me insomnia and making my mind race, probably due to irritation of the brain stem; as it was this morning, when I wrote the following, which I post now...
Back To This Morning  
I am still up at 7:11 AM, on this Saturday.

Yesterday, I had a 15 dollar night, after playing for just one hour, starting at 1 in the morning. 

It felt like I was leaving a lot of money "on the table," as there seemed to be buskers on Decatur Street near EnVie Cafe who were making some cash, while I was inside, doing yesterdays post.
 

The consolation, once again was the fact that I am not drinking, and thus, spent only 7 bucks and change, on a couple cable car rides, a bottle of Perrier water, and the americana that I drank while blogging. What little tobacco I smoked, I picked out of the quality butts off the sidewalk outside the coffee house. I don't even think I have competition from other skeezers for them, as, the coffee house is away from their path to and from the beer store.

Now, I must wake up in time to take the 42 bucks to the music store for a new harmonica. 


I am thinking of the key of D, this time. I've never had one in that key, but the possibilities are interesting. I know a lot of stuff in A blues, which I haven't been playing because of the C harp around my neck.

People are prone to say: "hit that harmonica!" and hold out potential money; and if I am caught in the key of A blues, I need to do a quick, and sometimes awkward; key change before hitting the harmonica.


I am tempted to run to the Goodwill store to look for a cheap alarm clock, so as to not miss the closing of the music store; and to get to the Lilly spot earlier, also.


I felt like I could have had a 50 dollar night, had I had the harp and put in 3 hours.
But, I feel better at the beginning of this 6th day without drinking; and having foregone any Monster energy drinks.


I think the fast and cleanse only works when the body is in "starvation" mode, and the body thinks that it is in a critical survival situation and all the available energy recedes to the brain.
 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

14 Dollars Per Harpless Hour

12:15 AM Start
I got to the Lilly spot after leaving EnVie Cafe at midnight, when they closed.
The streets were pretty empty along the way, but there was the usual swarm of people milling about Lafitts Blacksmith Shop Tavern, visible as soon as  I made the corner.
I got to Lillys stoop to find a crack pipe and some brillo sitting upon it, which I threw into a nearby puddle, left from the earlier rain storm.
The coffee that I had drank had me wired; but in a strange way, having not eaten in 4 days.
The first half hour only produced a dollar and 50 cents, and had me thinking that I had, at least paid for the cable car ride home.
Harmonica Blown
My harmonica proved to be unplayable, with yet another note which wouldn't sound, and the some of the other ones out of tune. There is a reason that the Hohner "Ol' Standby" brand are only 12 dollars.
I played minus the harp.
The Guy Who Wants To Play Your Guitar
A guy came along and offered me 5 dollars if he could play a song for his girlfriend, whose birthday it was, on my guitar.
I accepted, and he played the Steelers Wheel song, "Brandy," and substituted the girls name, which escapes me now, for the title. A couple of his friends added a couple more dollars, after he was finished, and "Brandy" made a motion towards her purse, but then rescinded, probably remembering that it was her birthday and, wanting the guy to feel like HE paid for the gift of music to her.
I kept playing, without the harmonica, and became determined to get a new one today, especially after a 10 dollar tip from a guy, who told me to "keep spreading the love."
I spread the love until 2:17 AM, giving me about exactly 2 hours of playing time, and 28 dollars and 50 cents.
Sleepless In NOLA
Getting back to the apartment at 3 AM, I sat up and read the newspaper over coffee, and then tried to go to sleep at around sunup, but was still up, with my mind racing over random things, like Benjamin Orr, the bass player for the band The Cars, who died of cancer at the age of 55.
 
Will I Outlive Him?

His solo album, "The Lace," ("Stay The Night," "Too Hot To Stop") became one of my favorites, and I wondered how old he was when he recorded it; trying to remember which year it came out, and trying to calculate his age at that time, based upon trying to estimate his age at the time of the Cars debut release, which I estimated at 1977, and then finally, wondering how he felt physically at my present age, which would be 3 years before he died; and then eventually telling myself: "Can't you just go to sleep and stop worrying about Benjamin Orr?!?"
It was no use. My mind drifted to Linda Ronstadt, who now has Parkinsons? disease and can no longer sing because she can't control her vocal muscles; and thought about how she too, in 1977 was so young and pretty; and remembered one particular photo of her, sitting on a roadie case, backstage in a pretty black dress, waiting to go on stage; and wondered about the publicity and marketing machine which brought us all Linda Ronstadt, and how the "industry" has changed now. I determined that Linda is my favorite female vocalist of all time (Stevie Nicks "warbles" a bit too much) and then finally told myself: "Stop worrying about Linda Ronstadt, and get some sleep, dammit!!" To no avail.
Then, Tim, my case worker knocked on the door, just to say "hi" and make sure I was alright.
I told him that I had been up tossing and turning for 3 and a half hours with my mind racing, and that, no, he hadn't woken me up.
We talked for a good hour, mostly about music -he plays guitar and writes songs; and then I was somehow able to drift off and sleep from about 2 PM, until 8:40 PM, when I woke up, realizing that I had 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to the music store and buy a new harmonica, out of the 35 bucks that I then had. I didn't make it.
Am I keeping you up 40 years from now, Daniel?

My time management skills are basically terrible, even without the alcohol (5 days sober, as of now btw).
Somehow, lacing my boots, sipping coffee, brushing my teeth, bagging up my trash, packing my backpack, making a new "The Tiposaurus Rarely Bites" sign, putting 2 new strings on the guitar, deciding upon the sea green shirt over the white shirt, staring out the window and spacing out for a minute, missing the first cable car that I saw by seconds...all added up to me being dropped off at a certain time on Canal Street. I checked the time as I hurried down Chartres Street, to see that I had only 8 minutes to make the 15 minute walk there.
Now, I face a second night without the harmonica, and will probably play the same 2 hour time slot. Time sucks. Just asks Linda Ronstadt and Benjamin Orr... 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

That Will Be Tomorrow

  • 3 Days Sober
  • Laundry Day
  • Perl Program Reconstruction
  • The Lady Who Wants To Play Your Guitar
Don't waste the money!!
It is 10 PM Wednesday, the day after St. Patricks Day.
I am in the apartment, having completed the 3rd day without drinking; and having to grapple with the cigarette addiction; which may be the "master" addiction which triggers all the others.
The Devil Plays His Hand
 


The devil is in the news again, as he played his hand Tuesday, my second sober day, when, as I was preparing to go to the Quarter to blog at Starbucks and then to busk at the Lilly spot on apple juice alone, I opened my backpack to retrieve my nail clippers, and found an almost full half pint of Long Island Tea, 40 proof.
I determined to give it to David the water jug player, and stuffed it back in the bag.
The miserly part of me almost made me feel like I had to drink it, in order not to waste whatever money that I had spent on it.
I had bought it Sunday night, taken a sip, put it in the bag and then forgotten about it. That fact seemed a very strong argument for not starting to drink again.
I left the apartment a little before sundown on Tuesday, and, only remembered that it was St. Patricks day when I noticed a plethora of green garments being donned by the people that I passed. The leprechaun hats, and the tee shirts which read "Irish" on them, were also clues to that.
I didn't feel very weak or light-headed on this second day of the juice only fast.
I walked towards Starbucks with 6 dollars and change on me, and the almost full half pint of Long Island Iced Tea in my bag.
I used my gift card to get a coffee (and thus, cheat a bit on the "juice only" fast) and did my blog post, or rather, posted it, as I had written it the night before.
I had been up most of the night and also began to re-write the Perl program to format this blog, and am finding it much easier to grasp the concepts of the language that I had had to agonize over, the first time I wrote the script, when I worked about 70 hours on it. I think I can make it better, faster and stronger and take less time doing so. This time, it will boldface the names of persons, places and things of note (it dawned upon me that all I have to do is let the pattern matching function search for words that begin with a capital letter and then boldface them. That would take care of proper names -i.e. "The Lilly Spot," as well as street names, etc.).
After leaving Starbucks at their closing time of 9 PM, it didn't take me long to find David the water jug player in one of his usual spots, holding the blue guitar which I had given him, and waiting for one of the St. Patricks parades to pass by and the noise level there to drop.

He seemed thrilled with the gift of liquor, and started to pat his pockets, saying "I know I had some weed on me somewhere, I just can't remember where I put it."
I told him about the current attempt to rid myself of alcohol, cigarettes and, effectively, weed (as, smoking it turns me into a cigarette fiend).
This time, it seems like an "all or nothing" abstinence is the only option.
And, as usual, I stood there next to David The Water Jug Player, kind of twiddling my thumbs and struggling to think of anything to say to him. We couldn't share a bottle or a joint, and that really left little else to do. I soon left for the Lilly spot, walking past The Unique Grocery and feeling only a slight magnetic pull towards it.
10 Dollar Wednesday
After stopping at Rouses Market to get one half gallon of "Simply Apple" juice and to politely tell T. that, no, I wasn't interested in selling any food stamps, no, not even a few dollars worth in exchange for a 24 ounce beer, I carried on to the Lilly Spot, arriving there just after 10 PM.
I played pretty precisely, but had to force myself to pretend that I was drunk so that I wouldn't be hesitant, nor be too picky about hitting each note, nor worry too much about the ones that I missed and let them trip me up further.
10 dollars went to the tiposaurus in about an hour.
The Devil Plays Another Card
It may be because it was St. Patricks Day, when people might over drink and become artificially generous; or it may be because I was on my 2nd day of sobriety and the devil, who really exists, was coming after me, but I was offered drinks and beer "left and right," as I played.
I had to tell the people: "I quit drinking 2 days ago," to which most, if not all, congratulated me and/or gave me a high five.
One young lady merely placed an almost full Hurricane drink next to the tiposaurus and walked on.
I moved it to the other side of Lillys stoop, further away from me. (Gee, it would have almost have taken less keystrokes to write: "I put it in a stocking and hung it on a skeezers chimney.")
The Lady Who Wants To Play Your Guitar
A little after 11 PM, a very drunken woman came and sat on Lillys stoop next to me. She was stammering something about "They just tried to rob me. Nobody robs me!!"
She was dressed pretty well, to include a hat which was almost like the female version of mine, and was fairly attractive, for the 50 years of age which she said that she was.
She kept taking a little purse out of her larger purse and looking through it, as if to confirm that she had not indeed been robbed. She kept showing me a gold watch with a gold band, and the manner in which she had fastened it to the purse, so that it couldn't be pulled out without undoing the band. Maybe someone had tried to snatch it and run. I didn't ask.
She was stammering continually as if she thought that I could listen to her and play and sing at the same time.
She requested "an original," and then began to talk rapidly less than 10 seconds into that original.
I then noticed, about 15 feet to my left, a young black kid of medium build who was just standing there leaning against the wall, nervously. He kept glancing over towards us, when not staring straight ahead, at apparently nothing.
He was conspicuous for the fact that he wasn't doing anything; not smoking, not talking on his phone, not drinking, not looking left and right as panhandlers do; and the distance of about 15 feet away is just within my comfort zone when it comes to nervous looking kids. Plus, I had never seen him before; and he wasn't wearing any St. Patricks Day green; not even on his running shoes.
I unabashedly took the money out of my jar, leaving only a dollar, not worrying about what he might think that I was "implying" by that action. ...I never leave much in there. What, do you have a guilty conscious...?
Within seconds, he left, and went and sat on a stoop across the street, but kept leering over towards us.
Soon, he came and sat to the right of the lady, and began to strike up a conversation. He was conspicuously soft-spoken, as I imagined he was the type who usually yelled to a person who was 2 feet away.
It crossed my mind that she, and not my tip jar, may have been his mark -if he had a mark at all. If someone had been unsuccessful in robbing her, they could have easily spread the news about how big the fish was that got away. ...."She's got a gold watch!..."
I wasn't taking any chances and started to pack up after the lady started to insist upon playing my guitar, and then started to grab it, while saying, half teasingly; half aggressively, "Give it to me! Let me play you something! I'm another Nancy Wilson!" followed by "What, you don't trust me?!?"
I didn't like the fact that, in that arrangement, I would have been sitting to her immediate left; the nervous kid in the running shoes would be to her immediate right, and my guitar would be right between us; and my backpack with my laptop would be on the other side.
But, I didn't want to open a can of worms by pointing that out -having one person questioning my trust was enough- and so I packed up, using the excuse that I needed desperately to use a restroom, and walked off. I was content with the 10 dollar that I had made, since I would only spend 2 dollars the whole day; on a newspaper and a cable car ride.
I circled the block; and they were both still there, but got up and left, upon seeing me coming; each in a different direction, but I decided to get the 12:30 AM cable car and come back to the apartment to suffer through a fit full night of withdrawal from food and alcohol and cigarettes; and to lament that the eczema, which I had inflamed during my last few days of drinking and binging on forbidden foods, had not cleared up yet.
I feel better on this, the 3rd day of the fast, though.
My laundry is done drying; it is 11:27 PM, Wednesday.
Tomorrow begins the "spring water only" phase of the cleanse...

Tomorrow (today)

I have completed the 4th day without alcohol, living on fruit juice; and have finally expelled the last of whatever offensive food had been constipating me. I'm a lot more comfortable in my own skin, but it took 4 days, this time, and I still don't feel weak or light-headed, even after having walked the mile to here from where the cable car dropped me on Canal Street. Am I able to sustain myself on apple juice, and the occasional Monster 0 calorie energy drink?
It is almost midnight, about to turn into Friday morning. I am at the EnVie Cafe, where I am cheating on the spring water only phase of the the fast and cleanse with an "americano."
I picked up a couple American Spirit half-cigarettes from the sidewalk outside; and smoked them. They are from one of the employees, who steps outside, lights one, takes a few drags; then yells: "I'll be there in a second!" to whomever just walked in; and then tosses the butt, which lands hard, knocking the lit part off; and there I have it.
I am at the end of "Stop Smoking The Easy Way," by Allen Carr, and now it is time for me to smoke my last cigarette, inhaling deeply and asking myself: "Am I really enjoying this?" and then to proclaim: "Yippee, I'm no longer a slave to nicotine!" and to keep repeating that, until the physical withdrawals subside in about 5 days; and then to enjoy the increase in physical and mental energy and wonder how I could have been so stupid to have smoked for all these years.
That will be tomorrow....


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another "2nd Day Sober"

Dream (click here to hear)

The above song is one that I actually did at Leslie Thompsons house, shortly after I had gotten the Snowball microphone, and was exploring its capabilities.
I heard it yesterday, kind of by accident; when I was soaking in the tub and had clicked "play all music" on my media player.
I think I have about 900 hours of music, with my own demos sprinkled in there, and this one came up.
I immediately remembered having slowed the song down some, digitally.
This is kind of an answer to a comment made by Alex In California, in which he said that "Homeless Mustard" kicked my ass musically. I don't think he could pull this one off vocally, though -I've heard him sing that "Creep" song, by Radiohead. 
Back To The Present
Below is the post which I wrote last (Monday) night, as I notched my first day of sobriety (or dryness, depending upon which AA person you talk to) and had plenty of mental energy for sitting up and writing half of the night. This should bring the blog up to date..
Return to sanity
One (1) day sober, all over again.
My records would indicate that I abstained from alcohol for a period of 15 days; mostly through the Mardi Gras; and have been back to drinking during the 26 days since; commencing shortly after having been left the wonderful gift, upon Lillys stoop, of a bottle of Skyye vodka; which I should have immediately given to David the water jug player, to go along with the guitar of the almost exact same color; which I had given him, after I had received my Takamine in the same fashion.
But, I brought the bottle home and made a decoration of it; placing it upon a purple cloth that had come along with the apartment; and which adorned the top of the nightstand, as if waiting for something to be placed upon it.
Then, a couple days after Mardi Gras, on the day that I gathered up the $204 which had collected in a glass in my cabinet, over the course of the festival, about to embark upon a shopping trip, hoping to tick off a 20 something long list of items; with stops at several places, with Wal-Mart being the ultimate; I spiked my morning coffee with a shot of the vodka.
I could tell that it was good quality, because it had no discernable flavor at all. The irony of that, when it comes to vodka...
It is worth noting that, after having replenished my battery supply late that morning, bought a slide for the guitar early that afternoon, then a new harmonica early in the evening; I became bogged down as I continued to work on the Skyye vodka; and some of the potential of the all day bus pass that I had gotten went for not; as I never made it to Wal-Mart, where I had planned upon purchasing things for the house; like another 1,000+ piece jigsaw puzzle, a juicer, and various sundries.
That should have been a warning sign; the fact that after 15 sober days when things went along like a Swiss watch, I had failed to complete my mission on that first day back to imbibing.
I didn't heed it as a warning sign, and was in fact not really in heeding condition by the end of my second night of drinking.
That was the night when, still having over 100 dollars on me after having made a dent in my shopping list; the guy on Canal Street magically appeared bearing a 1.75 liter bottle of Absolut vodka; and wanting only 20 dollars for it.
From that point, about 25 days ago now, to the present is pretty much a blur; with only a handful of noteable experiences/anecdotes to report.
There was the 50 dollar bill that I dropped somewhere, somehow in a stupor.
There was the 128 dollar night, spurred by a 100 dollar tip 10 days ago, which I have only recently whittled down to under 20 bucks.
That night has been succeeded by miserable rainy nights when I didn't even play; nights that I played but was too drunk to capitalize upon; and nights when I decided to stay home and record music; because I had almost 100 dollars in my pocket; many of which I was too drunk to capitalize upon.
My altered sleeping habits; along with the clocks being set ahead for "daylight savings" worked to preclude any blogging; as evidenced by the huge gap in its chronology.
The results of the recording sessions will have to be judged by the listener (who can get them to play). I was moving at a plodding pace and only managed 2 songs which came out well enough to serve as crude demos of the material. Each one is missing a little riff, or piece of backup vocal harmony, or a shaker or even a finger snap which had been slated to go on the recording.
On the positive side, though, I have discovered that recording in "stereo," even though the machine merely places duplicate signals on the left and right; yields better results because so many of the effects are "stereo" effects.
Before, my "large hall" reverberation, for example, had no "width", and was like pressing one ear to the keyhole of a large hall where music was being played inside -a one dimentional reverberation. By splitting the track into "stereo," it now sounds like you have stepped inside the hall with both ears open.
I have also learned to work on a lot of music more spontaneously, like standing the microphone up in front of me and doing a take by positioning myself and the guitar accordingly and just running through the song just as a learning experience without sweating the details; and not worrying about the little gurgling and hissing sounds which may be coming out of the heating/air unit.* Getting the words and chords and rhythms worked out while fresh in the mind is so much more important than painstakingly padding a closet with pillows and cushions and then sliding an upright mattress across the entranceway to the room where the heating unit is, and then going into that stuffy environment to work.
That was sapping a bit of creativity and putting pressure upon myself to make everything good enough to be "the final product.
Now I just plug the mic in and play and sing as if I were at the Lilly spot; then go back and see what worked well and what didn't. Much lower pressure that way...
*and which, I kid you not, seem to be saying: "Hillary Clinton..Hillary Clinton...first woman president..." over and over, along with other less intelligible, but very human sounding, things in a deep male voice, if you listen closely to it. This morning, I actually thought I was overhearing some news show coming from a neighbors TV; but I digress (and what would one expect at a government subsidy apartment through a Democrat administration?)).
Howard 5 Doors Down
They have gotten Howard into The Sacred Heart Apartments.


He is in room 115, and is reported to be "comfortable," by our mutual caseworker, Tim.
On the day that he moved in, he attempted to come visit me; but I was out; and haven't seen him here yet. But, I know his routine, and where I can find him as soon as our schedules sync up.
I have now completed one day sober; yet cannot ditch the nasty cancer sticks. I went all day without one; but have just returned from a run to The Big Easy Market (about .7 miles away, mind you) with a fresh pack.
I wish they had never come out with American Spirit brand, because they actually taste pretty good; reducing the motivation of seeing smoking as "a filthy, foul tasting and smelling" addiction. Now it just kills you.
I started this Monday morning with a juice fast; my usual (and pretty effective) way of kicking the bottle.
I just felt that the time was right.
What should happen next is: I will gain a feeling of empowerment over, for one, skeezers, who, even if they take a swing at me over my refusal to give them a dollar or a cigarette or "well, do you have any munchies?" would probably miss my head.
And empowerment over the audience which I play for outside the bar; with a feeling of command over my material and a confidence in my ability to entertain them as they listen in cross-eyed wonder.
And the relief of knowing that I can plan things for the next day; wake up early and full of both physical and mental energy and accomplish them; without worrying about where the journey, which begins with a swig of vodka at 8 AM, is going to end.
And, of course, financial woes will lessen; and God knows I need at least one new harmonica; a new set of headphones.
I am glad that I didn't hit rock bottom this time before deciding that enough was enough.
The writing was on the wall, though.
My headphones crapping out on one side coincided with (another) plugged up ear drum (the right side this time) and was kind of cosmic in that regard.
The eardrum plugging up was most likely from me stuffing my face with mucous producing foods during late night drunken eating binges "...oh, that's right, I ate all 4 of those loaded baked potatos that those tourists handed me...I forgot about that. Then I got home and cooked a big pot of sticky rice -the kind that clogs up ear canals...that too..."
Tomorrow will be one of the difficult days; second day on fruit juice alone; and one where I might just have to kick myself like a mule to go out there and play "good time" music while not necessarily "feeling it."
Johnny B.
Johnny B. is preparing to leave here for someplace else; as he seems to do around this time each year. I think he goes to Florida somewhere.
We hung out on my last night of drinking (Sunday) and he was very persistent in trying to convince me to take my music to Tipitinas recording studio (which is run through some kind of endowment for the arts; is state of the art; and is accessible through paying a $15 monthly fee).
He talks about the expertise of the engineers, and the camaraderie, along with the musicians natural tendency to "step his game up," (competitively?) when surrounded by his peers; plus the ability to bounce ideas off of other people "...You should speed way up in the middle section and start screaming the lyrics!!"
And the chance that there might be a bass player or a keyboard player or percussionist just hanging around who would love to play on someone else' song.
One of my concerns has been being faced with dropping my guitar down an octave (digitally) and then trying to play it like a bass; or having no bass at all. Even Neil Young would add a piano or something to his otherwise just strummed and sung songs; to get some low notes happening. A dude who is hanging around because his dream is to be a studio musician; might be just what the doctor (Johnny B.) ordered; freeing me of the burden of trying to keep some bass line going on the guitar as I sing; while taking the songs in a slightly different direction; as often happens when people collaborate. 

CD To Be EP?
Well, that is the news from 3222 Canal Street.
It is now 2:02 AM and I have accomplished more (with just this blog post) than I had in the past few days combined.
I am thinking of "releasing" my CD initially as just a 3 song (EP, I think they used to call them) disc -just to get it out there- and maybe just asking $4.99 each.
I don't want to be "the guy who's been talking about this friggin' CD for the past 2 years now" -not that guy.
Then, I could add songs to it, maybe just one at a time and then re-burning; and re-printing and, what the heck; re-pricing it. The Three "R"s.
All I would need would be a few people giving positive feedback on a song or two to speed me back into Tipitinas with renewed vigor.

 I heard it