Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Sunday That Turned Out To Be Saturday (updated)

Thankful For 24 Dollar Saturday
Disparity Between Plugged And Unplugged Amplified


Haven't slept in 24 hours...
So, I had thought that I had gone out and had an 8 dollar Saturday, only to discover the next day that it had been an 8 dollar Friday.

I had spent about an hour at my friend Jerry's house, who is a sandwich maker at the Quartermaster, and who has a certain guitar playing game which turns his TV into a giant representation of the guitar neck and strings and the guy playing the game has to strike the notes, which come at him on the screen kind of the way the flags must come at a slalom skier; and to actually hit the target on the screen, the player must play the correct note in the correct time.
The computer will, at the end of the song, grade the player based upon the percentage of notes that she hit and a general assessment of how close to the rhythm she stayed.

So, my buddy, who took up the guitar maybe a year ago, is already spanking out Weezer riffs, hitting 80% of the notes, and staying in "almost perfect" time; and has even made progress in playing "Peace Of Mind," by Boston; not for the timid, that song.

So, I left the apartment in the middle of this afternoon, when the sun was still high. I had no money.
I rode my bike around by the bar to get a few puffs off of an American Spirit butt, and was greeted by a group of people who were sitting around a table under an umbrella and who asked me what kind of music I played and if I would play and so I took the guitar out and found that it was in pretty good tune, and played "Imagine," by John Lennon, which was well received and then one of my originals, well praised, and then filled a request for "Rocky Racoon," by The Beatles.

The Rocky song, I had to do in its entirety, as the guy who requested it seemed to know every nuance of it, even how many bars the little "doo doo dee dee doo" vocal improvisation was; as I had tried to jump back into the "doctor came in" verse, but the guy shook his head as if to say "not yet," and then "doo doo dee dee'd" the second chorus.

The butts in the ashtrays usually aren't wholly ground
Holy Ground

They gave me 5 bucks, and happened to mention that it was Saturday.

I had packed a couple of books, thinking that it was Sunday and that I would drink coffee and read at Starbucks. Now, I realized that I had miscounted the days and it was like getting a gift of a Saturday night.

I wound up making 24 bucks the whole day and, while it is cool to have at least cat food and human food; I really could be consistently making more money had I an amp and microphone.


A lot of people like the "unplugged" thing but; in a numbers game like busking can be when one dollar is the consensus tip amount, then getting out on Royal Street during the day and cranking anything out will invariably make you something.

Making 4 Times As Much

I'm thinking of "incorporating" my busking business and having a public offering of stock.

I could divide the amount of money that I would need for a state of the art amp and mic and stand and maybe an Oriental rug to go under it all and a trailer to pull it behind my bike; into say, 200 shares at 3 dollars per share. That would allow me to raise 600 bucks and get my gear; and then I could pay dividends to the shareholders.

I would have to be under the assumption that I would indeed quadruple my earnings by playing at a certain decibel level. I have been told by more than one busker who used to be just acoustic but now is amplified that they quadrupled the amount of money that they were making when playing the same material unplugged.

Marvin in Saint Augustine said it, Jay the really loud singer echoed it loudly, and Dave from Dave and Roselyn trebled it, if that is the right word.

The Diet

I have still not had any corn, in syrup or other form, since the water fast of about 3 weeks ago now.
I have continued to loosen up and become more flexible; even my left knee, which had always been "tight" and felt stiff when I squatted down, because I broke a bone in it back in 1986, has loosened up.
The first food that has caused me to feel less than amazingly well, is either barley, wheat or green split peas, as I have simultaneously added those 3 foods to my post water-fast diet and experienced a slight headache around the temples and slightly swollen glands around where the jaw meets the ears on each side.
I need to retrace my steps; eliminate them for a few days and then add them back, one at a time.
My apartment: far right, bottom floor
I can foresee a time in the future when I might make my own "pizza" using a whole grain dough, like rye or barley, a tomato sauce made with olive oil, not soy, and then topped with sheep's or goat's cheese and then baked in the oven after being topped with anchovies, onions and mushrooms. It might be dry and have crust that breaks easily when bitten into; but I can do without the ingredients that keep pizzas from doing that. It might be gluten that acts like "glue"ten and keeps pizza crust from breaking apart...

I Am Looking To Move

I am putting in a request to move to another apartment in our building. Before I totally "decorate" the one I'm in with artwork and such.

It has the advantage of being on the bottom floor, yet it suffers from lack of sunlight which intensifies the feeling of being in a cellar.

The photo above was taken in April and it is evident that, just 2 months before the summer solstice, the light is just barely angling in my window. After about September, it never reaches inside until spring.

I wouldn't mind being on a higher floor, and it might be easy for me to trade rooms with someone who might see the first floor as being more "accessible." The truth is that through a short elevator ride all floors are equally accessible. In the same way that the intersection of Canal and Royal Street is virtually only 100 feet from my apartment (the distance to the trolley stop).

I will just have to be cautious and check out the neighbors on all sides of any apartment which becomes available. I've heard stories of people knocking on others doors at 3 AM asking for a cigarette.

My neighbors are pretty cool where I am; but I sure would like to be able to open my blinds in the morning and let the room fill with sunlight; it would help stave off depression; and I would be able to turn the place into a huge terrarium. And if I ever get back to sound recording, it might be quieter on the side of the building away from the street; although that is the side facing the huge HVAC unit that sounds like a factory all the time...

The windows might even open on those higher levels. They are sealed shut on the first floor, most likely so that unauthorized guests can't be sneaked in through them.


 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

What We Sow

$8.50 Saturday

Waiting To Be Re-Shelved
I'm broke again and thinking that I will go to Starbucks and try to buy someone their coffee off my gift card that still has about 8 bucks on it; in exchange for cash (of a lesser amount).
I really don't have to do it, but I am on the verge of shoplifting a can of cat food from the dollar store that has been seeing me every day since I moved in the neighborhood, the staff of which having a long time ago stopped "monitoring my activities," as I moved about, usually buying the same things and chatting with them and pulling a good amount of money out in paying for my stuff.
But then, in order to remain honest, I would have do what I did the last time, which was: to go in the next day and buy 2 of the same thing, but leave one in the store; throw it in the Reese's bin or just set it in a pile of stuff that looks like it was abandoned at the register for whatever reason and is waiting to be re-shelved.

Quarter Physics
 
I think I have just figured out a dynamic that is in effect in the Quarter.
I think that the bulk of tourists in town now are "daytime" tourists and are bemused by the antique shops and galleries and tarot card readers etc. of Royal Street and even the buskers that they see there.
They don't come out at night because, like night and day, the two scenes are diametric to each other, and they are only interested in the one.
The Lilly Pad has been a derelict spot; at least during the hours that I have unwittingly chosen to play. I haven't been staying past 1 AM.
I got there around 10 PM and played for an hour and made 5 bucks.

Before I resort to shoplifting, I could always ask Bilal (in gray suit) for a small loan. I might have to if my strings start breaking.

This, I took up the street to repay Bob, the weed guy, who smoked me up before I returned to the Lilly Pad and played my ass off for all of about 10 people who paused to listen.
3 and a half of them threw me a dollar, and I was told that I "had that," in reference to the music that I had been playing, by at least one young black guy of the 25 or so people that walked past me during those 2 and a half hours.
I wish I could sit here and write more, but I am craving nicotine; sorry, reader...

Friday, July 29, 2016

God In The Ordinary World

$7.50 Thursday

I asked my next door neighbor for a handful of dry cat food Thursday afternoon, before getting on my bike to ride to the Lilly Pad, hoping to get there early and play for a long time.

Poor Man's Ashtray 


I had just returned from the store with a can of wet food after I had scrounged 2 dimes and 17 pennies from off my coffee table, many of which were under a layer of cigar ashes (sometimes I am too lazy to get up and find a suitable ashtray, so in order that I don't mar the artificial wood surface of the coffee table that came free with the apartment, I will often arrange a few pennies to form a "cigar pad." I know that copper is a good conductor of heat, and so I stack the pennies 2 or 3 high in a way that I can lean the cigar so its fiery tip is elevated a fraction of an inch off of the metal. Even so, I know that there is hardly, if any, copper in modern pennies, I don't have time to check their dates. At that point it would be easier to get up and find some kind of ashtray.

1982
In 1962, the cent's tin content, which was quite small, was removed. That made the metal composition of the cent 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc. The alloy remained 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc until 1982, when the composition was changed to 97.5 percent zinc and 2.5 percent copper (copper-plated zinc).

So, I had shaken the ashes off of my last pennies and bought Harold a can of food, the 37 cent kind.


The Smoke Ring

I didn't have any weed and was, in fact, in debt 5 bucks for the last bud that I had fronted me.

The bright side of that, I thought, was that I stood a better chance of playing for a longer session, without the time distorting effect of the weed in play; and figured that playing without the "benefit" of either alcohol or weed might be an experience that I have to go through, at some kind of spiritual level, to "work out my karma," and perhaps teach myself that I can indeed achieve the same state of "bliss" without any crutches; and will eventually wind up doing so and maybe I have been subconsciously bringing about my financial ruin to force myself to do so.

The Internal Debate


This has been an ongoing internal debate, and was a recurrent blog theme throughout the period when I was drinking nightly, but the "catch 22" of it is I am more prone to see the world through mystical eyes and in terms of things like "working out my karma," after I have smoked some good weed. In the stark morning light it can seem almost silly.

So, the cycle I am caught in is: Smoke weed because it feels like a mundane, brutally boring day of stark realities in black and white, that could be helped by it...get stoned and have the experience of the world magically opening up and making you aware of the presence of God in everything; then quitting smoking weed because, with that realization, God seems to be telling you that you no longer need it; and then eventually smoking weed again because after a time away from it, the "rational" mind conjectures that you had just hallucinated the whole "God" thing because you were stoned.

The only way to definitively lay the conflict to rest is to quit; just quit using everything; and then to try to find God in the ordinary world.

So, I got to the Quarter and pulled up to the Quartermaster Market where I usually grab a milk crate to sit on.

There was a police SUV parked in front with officers waiting inside it for their food to be prepared. It was 2 black officers, a male and a female, and they seemed to be preoccupied with something on the laptop screen in front of them; something amusing, judging by the way the were laughing.

Across the street on a step sat none other than my weed dealer, "Bob" who asked me how I had been doing. I told him about my miserable 2 and 4 dollar nights and that I hadn't forgotten that I owe him 5 bucks. He is a beginning guitar student himself at about the age of 35.

"I wish those cops would leave, so I can light this," he said and I noticed that he had his glass pipe in his hand. "I hope they just get their food and go and don't sit there and eat..."

A minute later, he said "F*** it," and lit the pipe, hit it and then passed it to me. There is a God for the ordinary world, I thought.

It was kind of titillating to be ascertaining that the cops had their attentions diverted before toking off the pipe as they sat 20 feet away.

It is common knowledge that the cops don't prosecute weed smokers, especially when they have grilled beef and cheese burritos in their hands, and also because, with the number of people coming from other states where pot is legal, and having in their possessions licenses to smoke, basically, they don't want to bother with the additional layer of sorting out who can smoke it medicinally and who can't. Plus, they smell it every night wherever they go in the Quarter; one of them even smelled it, I'm sure, after he got out of the vehicle to throw their trash away when they were done.
The $7.50
Then, I played and wound up making the above amount and wound up knocking off before midnight after only 2 hours. My brain felt fried at that point. There weren't many people out.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Live, Without A Cushion

  • 4 Dollar Tuesday
  • 2 Dollar Wednesday
I had thought that it was Thursday, last evening, as I put in my 2 hours of playing at the Lilly Pad for almost nobody; and made 2 dollars.

Before I started at about 10:45 PM, I had stopped to talk to Barnaby, who was sitting on his front stoop drinking what was probably gin and soda, along with his current girlfriend? roommate? named Kendall.

I remembered the times in the past when I was sober and had no money, and Barnaby would produce a glass of straight gin for me; and I would hit that first chord with gusto.

He is (becoming, perhaps) that kind of chronic drinker who will -well, let me give an example.

He asked me last night if I had a place, or if I was still homeless.

I have had a place for 18 months.

Right after I got the place, I told Barnaby all about it.

He was very happy for me at that time, and congratulated me profusely.

We had a certain conversation centering around the fact that it was my veteran status that had sealed the deal and allowed the agencies, whose members knew me and seemed to like me and even read this blog, to get me off the street. I described the place to him and the arrangements.

"That's great, Daniel, I'm so happy to hear that; I worried about you being homeless out here, I really did!"
Last night, Barnaby, through slurred speech, asked me if I had a place, or if I was still homeless.
I told him about my place.

He was very happy for me and congratulated me profusely, and we embarked upon basically the same conversation, which was actually the third iteration of it, since I had gotten my place.
I guess my point is that I am better off for not having drank the past 6 months, because I had started to black out and do the same thing before catching myself: "Oh, I already told you about that, didn't I?" "Yeah."

David the water jug player is the most extreme example of this; seeming to have only about 3 or 4 paragraphs of material in his head, which he will repeatedly regale one with, as if it is all fresh and new.

I rode up to him on my bike, after I had just bought it for 15 bucks off a guy who lives in our apartment building.

He had looked at it; commented upon the disc brakes as being an asset, told me that I needed to get a much better lock, followed by the story of how his own bike had disappeared after he had secured it with the same kind of lock that I was using. He told me exactly where it had disappeared from (right in front of Starbucks on Canal Street) and expressed amazement over the brazenness of the thieves, and warned me that that was what I was up against . Then I explained to him that the lock was just a deterrent to someone hopping on the bike and riding away on it; and that I would keep it locked and within my sight.

"You better, Daniel. As soon as you see them with the bolt cutters, you better be ready to yell 'Hey, what the f*** are you doing?!?" said David.

Last night (a few nights later) I rode up to David the water jug player on the bike, who was actuated, upon the sight if it, to launch into a word for word repetition of the above.
I was even prompted, like an actor using cues, to remember my same responses to his statements, which, in turn cued him, I guess, to run through the same spiel, as if it were fresh and he was composing it on the spot.

It's the "devil and angel" thing...
It was right after he had told me that I needed a better lock "You definitely need a better lock, Daniel. Definitely!" and right before: "Mine's got stolen with a lock just like this one; just like it! You want to know where they stole it from?!?" that I excused myself, telling him that I needed to get to my spot and play.

I played and made the 2 dollars mentioned above.

I rode away thinking about how I used to pay $2.50 every night to ride the trolley, and that I usually made at least that amount.

Now the bike is saving me the money; and my income has shrunk accordingly.

I had $4.50 to start out with, and spent it, along with the 2 bucks I made; on a pound of barley, a can of cat food, a one dollar cigar, and a newspaper.

The purchase of which left me with 20 cents.

I thought about Johnny B., and how he had to make a certain amount for rent and for methadone treatments, and how he would just stay out until he had done so.

I need to make like 9 bucks when I go out; for a can of cat food, a newspaper and maybe a little weed, and I guess my operation reflects this.

If I was a crystal meth addict; I would think nothing of going out early in the morning, before the sun rose, because I would be up anyways pacing my apartment or maybe vacuuming the rug for the 3rd time; and playing on the off-ramp of the Interstate, ready to put a meth fueled beating on any skeezer who vies for the spot, maybe getting myself 25 or 30 bucks before the sun came up; and then by the end of the day, I would probably be able to afford rent and a methadone treatment.

I'm not saying that I expect my life to be easier now that I don't drink, or that I expect money to start to pile up at least at the rate of the $2.50 per day that I am saving by riding the bike; or that I expect to be making more because my playing is improving through sober practicing; but it would be nice.
The prospect of going on the road and playing other places is ever more enticing.

I just have to get over the psychological hurdle of thinking that I can't hit the road with just 20 cents in my pocket, and that I need to have a couple good nights playing here in order to give me a "cushion."


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dishwasher, Prep Cook

4 Dollar Wednesday

I thought about the fact that I was going out to play, and might only make a few dollars, or nothing at all.
I had accepted that fact.
I was out of money, out of food -both human and cat, out of tobacco products and had spotlight batteries that were running low.
I did have brand new strings on the guitar, though.
I was able to get a 5 dollar bud "fronted" to me by my dealer, who knows well that we are in the slow season and where I can be found most nights.
I started to play and soon up walked a couple of heavyset girls who seemed to have been drinking a bit. One of them wound up giving me 5 bucks just to let her hit the half tobacco/half weed joint that I was smoking, a couple times.
I then went on to add 4 more one dollar bills to the tip jar, before knocking off at about 12:30.
I bought a pound of barley, a sleeve of split green peas and a can of cat food, all for $4.32.
"This is the first time I am buying barley in my life," I said to Xavier the cashier at Rouses Market, but then added: "I'm sure when I taste it I will realize that I've had it before; in soups and stuff..."
I got back to the apartment and put Harold's food out, and then made barley/oat milk, which was excellent, as was the dish I will call "green pea soup with barley and oat pulp."

I found the shirt, and will wear it to busk tonight; because it might be a lucky shirt, or people might hear me and say "You need to put the guitar down and get back to the dishes!"

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Most Empowering Thought of All

It's Tuesday.
I went to sleep as the sun was coming up; opening my blinds to let the rising sun shine upon my plants.
Harold the cat has fallen into a routine of being hungry enough at 2 AM, when I return from busking and let him in; to polish off a whole 5.5 ounce can of food on top of a Grandma's Cookie sized pad of dry food.
Once he eats, he cleans himself on the couch, and then wants to be petted.
At about 2 PM, he will come onto the bed with me in an attempt to wake me up, so that I put a little more food out for him and then let him outside, after he eats it and before he goes to use his litter box. This shunting of  him to the outside door has kept the litter box pretty much pristine for months the past few months.
It was raining for most of the day, during which I woke up at different times, all related to when I would wake up in the past.
At 10:30 AM, when the calliope begins to play, 3 miles away on the riverbank, from off of the Natchez steamboat; I still wake up, as this was my alarm clock for over a year down there.
1:30 PM seems to be a common time to stir, also.
I think that might be when the sun is at the very top of its arc in this time zone; so my body can sense the Arcadian rhythm and that it is starting to go down.
I am very broke, out of food card money, have an empty refrigerator and cupboards...and won't even be able to feed Harold the Cat, unless something happens like myself going out and making something.
I have kind of gotten sick of pot and the time distortion effect of it; and so am almost glad to be out of it, also.
It all starts with the French Quarter, though. There I might find cat food just sitting somewhere; (from a cat skeezer for whom a bag of food was purchased in lieu of money and who left the food sitting there because the cat already has plenty of food and the skeezer had only wanted money to begin with)  money on the ground, tobacco half smoked everywhere, etc.
I'm learning how to push away the voice of negativity: "What if you don't make a cent, what will you eat? What will you do?"
Well, I could always go back to the bag of Popeye's Chicken that they throw out at closing time , containing everything that was on the grill ready to be sold during the last half hour of operation; they cook it up about an hour before closing and then keep it on the heat rack; ready to pull the required items from it; wing here, breast there.
This allows them to be able to wipe down and clean the whole restaurant, so that when 10 PM comes they can just snap the lights off, lock the door behind them and go home.
I always experienced this in every Dominos Pizza place that I used to work at, during the 14 or so years that I was a pizza deliveryman/musician.
I don't know why it is so crucial for these people to reduce the amount of time taken after closing to clean the place up and get out of there; leaving at 10:18 PM, instead of 10:40 PM; I mean, they are still on the clock and getting paid. It almost makes it seem like the sweeping and mopping and wiping down of counter tops is the hardest work that they do all night.
At one Dominos Pizza that I worked at, back in 1996, the manager, at about 2 hours before closing time would put all the ingredients away in the cooler and then wipe down all the stainless steel, wash all the utensils, sweep and mop the floor and be ready to leave at exactly closing time.
If someone ordered a pizza; he would go into the cooler and basically make the pizza in there, come out and send it through the oven in a pristine store, then wash the peal and the pie cutter after scooping it out of the oven, then cutting it. A pain in the ass way to make one pizza, but less of a pain in the ass than spending 45 minutes after closing to clean the store.

And there is always the trash cans outside of The Country Flame, which is kind of a Cuban place that serves burritos and other things in huge portions and at reasonable prices. It is one of the places that the hospitality workers from within a few blocks go on their lunch breaks; a "local secret."
They also spray their trash cans clean at the start of each day, and when they throw out their baked potatoes at the end of the night, they are tightly wrapped in tin foil -the potatoes, not the employees- tin foil that has other uses; and the burritos that get tossed "...I forgot to tell you no tomatoes, I'm so sorry.... they are just as tightly wrapped and still warm, usually.
The potatoes are known about by most of the street skeezers and are ignored by them. A man would have to be actually hungry (and not just drunk and bored) to eat a plain baked potato, right?
There are so many ways to doctor them up, though, that may be beyond the comprehension of the garden variety skeezers.

I have the ability to fast for up to 21 days at a time; which is the most empowering thought of all.
I just found a one pound bag of oatmeal in my cabinet when I went back there to grab a cup of coffee, and so there will be a large mug or two of oat milk waiting for me, if nothing else tonight.
There is some kind of food bank that a lot of the residents here avail themselves to; apparently needing only a copy of their lease in order to get a box of stuff, most of which needs to be "cooked," and as such is passed over by the homeless and stove-less and those not imaginative enough to build a flame out in the country.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Fake Sweat Machine

Lilly (artist's conception and rendition)
  • Celebrating 4 Years At The Lilly Pad
  • Corn Free Experiment Continues
 ݢ unday, I went into the Quarter in the afternoon.

The sun was still over the tops of the trees, and it was warm and slightly; pleasantly; humid -just enough to keep the lungs moist; as I made my way to the store to buy a Monster Energy drink of the kind that has no high fructose or any other corn, syrup.

My health continues to improve, and chronic aches are continuing to abate, and I find myself not holding my breath and all tensed up as much; as I extend my corn free diet.

I went and bought strings for 5 dollars at the French Market, and then met my herb guy at a coffee place, before a large bottle of espresso and coconut milk completed my accoutrements and I repaired to the Lilly Pad where I re-strung and tuned the instrument; sampled the bud that I had paid 10 dollars for a half a gram of; and began to play. In broad daylight; I couldn't help being constantly aware of. ...they can actually see my facial expressions....

After the first hour, I was thinking: "This is why I don't play here during the day," but then after about 6 people had thrown dollar bills during the second hour, I decided to make that my last.

I was back home at about the time that I usually leave the place for work.

The weed definitely made me feel drained and out of ideas, and as if I had said my piece, laid it on the line, left it on the stage, poured my heart out, thrown down, and given it my all; after just those 2 hours of playing.

The scarcity of tourists made the decision easier. I felt like that was giving me an excuse for leaving work early.

The brand new strings sounded great and I really think that some of the 6 people who threw me a dollar were doing so when they might not "normally" have; because I was sweating.

If you can get a drop of perspiration to fly off your forehead in the middle of a harmonica riff; that is good. (note to self; work on plans for fake sweat machine, using tiny tubes along hairline...)
I had spent my food stamp money down to nothing with the purchase of the coffee and coconut milk drink, a cannister of oatmeal, a gallon of water and a brick of coffee upon this Sunday, which falls 11 days before the next shipment of food arrives digitally.
This is a familiar spot for me.
I wish I hadn't gotten the munchies and tore up about a half dozen mangoes last night.
Mangoes are now 2 for 88 cents at a place called Canseco's Market, which is another Latino market and is probably about a 15 minute bike ride for me.
It is Monday afternoon and I have 6 dollars on my coffee table, after having had 26 dollars there 3 days ago.
Funny Story
The guy (right) who walks around in that costume as "the creature," I have gotten to know from seeing him around these past 4 years.

It wasn't until I chanced upon him once when he was taking his costume off that I realized that I already knew him as a person, but never had known that he was also the creature.
He owns a very nondescript white van, with very darkly tinted windows.

I had suggested that he turn it into a "creature-mobile," with a paper machete likeness of its head on the roof; but he said that he prefers to remain low key.

His aim is to make it look like there is nothing worth stealing in the van, which he also sleeps in, and the advertisements for the creature would run counter to that goal.

One night there were some young black kids shining a flashlight through the dark tinted windows and looking in.

He grabbed his costumes head and slipped it on, before crawling closer to the window and, after meeting a flashlights beam with a close up of it with his eyes moving; was able to scare them so much that they had run away.
Kind of like on the Three Stooges, when the stock characters that they used to cast to portray black stereotypes; saw a ghost.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Strings, Etc.

6 Dollar Saturday

I was at the Lilly Pad at around 10:30 PM and it was around 12:30 when I knocked off, thinking that I had made a little bit of money.
Actually, I had started my jar off with 4 dollar bills, and so the additional 5 dollar bills made the jar look artificially inflated. I always break apart the clumps of ones, hoping to find a large bill sandwiched in between. Often people either don't want you to be gushing thanks and embarrassing them after seeing them lay a 20 on top of the pile; they want to give "anonymously," or they don't want the skeezers to walk by and see the 20 on top of the pile and then grab the whole jar, thinking that it is full of them.
It is Sunday and I prepare to go to the Quarter to pick up strings; etc.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

2 Louise Style Cups

I've got my pens, the 1.6 mm. ball point "Extra Bold" pens.
They are Bic "Crystal" brand, and I had thought that I may have bought the very last of a recalled product when I found some last year at the dollar store; but, I guess they are a "seasonal" thing and they are back; in all 8 colors. I love them.
I hate fine points. The worse thing in the world is to have a single sheet of paper on a Formica desk and to be writing with a fine point, so that you can hear and feel the ball against the surface of the desk -enough to screw up your penmanship, making loops too elongated and other letters too pointy- and to be writing an essay on feudalism...
Stories coming.
It's Saturday evening; and I hope my rusty strings make it another night.
I made $15.40 Friday (last) night in about 2 hours of playing.
July wages, those.
I was puffing on cigarettes as I busked, though.
Tonight, I guess I go out because it is Saturday. I will eat some quinoa with ground flax seed and then ride my bike into the Quarter. It takes me about 18 minutes from my front door to the Lilly Pad, now that I have found a way to cut the distance by making a turn well before I get to Royal Street.
I really only used Royal Street to pick up an energy drink on my way to the spot.
The big ceramic cup is one of the relics of the Louise 10 day stay of about a year ago to remain in the apartment.
She brought hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes (for the toilet seat, I assume) and brought micro fiber towels that are very good at wiping down things, and she left a large blue towel.
The last of her candles burned out months ago; I'm still using the can opener that she left.
The big cup fits perfectly under the spout of the juicer.
Oat Milk Recipe
I have been making a lot of oat milk, by soaking oatmeal and then simmering it just enough to separate the fibrous outer hulk of the the grain from the creamier middle part; then running it through the juicer, taking care that it is just watery enough to carry the creamy part down the spout rather than have it stick to the inside of the juicer.
The stuff in the fiber bin is rubbery, dry, grainy and tasteless, so I am definitely separating out the best part of the oat; naturally sweet, loaded with the right kind of cholesterol, heart smart, and filling if you drink 2 full sized Louise style cups of it..
To this oat milk can be added honey, cinnamon, ground dates, maple syrup, a pinch of sea salt and, last night I found, coconut milk.

Friday, July 22, 2016

It's National Hot Dog Day


  • 3 Tips Yield 26 Bucks
  • National Hotdog Day
  • Mango Day
Today, mangoes went on sale, 5 for $2, at Rouses Market. This eclipses, even, the deal at The Ideal Market, which was 69 cents per mango. They were large, sweet,  juicy and delicious, the ones from Ideal. The ones that I just got at Rouses Market, I will have to wait until ripe before being able to compare. The Rouses Market mangoes are labelled as coming from Mexico, so it is not like I will be comparing apples to oranges.

26 Dollar Thursday

I got to the Lilly Pad so early that the sun was just setting.

I set my spotlight up where it shone a circle of light just barely brighter than the ambient light from the dusk.

I had no money in my tip jar.

A couple of young ladies came along who were from Oklahoma and became interested in the "tiposaurus" sign. I explained the concept to them.

"That's worth a dollar," said the one who turned out to be Laura.

Laura wanted me to make up "a funny song," and told me that I didn't need to do it just then; she may have been thinking that she would come back and hear it the next night; after I had worked on it.
I played a favorite chord progression and then sang about myself being a fool for living "12 feet below sea level," in New Orleans; and then contrasted it with "At least I don't live in Tornado Alley," and Laura handed me a bill that turned out to be a 20.

So, my tip jar remained empty as the 20 went in my pocket.

Another dollar and then a five went into the jar, and it was only 10:20 PM when I broke a string; feeling like I needed a break, myself.

I wouldn't return to playing, as I surmised that I had caught lightning in a bottle in making 26 bucks in an hour and a half, and that I might play another hour for just 5 more dollars; given that I was out of creative energy for the time being.

Hot Dogs And Mangoes

I had set my alarm in order to wake up for a "community" meeting to be held in the "Community Room." Something unnerves me about my implicit "membership" in that "community" which is the "Sacred Heart Apartment" community.

I prefer to think of us along the lines that some people think of The United States of America  -a bunch of totally independent, unrelated autonomous entities, that just happen to share the same geopolitical space...

But, I was hoping to talk the the Department of Health people that were supposed to be there. They were there, but I was late, and they had already spoken. I was briefed with the fact that they had only spoken about hurricane preparedness. I'm going to buy one of those blow up plastic floats that are used in swimming pools; and that will bring me up to full hurricane preparedness. Oh; and a paddle.

Sugar Skeezers

It is National Hot Dog Day, and, immediately following the community meeting was to take place some kind of hot dog feeding.

It was going to turn my stomach to witness the festivities in honor of National Hot Dog Day, I just knew it.

During the community meeting, for which cookies and coffee had been laid out, there arrived a couple of older black men who live here and who picked up the empty sugar canister from nearby the coffee pot, shook it and then began to insist: "Hey, you gotta get more sugar...Hey, we're out of sugar!!"

Coffee and sugar are supplied as a courtesy to the participants at the meeting. Nowhere is it stated or implied that anyone is obligated to ensure an endless supply of sugar. It irks me to see the "hardwired" skeezers show up at these functions only to avail themselves to something for free; and then to complain when it runs out.

It reflects a mentality that has been conditioned after a lifetime of availing themselves to free things; many of which are provided by volunteers whose job it is to, perhaps, make sure the sugar doesn't run out. The tone of voice that the guy used when yelling "Hey, you need to put more sugar here!" was kind of a "Someone's not doing their job!" tone of voice.

I realized the folly in my eating a hot dog with a bun after I had undergone water fasted for 5 days and then had carefully begun to reconstruct my diet, beginning with watermelon and arriving only at baked potatoes last night.

I am eating: Celery, cabbage, carrots, cayenne pepper, chia seeds, cilantro, coffee, dates, flax seed, garlic, ginger, grapes, honey, lemons, lettuce, limes, mangoes, maple syrup, oats, parsley, potatoes, quinoa, Serrano peppers, tea (green, black, oolong), water.  

That's it. My diet in its entirety. In a nutshell. Throughout the past couple weeks. No hotdogs.

....Man, I can just imagine the scene: "...You ain't got no brown mustard, no relish?!? God damn! Hey, put some more onions on there!"  

I am impressed by the patience and restraint and even-headed dispositions exhibited by the staff members here at Sacred Heart. I'll bet that, at the end of their shifts.

Edible Suspects Identified?

I am starting to think that a food that I had been consuming almost every day for years is linked to the stiff and achy small spine and upper back areas that have been a chronic condition for at least as many years as I have been consuming this thing.

I used to make sure I had it by my head when I slept outdoors; I would spend about a quarter of my food stamp money just on it, each month.

The stiffness started to recede on about the 4th day of the water fast.

It has been continuing to do so, giving me much better range of motion, and making me feel more graceful, even when playing music. And this improvement has forged on even while I start to eat; adding foods to my diet as I go along.
This kind of addresses an issue, postulated by the water-only fasting group, that any ailment will eventually clear up if a fast is prolonged enough. Even cancerous tumors will be burned by the body after it has run out of fat and before it starts to burn muscle.
I had wondered if I should have continued on the water fast after having experienced the drastic improvement on the eve of the 5th day.

 I still find myself saying "ouch" out loud, when I initiate a movement that has given me pain for so long. To twist my body to reach over to a bookshelf from my bed, or to reach across my body to put a gallon jug of water on top of the fridge, I will utter the groan of pain, just in anticipation of feeling it.

Now, the soreness is going away, and I have restored my diet to what it had been, with the exception of anything "animal," and with the exception of the thing that I was a crazed fiend for...

Corn Syrup vs. Peanut Butter 

I am talking about "high fructose corn syrup," "corn syrup," or "corn," in general.

Amazing, that I would have overlooked that ingredient, even though I have come close to subsisting on it for years. An energy drink before busking, after busking, and first thing the next morning has been routine for me -energy drinks loaded with high fructose corn syrups.

The Nature of Food Allergies

I know the nature of allergies. One ingredient can be prerequisite in triggering an "allergic reaction" to another ingredient.

Once, in my mid 20's, I had done something as unwitting as drinking orange juice not long after having had milk in some form. This spiked my histamine levels and made my nose run and my face itch.

I then petted a cat.

I then put lotion on my itchy face -without having washed the "cat fir oil" off my hands first- and it set my face on fire with what felt like thousands of biting mosquitoes; I'd never felt such an intense irritation in my life. I ran to the kitchen sink to rinse my skin off.

I'm perfectly fine with cats now, in fact I own one.

So, the possibility that I could be allergic to corn, and could have been for a long time; or that corn could be the trigger for other allergies; is mind-boggling.

Yet, I am feeling better day by day and have yet to add it back to my diet.

It could possibly be the co-allergen that combines with the foods that I had concluded that I am allergic to. Maybe without the corn, I could more readily digest things such as soy oil, partially hydrogenated soy oil, eggs, dairy and whatever it is that's in white bread that messes with me... 
  
I haven't had any corn products since the start of the water-only fast. The stiffness which had conditioned me to limit the radius when I turned my head to look around, for example, has loosened to the point where I am just more lithe; and can feel it even walking down the street.
  
I had suspected that the bingeing on peanut butter that I had been doing for a couple months had something to do with the worsening of the stiffness and pain, as, once I had discovered the fast and easy and protein rich diet that peanut butter, bananas, all fruit jam, coconut milk and honey is, it became just about all I was eating for a while. But always with energy drinks at other times of the day; and sometimes with high fructose corn syrup jam, instead of all-fruit...

I now own about 12 mangoes.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vengeance Is Mine (added to)

Money Continues To Not Come In
3 Dollar Tuesday
Health Continues To Be Good
Flashback: August 11, 2012
I will make a sign kind of like the above

Drinking first Monster Energy Drink in 2 weeks causes mild symptoms (just an itchiness around side of neck) coffee suspect, as cause of mild tinge of depression felt upon waking.

Business 

I went out and played Tuesday night, beginning about 10:30 PM, and actually went 3 hours; for almost nobody and almost no money. I got some darned good practice in; and brought up to snuff a few songs that I had previously avoided, as they weren't quite up to snuff.

At one point, a waitress from a nearby business gave me a thumbs up as she walked past.
I was playing some chords and singing something like: "Let me set my psychological baggage to music and sing it to you; come join me in my mindset and feel my hopelessness and desolation..." and other improvised stuff.

The thumbs up, I interpreted to mean, that she was suffering through the same dearth of tourist money flow; had probably taken a walk to spend all that she had made that night on something to take her mind off of it, because there were no customers at her tables; and, yeah, a thumbs up is good; especially since the good opinion of the people who run the bar on the corner is good to have.
There is an unstated push to make everything the "finest," on the block, from the Hurricane drinks (that have to be better than the ones that Pat O' Briens makes) to the guy who sits almost every night and plays under the lamp post down the street. That is just a fact of life.
The Way Out
My repertoire has been influenced by the Piano Player inside the bar, and so I can be kind of an extension of the atmosphere in there when playing songs that, if not the same one "Tiny Dancer," by Elton John, are very similar "Rocket Man," by Elton John so that I can purloin some of the good cheer by identifying myself with that vibe, and become in effect: "the guy on the way out." As in: "Be sure to tip the guy on the way out..."  

I have a certain set of lyrics that I set 2 different chord progressions to; each progression is kind of just a riff, and needs "a middle," -some kind of chorus to jump to before returning to the riff.

The progressions are open to a bit of interpretation, and the application of the C major harmonica has warped them towards being kind of blues-ey. My challenge is to try to make it a jazzy, interesting blues, and not just another guy honking on "that note that you always hear."

The Way In

And, I have heard enough times, from the lips of people walking past, who are, dependent upon the quality of their vision, just identifying Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern.
Their phones are telling them that it is 50 feet ahead, but they don't believe it because all they see is a very old building lit by candle light inside and out. No neon. Nobody beckoning like a pheasant under glass for them to enter the bar. "There it is; right there!" I hear several times a night.

So, now I have begun to Set:
 "Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern
...the oldest bar in America
...established in 1772 by Jean Lafitt the pirate
...and his brother Pierre....
...though they never shooed a horse there; they used it to fence booty
...from international pirate raids....."
To a little chord progression.

"I got the 'sick of the blues' blues" - Me

I don't think mankind will ever get sick of hearing the blues. I think that is because the shift of a chord up a fourth mimics something that happens in the brain at the "wave" level, when one's mood shifts to the positive. For example; if you are in kind of a foul mood, but then remember that you have a letter waiting for you at your home from a dear friend; your brain waves will actually modulate in a way that has the same common denominator as "up a fourth" in music.
It has to do with overlapping waves and intervals that were set in motion during The Big Bang. Colors that "match" are just higher frequency depictions of the audio notes that harmonize.

In light of current events; I will now feature:
 
FLASHBACK: August 11, 2012
My Own Brush With Baton Rouge Police


I had been rewriting a story from my time in Baton Rouge, 4 years ago, when the cops, spearheaded by one in particular named Chutz, arrested me for "disturbing the peace," with "public intoxication."

It was the summer doldrums in New Orleans; like it is right now; like it was 4 years ago, middle of July.

Back then, I found that I could evacuate to a nearby city; either by hopping the freight train to Mobile, Alabama. Or by taking the 5 dollar Hotard bus to Baton Rouge.

These cities seemed to welcome the sight of a busker who was making their little downtown section "just like Bourbon Street!" if just for one night. The novelty of it; and the concept that they might only have that one chance to tip the guy was a winning combination.
The drawback is that, unlike New Orleans and its 24/7 nightlife, these cities come out on Friday and Saturday nights and then leave the rest of the week to the tumbleweeds to blow past the closed bars and restaurants.

I had been in Baton Rouge for a few weeks by then, had established kind of a routine that centered around busking and running to the beer store and sleeping at any of about 3 different spots.

I later learned that an all out war against the homeless street people had been waged by the criminal justice system.

Chutz had made a beeline to myself and two other buskers whom I had stopped to chat with; upon seeing us; and had insisted upon seeing ID from all of us.

We were on 3rd Street in Baton Rouge, which is like the main street which just doesn't happen to be named main street; not far from where I had been busking on the weekend nights. It was only afternoon, though, and a Saturday.

I had been doing well enough to live (homelessly) for the rest of the week on what I was making Friday and Saturday nights. The downtown area (5 blocks of 3rd Street) was bustling on those two nights; desolate and dreary the rest of the week. I had left New Orleans, due to the fact that it was even slower there at that time of year. It is that time of year, as I write this...
Howard Westra

Howard Westra had come with me. Initially, we were trying to get "to California," but had become mired in Baton Rouge, partly because I was able to eat and drink comfortably on what I made on the weekends; and because Howard was following my lead.

The Summer was dragging towards fall, though, in Baton Rouge.

And fall meant LSU football; and LSU football meant alumni returning to the city of their alma mater to see the homecoming game and then to check out the clean, safe downtown area where they are sure to be impressed by the detail of that cleanliness and the appearance of safety in the absence of anyone whom even appears homeless; and that meant the mayor or somebody even higher up giving the green light to the police chief to dispatch cops such as officer Chutz, to the task of getting as many "street people" off the streets as possible, to make way for the homecoming season.

That worthy, upon observing myself talking to the other buskers; made a beeline towards us.

He was dodging good citizens left and right, to get to us.

It was a bad scene.

Chutz was a short-ish, stout-ish, shaven headed guy, who was a rapid talking, rapid gum chewing type; of the sort who hopes the guilty will trip over their own tongues in trying to keep pace with his conversation; which more like verbal sparring than talking.

He made me sit down with the other 2 buskers.
 "Do me a favor. Run down that sidewalk as fast as you can,"

The question of "What is this about?" was answered with "We're gonna find out what this is about," or something as cryptic and zen, that I know in hindsight meant: "We're gonna try to arrest you for whatever we can get away with."

Chutz acted like I was being a smart ass for mentioning that in the United States of America one does not have to carry an identification card wherever she goes; and I might have thrown in that, unless he had observed me breaking some law, I was free to just mosey on away, right? That made me more of a smartass.

Chutz then told me that I didn't pay taxes, and that I just sat and played my guitar and hoped people came by and gave me money; and well, I didn't pay taxes.

He then asked me if I had been drinking.

I truthfully told him that, I sure did, try one of those new (at that time) Lime-A-Rita's in the 16 oz. can.

Chutz and his partner concluded that I had just given them "an admission," and that was enough evidence to book me in to the jail for public intoxication.

Then, I found out that the judge was in cahoots with whomever after she gave me the maximum sentence (45 days) allowable under the statute, for public intoxication, an offense that is typically treated by throwing the citizen in jail "overnight" just to sober him up.

After I was put in the back of a cop car, parked in the sun on a blistering 90 degree afternoon with just one window cracked an inch, for about an hour while cops tore through my belongings.

But that was not before Chutz had told me: "This is what happens to smart asses," as he put the handcuffs on me, one notch tighter than necessary; and then had told me: "Do me a favor. Run down that sidewalk as fast as you can," before putting me in the back of the cruiser.

I have always been instructed that, as a civic minded guy, I should do whatever an officer tells me to do, even if I don't agree with it. I can take the matter up through proper channels later if I think he is wrong, but in the meantime -just do as they say.

I was driven by Chutz' partner to the jail. He had one hand on the steering wheel, the other on his phone and was doing 90 MPH on the interstate, drifting at least once into another lane; while I sat in the back with my hands cuffed behind me and no seat belt on at all. I'm glad he didn't ticket me for that.

OK, that story was blogged about already. August 11, 2012 was the night of the arrest; the next blog post was somewhere around 45 days later....

If Someone Shoots Chutz?

I just wanted to revisit that story in regards to the recent tragedies that have occurred in the nation and in Baton Rouge in particular. I will eventually cut it and paste it back into August 11, 2012; overwriting the rather scatter-brained rendition that is there now.
My Cellmate in East Baton Rouge Jail


When I heard that 3 Baton Rouge cops were killed and 2 wounded, in the most recent incident of violence against police; Chutz crossed my mind 
I was indeed ready to be satisfied that, had he been the one killed, it would have been better that it was he, rather than any other random cop on the force; who might be a decent person and a credit to the badge.

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord....

EPILOGUE: But A Harmonica??

After I got out of jail, I was missing a lot of possessions that I had when arrested.

I had watched them rifle through my stuff, as I sweated in the back of the squad car, wiping the sweat out of my eyes off onto the knees of my jeans, as that was the only spot I could reach with the cuffs so tight.

I noticed that they had separated a lot of my stuff into a large, clear plastic bag.

I had thought, at the time, that it might be the items that aren't allowed inside the jail; the ones that an inmate has to go pick up somewhere else, after her release.

These items each have their own reason for not being allowed inside -they don't want your baloney rotting inside a storage locker over the next 45 days; they don't want your alarm clock going off in a storage locker causing alarm and confusion on the part of the staff who might all reach for their cell phones at that time; and I think they don't want your guitar in there among your possessions because they don't want some guard who has rock and roll aspirations to be taking the thing out and playing it rather than watching his monitors for suspicious activity. There are as many reasons behind the items being banned as there are items. But, a harmonica?

At first I thought that they were going to take DNA out of the harmonica and the hair brush and the nail clippers, to try to link me with a cold case while I sat in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Then, I realized the enormity of the operation in it's quest to either lock up every homeless person or to make sure that they go and "not live" somewhere else.

Killed by my cellmate
It turned out, after I had inventoried exactly what was missing that it was the things that facilitate homeless life; alarm clock -so you can be "up and out of there before the guy comes to open the place in the morning- a flashlight, can opener, and other things to make eating easier; batteries, of course; and my harmonica...to make working harder.

In hindsight, I could have saved myself 45 days in jail had I given the cops any kind of address as where I "lived." This they would have had to* write on an arrest report, rather than checking the homeless box.

I believe the 80 or so inmates who crammed the lock-up cell so that they had to sleep sitting up all belonged to a stack of paperwork, with each sheet having its "homeless" box checked.
One guy was in there for littering. He had emerged from a store with a freshly bought pack of cigarettes and had thrown the cellophane strip on the ground after opening them. He was handcuffed and booked and received the maximum sentence allowable under the stature for littering something like 30 days. He wouldn't be out until well after the Homecoming Weekend was over, either.
I was thrown into the overcrowded and oxygen depleted lockup on a Saturday evening. There was no way to bail out; as bail had not been set for any one of us. I was absolutely trapped for the next 36 hours.

*although, with these rogues, there is no guarantee they will adhere to any policy

My cellmate, throughout the 45 days of confinement, was Dominique Smith, who went on to be convicted, along with his girlfriend of murdering his ex girlfriend, along with her/his 4 year old son (shown).

Monday, July 18, 2016

5 Day Water Only Fast Beneficial

I've lost about 10 pounds, I feel great, I think I could go out and break my record for the quarter mile run.
I'll put the weight back on, but it will be muscle, not flab.
I'm expanding my diet from watermelon infused water, to other fruits and vegetable and have had a little grain in the form of quinoa, and chia seeds; both of which look very similar in the way they cook -secreting a slime; a slime that is good for you.
I have yet to have any of the spasms and pinched nerve type feelings come back, and I'm afraid that it might have been the accumulation of at least an energy drink every day for the past few years that had been bringing about my maladies.
But, it was a chronic pain; and I chronically drank those things.
And having all but eliminating cigarettes through the tail end of the fast, might have something to do with my newfound well being.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hoy Es Domingo

I Try Quinoa

The "water only" fast has devolved into the juiced vegetable stabilizer in the evening, followed by the half gallon of "detox" tea to be sipped while busking, and then the gradual introduction of oats at night and, now, quinoa, fast.

I broke the fast Friday afternoon with a water infused with watermelon and mint and lime.

I felt high as a kite as I sipped it in front of the Whole Foods Market, as if I had just skydived, being force-fed fresh air on the way to the ground, and had just landed. Then drank an infused water after 5 days of water only.

The infused water was the only thing that I bought at "the land of the expensive" which is the Whole Foods store.

I wandered through the "witch doctor" aisle, where there were tinctures and extracts in little tiny bottles with eyedroppers included to facilitate their administration one drop at a time.

I had to look at the Oil of Evening Primrose, and have memories of a time when having eczema was the biggest issue in my life, and when I had paid the $24.99 for a bottle of 60 capsules (take 3 daily; you may not see results for a few weeks) after having read that it had been proven to be effective against that "disease" -disease in the sense of something that makes one ill at ease, but not in the sense of some foreign thing that one "gets," and then "has."

There were little ear-drop sized bottles of things on the shelves with price tags in the 80 dollar range; (about a dollar a drop, maybe) and I suddenly felt as if I must have the eyeballs of someone working a security detail upon me. I mean, the pocket on my guitar case along could hold a few hundred dollars worth of extracts and tinctures. Maybe security doesn't sweat it because the stuff has no street value -try standing on the corner of Bourbon and Canal Streets at night hawking Valerian Root Extract: "Yo, this will mellow you out, help you rest better, gimme 10 bucks!"

So, I got out of the isle, to free one of their security people to do other things, rather than watch my hands through a peep hole in the wall overlooking the witch doctor isle.

Harold Not Fasting

The next stop, once I was infused, was to get Harold the cat some food.

I recently discovered that he likes salmon.

I had thought that he didn't like it after he had once taken just a couple bites off of some Fancy Feast "gourmet" Salmon Dinner that I had paid dearly for. That salmon dinner was in "paté" form, and therein lied the rub.

Harold doesn't like the texture of paté anything, preferring shreds or bits or even the dry food to it.
Now I have had to re-evaluate some foods that I had crossed off the list of what Harold likes.
Salmon and chicken in sauce, he devoured; as well as tuna in sauce. I had thought that he hated tuna for the same reason; I'd given him some tuna and egg in paté form.

The next little experiment will be to place the 33 cent dollar store brand next to the 65 cent Friskies brand in each of the flavors and then watching him like a guy with a backpack in aisle 2 at Whole Foods to see if he likes them equally, or if he starts to eat the 65 cent stuff; goes over to the 33 cent stuff for a bite, but then returns to the Friskies.

What fun you can have with a cat if you are scientific minded. And to think that some owners find something that fluffy will eat and then just feed it that its whole life; never even a drop of ginseng extract here and there...

I picked up Harold's food and then rode right past the cigarette store. They taste nasty now, and I am going periods of up to 12 hours without them, and only take a puff every once in a while to remind myself of how awful they are -something strongly cautioned against in the smoking cessation book that I have been reading and re-reading the past year.

It stands to reason that, if my lower back pain and soreness melts away after I crap out everything in my digestive tract, then maybe my upper back and neck pain will go away if I stop putting tar in my lungs.

New Orleans is the smoking-est city that I've ever been in. Most cities have a 90% smoking rate in the poverty stricken "hood," where many become relegated to after having fallen prey to their addictions in general; but the crackheads and meth-heads and heroin addicts all seem to be cigarette fiends, on top of their other issues. Cigarettes go with so much, in life, I guess.

I got to the Ideal Market, where I found basically the same items that were on sale last year at this time, on sale again.

I grabbed carrots, parsley, limes, tomatoes, jumbo mangoes, a piece of ginger, a cucumber and a Serrano pepper and left, after spending less than 7 bucks on them.
Another blessing of the water fast became clear after just an 8 ounce glass of the above juiced products "filled me up," giving me 2 meals for the 7 dollars.
3 Dollar Saturday

They're really not Christians in the practical sense; they're more like "church people" -big difference. -Me

The same group of tourists are in town for "some kind of Christian convention." They are just walking around and gawking, being judgemental in the opinions of some; and not tipping musicians.

I started at about 10:15 PM.

After about the 300th one of them walked past -and they were walking in large schools with the flock seeming to follow the example of the foremost person after he had walked past me; read the tiposaurus sign, and then with a slight smile and a slight shake of the head; walked past without tipping.

Its easy to imagine the group having gathered before their adventure with the same leader having said words to the effect of: "Let's stick together, and hang on to your money. There are con artists and hustlers all up and down this strip; they're all after your money; and most of them are using it to buy drugs!!"

"...to produce Christian leaders!"

The challenge is to play your best for them; even after 300 of them have already walked past, just looking. I have to imagine that I am playing for someone who is across the street and up on the third floor with the window open, listening as they soak in a tub, and not the group of "Christians," who are walking past right in front of me.

They might have had a pow-wow up the block and agreed to a game plan of "Hey, everybody; when we get to that guy playing guitar, lets just all start talking really loud; just talk about anything but, really loud; it'll be funny. Maybe we can get him to yell "You know, you people really suck!" like the guy on Iberville and Royal, hee hee.

I was raised a Catholic Christian; and we were jerks. We went to church every weekend, but if our church were to have sponsored a trip to New Orleans, we probably would have been jerks toward street musicians. We were brainwashed into thinking that that isn't and never could be our lives; because parochial school leads to a good college that leads to a good job, and fulfills The Goal of Catholic schools, which the principal of mine, Sister Joan Mulcahy, stated to me (right before she expelled me) as: "To produce Christian leaders!"

I imagine that the person in the tub across the street is listening closely and appreciating every right note; and is not trying to raise a conversation over me.

One of my bigger concerns was that, one of the drunk Christians, frustrated by his attempts to distract me will up his game a bit; the way people do to the Buckingham Palace Guard; getting right in their faces; telling them jokes; trying to break their demeanor.

"Slow Night, Huh? "

So, I had left the house with 10 bucks; paid no trolley fee; bought only a can of cat food, and returned to place 13 dollars on my coffee table; representing the same 10, plus the 3 dollars that I had made in about an hour and a half of playing.
"I don't HAVE to do this," I told myself, as I packed up early.
"You leaving already?" asked one of the block skeezers.
"Yeah, they're not biting..."
Sure, I could have stuck around waiting for that one person who, upon seeing your tip jar still empty after having walked past you 2 hours earlier will approach and lay a 10 or 20 in it, saying: "Slow night, huh?"      

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Good Topic

I still think as skinny as you are, you don't need to do any fasting and if you're following the advice of anyone on Facebook, you're following the advice of a bunch of dietary kooks.

If you were getting out there now, you'd have the people who remember you from last year and those $50 days again.
-A reader's comment.
I Break Fast With Breakfast

This is a good topic inspiring comment from yesterday.

I feel better now than I have in months, and am typing without a pinching pain below my right shoulder blade.
But, I had been feeling dour before I juiced 4 carrots, cucumber, tomato, parsley, lime, Serrano pepper, sprinkled the result with salt and garlic powder, and drank it. It gave me plenty of busking energy, (to make 8 dollars in 2 ½ hours) and I only had a slight pang of hunger when I stopped to spend 72 cents (my total for the day) on cat food and looked at the baked chicken (ridiculous after a water fast) and then at the broccoli and cauliflower (ridiculously expensive @ $7/pound) and then at the water (ridiculous to tote it 2 miles in my backpack when the water right down the street is composed of the same molecular formula).

The Monster In My Stomach

The biggest cravings that I had on the 5th day of the fast were for things like a banana nut muffin. When I was in Whole Foods, there to buy a watermelon infused water, which was cracking the fast, if not breaking it; I walked through the bakery area and envisioned a banana nut muffin, cracked open and steaming with a pad of real butter melting in it and something else like a spattering of super rich fruit spread; and I think that was one of the strongest longings for food that I had ever had in my life; I was not very hungry, having started to lose my appetite, as my body switched to burning its fat, so I didn't buy a muffin. But...

When I had gotten to the "express" lane with my infused water, one of the cashiers called out that she was open. I went and bought the water. Written on a white sheet of paper affixed to a clipboard that hung at her register was the announcement that this week's item that is on sale is "banana nut muffins," I kid you not.

I Weigh Less; Way Less

About my weight, it was 130 pounds, according to a scale that was among the items for sale at the Goodwill that I was at, where I bought the Yoga book.
This was down 11 from where I had started.


At 141, I felt like I wanted to put on 5 pounds, but that I wanted it to be muscle, not fat. 
Coming across the scale and the yoga book and dreaming about muffins and then seeing a sign about them illustrates the one aspect of fasting that answers the question of "Why fast?"

Either you start to see the world through more enlightened eyes, -and it might be a physical manifestation of the starving body keeping its eyes open (looking for food) its ears open (listening for food) etc. or the world actually changes and through a quantum science that we don't understand, 40 bucks appears on the sidewalk and you are able to see signs and portents everywhere, meant just for you...now that you're enlightened enough to see it....
Some skinniness evident in today's photo

I would say, dear reader, subsist on water alone for 7 days and tell me what YOU think!

At Least One Kook Has Flown Over...

The Facebook group does indeed include some members whom I would put in the "kook" category in regards to their health.

One guy keeps posting messages that seem to indicate that he is, if not a hypochondriac, then overly obsessed with great health, and experimenting with every fad to come down the pipe; anywhere close to the realm of health; like: "Does anyone know about this magnesium supplement I am taking; the magnesium is paired with chromium and that's supposed to help the heart muscles absorb oxygen. I ordered it online and..."

Soon, another post: "If distilled water has no minerals, then won't it leach the minerals out of you?"
"I have been putting a pyramid shaped crystal prism on my forehead for 20 minutes every evening; It's supposed to dislodge the toxins from the brain at an atomic level. Has anyone else heard or read anything about this? Pleas comment."

Myself; I've been doing "juice only" fasts for many years; doing my first one on apple juice in 1987.

The effect is like that of eating a good meal that cleans you out. It may be sauerkraut, chips and hot salsa, a lot of popcorn, but whatever it is you feel better after eliminating it, to put it gently.

That is a clue; you feel better after you eliminate; to whether or not subsisting on water-alone is right for you!