Friday, September 30, 2016

Upsold Down The River

  • 32 Dollar Thursday
  • New Harmonica
  • Bite On Couch

Last night, I went out to busk, after having been delayed by people whom I ran into and chatted with.
It was almost 11 PM, when I sat on the milk crate and launched into what has become my latest and greatest song, "Come On, Get Happy," the Partridge Family opening song (for the second season).
It runs 1 minute and 7 seconds on the TV show, just long enough to splash the screen with monochrome pictures and the names of the actors, ending with Reuben Kincaid.*

*There was a band named "Reuben Kincaid" that I saw a flyer for years ago.

It is a song that forces the busker to either become happy or go home; almost impossible to do without a smile on my face; as sarcastic as that smile might start out being.

I was playing pretty well, having taken apart the harmonica that I thought had a note blown out only to discover that the reed just needed to be unstuck.

At one point, a guy came by who was pretty drunk, and it became clear after not long that he was pretty broke. Soon, two more guys arrived who seemed interested in my music. The first guy skeezed one of them for a cigarette, which was handed to him with the words: "This has got to stop..."
I was actually able to get the first guy to leave by starting to pack up my stuff.

They all started to leave, saying "We understand; you're not making any tips with us hanging around," but the first, most drunk guy was the first one to actually walk off, at which point, I told the others that I thought that I recognized him from his having sat next to me before, drunk and singing nonsensically along and yelling at passing tourists, as he had started to do.

The second pair stayed and listened, shot a video of me, and were soon joined by a couple young ladies who were with them but had stayed behind in Lafit's.

One of the guys requested "Layla," by Eric Clapton, of which I only knew the intro; having been confused by the existence of both the plugged and unplugged versions that are slightly different.
I was able to change the subject by playing other Clapton songs, and promising that I would learn Layla by the next (to)night.

"Can I pay you in advance for learning it?" asked one of them.

"Sure, there's a lot of uncertainty in the world."

He gave me 20 of the 32 dollars that I would make in about 3 hours.

Now I have learned Layla. Chances are that they won't come back tonight, as tourists often want to do different things on successive nights, but I am at least prepared. The conversation between them and the young ladies centered around cruises that they were planning upon taking. Maybe there will be another 20 dollar bill for me if I nail the Clapton song.

This would be good, because, when I went down to the French Market to replace my 12 dollar harmonica with another, I was talked into buying a 20 dollar "Folk Master" brand one.
I will probably thank myself for spending the extra money, but not before I go out and make some more.

I kind of spent the money that I was going to give to Rose and Ed towards the TV. But, I figure that, since it is the last day of the month and they get their monthly dole in about 5 hours, they are pretty much past the point of needing the 5, 10 or 15 bucks (I hadn't decided) that I was going to give them.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Steep Odds

  • Tuesday Night Off
  • 5 Dollars Wednesday Night
  • The Costello Project
I wish we could play pairs here in LA

I actually came out ahead yesterday, after having only spent 50 cents on a "Pick 3" ticket, and gotten a can of food for Harold the Cat.

My number, 427 has not come up in something close to 2,500 days, according to the lottery's website.

About 5 days ago, the number was 437. This actually could mean that it came close to being hit. If they use the pin pong balls floating in air with numbers written upon them method of "randomly" picking the digits, then, the first and third digits became 4 and 7 against 100 to 1 odds. This had been a stroke of luck already for me. So, I can look at it as if, just 5 days ago, I had a 1 in 10 chance of winning the $250 (the payoff for a 50 cent ticket) as the last ball randomly ricocheted its way into the tube. 

But I could just as easily postulate that the 3, which was the wrong middle digit, could have been the first ball to be drawn into a tube and that, therefore, I had zero chance of winning the thing; nada; zilch; not like a 1 in 10 chance at all.

Common sense tells me to stop playing the thing and to devote myself to making money the old fashioned way. Putting the 50 cents a day in a jar instead of playing the lottery would yield a jar that would outperform the "1%" jar that I had been keeping up to date, but which right now is deplete.
The 1% jar had been growing at an average of 23 cents per day; busking 6 nights a week for at least a couple hours.

I have already sunk about $50 into trying to win the $250.

I have borrowed some more VHS movies from another resident here, David Greenwell.
Dave is a musician, who busked during the morning hours for the coffee drinking set on Royal Street. He played very simple songs on a miniature guitar and made very modest amounts of money. But, as this amount afforded him the opportunity to get drunk daily, he considered his operation a success.

The last guitar that he had was lost or stolen during an incident the story about being in constant flux but always involving crack cocaine. The guitar that he had before that one, he fell upon, destroying it; and he tells of yet another guitar which had been destroyed when he was jumped over something drug related.

I watched the movie "Pearl Harbor," last night; fast forwarding past the "love" scenes, and others, between the characters.

I get that the movie makers were trying to play up the "human interest" angle of the occurrence at Pearl Harbor; otherwise it would be nothing but bombs exploding and bullets and planes flying and ships listing then sinking. But, I thought that part of the movie was kind of lame.

First of all, I hate movies where "everybody" is getting blown away except the starlet and the leading man whom the bullets and shrapnel and fireballs just miss throughout the whole 2 hour drama.
And, it was particularly lame at one point when there are about 64 Japanese planes raining hell down from the sky lighting the tarmac up like a pinball machine with a fireworks grand finale going on overhead and one of the characters who was one of the major actors and didn't get killed until almost the end of the movie, actually rises up and starts yelling to his other fighter pilots that they must load up the 57 caliber caliber machine gun that is sitting there, surrounded by sand bags.

They are pilots and not gunners, but, sometimes in war you have to learn as you go; point it at the planes and squeeze this thing here...

"Come on, let's get these Jap suckers!" yells the major actor. Yes, let's put an end to this madness right now, with this one gun.

One machine gun against 64 fighter planes is steep odds, but the Japs were really starting to piss the young pilot off.

Of course they manage to shoot a few planes out of the sky, cheer and pump their fists in between and, of course, their gun turret was situated in the only 4 square yards shown in the frame which wasn't being riddled by bullets, string of firecrackers style, nor being blown up, nor engulfed in black smoke so thick that you wouldn't have been able to see them. The lighting was actually pretty much studio quality behind the sandbags, come to think of it...

Let's get them Jap suckers!!
The thing that was conspicuously missing from the film was period music.

It was easy to use late 60's music in the Vietnam based movies to good effect; depicting the soldiers as the not much more than teenagers that they actually were and then having "The End," by the Doors playing in the background to set the tone.

Even the movie called "The Titans," that I borrowed from Dave, which had racial themes and was set in the late 60's had a wealth of music of that era to draw upon. The Chambers Brothers "Time Has Come Today," being a good fit.

But, in the Pearl Harbor flick, it still would have been at least surrealistic to have "In The Mood," by the Glenn Miller Orchestra cranking as they showed the pilots scrambling to get in their planes after the air raid siren has sounded.    

5 Dollar Wednesday

At around 9:30 PM, my biological clock was telling me that it was time to busk.

I had 6 dollars in my pocket and had a big pot of beans that I had slow simmered for hours; I was thinking that I was going out to play for a bag of rice and perhaps something else to throw in the pot.
I really felt workman-like as I began pedaling towards the Lilly Pad. I felt like Herman Munster on his way out the door carrying his big ol' lunch pail; planting a kiss on Lilly's cheek. Just going to put in the time; with no real earth shattering message to put out; except maybe that time has come today.

There weren't many people out, but I got 3 groups of them to stop and listen and throw a buck or two in the almost 2 hours that I played.

I got back to the apartment with a can of food for Harold, a bag of rice, some green beans and tomato paste. I had gotten the idea to make a "3 bean salad," and by stirring a good amount of vinegar in with the cooked pinto beans and the green beans, I accomplished this. 30 minutes later, when the rice was done it hit the spot.

I had moved my pot plant outside, and it seems fitting to have it out of the house as I am now within a few weeks of being eligible to take the drug test as the last step of signing up for work through Express Professional Services. I am planning upon using one of the cleansing formulas that contains creatine monohydrate in it; since I am interested in the muscle building benefits of that substance, which just happens to be good also at flushing toxins out of the body's cells.

I have been using my bicycle as an exercise tool, tying the front wheel to the frame with a shoelace to keep it from flopping, and then doing bicep curls; gripping the frame at its center of gravity and then lifting it until the seat bumps against the low ceiling near my front door -Deltoids, biceps, brachioradialis, plus the carpi muscles all benefit.

It is 8:45 PM now, and time to go out on this Thursday night and busk. I'm in the same frame of mind as last night, only half enthused once more.

The Costello project is coming along a bit. I played some of "Beyond Belief," last night as well as "New Amsterdam," by Elvis last night to practice them.

This afternoon, I brushed up on "Glory Days," and "Hungry Heart," by Bruce Springsteen to have them hanging from my tool belt.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Preemptive Skeezer Strike

So far only 2 respondents to my Craig's List advertisement for my couch to crash on...

The 20 dollar per night amount asked for causes the ad to appear as the very first one to anyone who filters them based upon lowest price first. 
Emphasizing other aspects of the environment

I tend to think that the biggest problem with my ad was its lack of any photo.

The first respondent was "Max" from South Chicago*, who immediately asked to see a photo of the place, something that further discussions between us were contingent upon.
Without going into any theories about people in this visually afflicted culture, nor using metaphors about the number of words that a photo would have been worth, it suffices to say that the lack of any was a problem; if for no other reason than, (especially to a guy from South Chicago) "Who the hell doesn't even have a phone with a cheap camera or some other way to post a picture?!? Some crackhead trying to lure someone to an apartment through Craig's List and rob him, that's who!!"
And myself. I just don't have that technology yet.

But, I was able to retrieve and load up 3 pictures from my Facebook page and add them to the ad, which still appears first on the price critical list, and I will see how that goes.
I changed to wording also, adding the fact that I sought an "informal" arrangement, and that "a musician, like myself, would be ideal," and then, used the ploy of mentioning that I was situated nearby the India House hostel, which I described as being a place where international people congregate.

I figure that anyone who is looking for a place like the hostel and who finds that it is fully booked up, is probably not far from Googling "other cheap places in NOLA" which will bring them to my ad.
And it really is the person who might otherwise stay at the India House hostel that I envision as the perfect candidate to crash on my couch. I can tell this by the way they typically behaved on the street car rides into the Quarter. It stands to reason that international tourists, which comprise most of the hostel guests, would be on their best behavior in a strange land. But, who knows, maybe the toaster keeps getting stolen out of the India House hostel.

*I had mentioned my plans to rent the couch in a previous post, extolling the possibility that I might meet people from diverse cultures, and then added something like "maybe even South Chicago" to be funny.

Funny how the first respondent, Max, is from none other than South Chicago. That almost makes me think that it is one of the Unity people, who saw the blog post and is posing as a potential renter, trying to nail me with a violation of the terms of my lease, and who wants a photo to use as evidence. "South Chicago" being his little personal joke...

While Paranoid

While I am being paranoid, there is a crew working on the roof here, and this afternoon I looked out my window just as one of them was apparently taking a picture of my pot plant in the window. I think that it was fortuitous for me to have looked up just then.

As soon as I get off this computer, since it is now dark outside, I am going to move my plant out of the apartment and put it in a nearby outdoor hiding place where it is unlikely to be found.
This is staying one step ahead of "them."

There is no doubt in my mind that someone who is on the roof, working in 100 degree heat might harbor feelings of envy for myself and, especially probably, some other tenants whom they see carrying their cold beer past them on the way to their government subsidized apartments, and might get some kind of payoff from getting one of them thrown out. Especially if, before taking any action they conferred with other residents who might tell them that the owner of said apartment thinks that he is better than everybody else because he can go and play a guitar and make money (and those guys make a lot of money) but when he comes back he doesn't ever give anyone else money or cigarettes, and that they just wanted to see the guys face when they evict him.

I would love nothing more than to have a knock at my door in the near future and open it to see a couple guys who would say "surprise inspection," or something; and identify themselves somehow; and behind them have standing a row of smirking skeezers whom I would all recognize as having skeezed me before.

And then to let the guys in for their "surprise inspection," who would walk right through the apartment in a beeline to where the roofer guy's photo showed something that looked like a pot plant; while the skeezers in the hall craned their necks and searched their minds for witticisms like "Hope you know 'Back On The Street Blues,' guitar man!" (skeezer laughter echoing down the hall).
And then , after they had "inspected" the insides of closets and behind things, in order to make sure everything was working and that nothing was damaged, to have them leave, while I have the joy of seeing the face of the guy who is swearing to God that he saw a pot plant.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Tale Of Two Falsities

  • 8 Percent Feels About Right 
  • Late For Saints Game

So, it is Tuesday, and I spent the morning listening to what was being said about the debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton.

They are both liars.

They obviously lie because it works; we are talking about the 2 leading candidates here.

I think the lies start rumors and garner "word of mouth" votes, cast by people whose political insight comes in the break room; 15 minutes at a time; over little white frosted doughnuts, a can of Coke and a cigarette.

When Trump say's that he never supported the war, for example; this is heard by everyone watching the debate, but, in this group are a number who will not do any fact checking, i.e. listening to what they are saying on National Public Radio the next day; and therefore the lies will go over their heads. They will win more votes cast by their friends who missed the debate ("That sucks, 'cause I really wanted to see it. I was hoping Trump would tear her a new butt hole! Who do you think won?") and who they will tell that Trump kicked butt, and in fact tore Hillary a new butt hole, and that he won, and is probably going to be the next president, and so they should vote for him.

Lying doesn't hurt either candidate because they are both doing it. It's like offsetting penalties in football.

They are fabricating candidates that will appeal to the ignorant masses. The choice offered is between Superman and Wonderwoman. If they were more honest, then flaws could become apparent. Trump's going to make America great again, for example, and that is good enough for a lot of people who are going to pull levers in November because all other things being equal; it's a nice sounding message. And all other things are pretty much equal. The few who can see through the veil, alas, cast just their few votes.

During the debate, Hillary doesn't have all the facts on her, like do we really have a 500 billion dollar trade deficit with China? And so, she has to stand there and let the lie go out on national television, because she can't say something like: "That is based upon the 1990 value of the dollar," or something, to actually debate what he said, and so she changes the subject. The millions of viewers who are watching, and who will actually vote, might be swayed by Trump's rhetoric.

The ones who will listen to National Public Radio the next day -a relatively small subset- will hear professional news analysts debunk the statements made by the candidate, but they will not be able to cancel out the votes of the larger group that watched the debate, but decided the next morning that they had had enough of news radio ("they're just gonna be talkin' about the debate all day") and who listened to sports or The Dolans talking about how a Roth I.R.A can be a good hedge against the stock market, instead.

Then, there is the group that will still be interested enough the next morning in hearing how the experts have digested the debate, to listen to news radio, but will listen to the pro Trump network station on the dial; where the experts will spin everything in such a way as to leave them blissfully ignorant of any lies having been uttered and looking forward to a Great America.

So, by telling blatant whoppers, a candidate stands to gain far more votes than will be lost.
Mohammad Ali had the idea when he was "the greatest in the world."

The 8 percent who are going to vote for none of the above probably reflect the amount of Americans who are informed and intelligent. 8 percent feels about right.

 Monday Night Pitfall

Last night, I got to the Superdome after the game had already started. I was wondering why, along the way to the stadium, the streets were so deserted. They were all inside the dome.

I started to sit there on my milk crate at the spot where I busk and listen to the game on my little radio, then decided to go watch it at the big Rouses Market right down the street from the dome.
Well, the Saints had some miserable luck and fell way behind the Falcons in the 3rd quarter of the game. I knew that this would cause the exodus from the dome to begin earlier, as the outcome had been pretty much decided. I hadn't expected it to be as early as it was though. As I made my way back to the stadium I was moving against a high tide of disappointed black and gold clad people, and decided not to try to set up and play, as I had already missed a good percentage of people's passing by where I play.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Costello Project

Elvis is coming to play the Seanger Theater on October 15th, 2016.

Right now I have him playing through my headphones while I try to type this. "Tears Before Bedtime," off of Imperial Bedroom from a live 2006 concert is on, and it is hard to concentrate on what I'm writing.

The idea is to have me ready to be in front of the theater on the 15th with guitar around my neck and a tip bucket hanging from the guitar somehow, and playing at least a variety of 15 Costello songs.
I believe it will be money in the bank.

The Guitar Case Story

The case that my guitar is in now has a story, which involves the Seanger Theater on Canal Street, the one that I slept across the street from for quite a while.
It was a "Sue" spot.

That means that the spot had been scouted out by Sue, the Colombian lady, whose survival instincts are fit for the likes of a 5 foot 2 inch 90 pound Colombian lady. The spot, which has been referred to as "the sign spot," in previous posts, had taken that appellation due to its being situated directly underneath and behind a large sign which reads "Welcome To Downtown New Orleans" on the front of it.

The pretty landscaping around the sign provided the cover which Sue utilized in order to be invisible at night from any distance greater than 25 feet; an effect created by the contrast between the pools of shadows cast by the pretty bushes within which Sue lay, against the blindingly bright lights from streetlights which have been closely grouped overhead, due to the sign spot being betwixt the huge parking lot where many of the people who have paid a lot of money for tickets to a Saenger Theater production park their cars, and the theater itself. The light fixtures are equipped with cameras, also, as is most of the French Quarter. Purses have been snatched before, and a policeman sitting at the station has rewound the corresponding video to the time of the incident and then has followed the image of the suspect from one camera to the next, to where he discards everything except the money and valuables, and to whatever corner he bought drugs at, and finally to where he was still sitting smoking crack when the cops arrived to arrest him. In one particular incident a lady got her stuff back within 20 minutes. And this would have been the fate of anyone who might have thought of trying to rob Sue, the Colombian lady at the sign spot.

But, as the eyes adjust to those bulbs which are as bright as the stars that perform inside the theater, the area where Sue slept becomes blackness, and you wouldn't know that there was anyone there to rob unless you literally walked into the bushes.

Add to this the fact that across the street on the other side was a 4 story apartment building which had its own cameras, as well as a security officer who was stationed where he had a view of all cars entering the garage and, you guessed it, the sign spot. And Sue was very sly about insuring that the information that there was a defenseless lady and a cat at the spot got to the officers, whom where all, of course, drawn to their particular line of work because of their protective instincts and their sense of heroism.

Sue showed me the spot when we were boyfriend and girlfriend, and I continued to sleep there after she was long gone, as the wisdom of it unfolded.

So, I had been given the Takamine guitar, as I sat at the spot where my late friend Jake used to play every night; that is another story; but I needed a case for it, and that is this story.

So, I had only about 38 dollars to get a case with. I called Paul at Webbs Bywater Music store, who told me that he indeed had "gig bags," for 35 dollars.

I asked him if he would waive the tax on one, saying that, if I had to pay it, I would have to walk there. He said: "Oh, 35 is good; take the bus. Where are you, the Quarter? You don't want to walk all the way from there, take the bus. 35 is cool."

I walked there anyways. I was a drinker then. I walked along, sipping my 24 ounce beer and getting a nice guitar case shopping buzz.

I paid 35 dollars for a nice gig bag, into which I zipped the Takamine guitar, and then began the walk and sip back to the Quarter.

I needed to grab something from the sign spot, so I bent my step in that direction.

Once there, I saw that I was just in time for the gathering of the people who were about to go inside the theater and be entertained by the Steve Miller Band.

I was passing in front of the venue with my new Takamine guitar in its case when one of a group of what turned out to be 7 guys spoke up: "Oh, you've got a guitar, know any Steve Miller?"

I took the Takamine out of the 35 dollar case for the first time, and was in the middle of playing "Big Ol' Jet Airliner," by that storied rocker, which they seemed to be enjoying -singing along, at least- when the gates opened for the show. They deposited seven five dollar bills in my hand, flicked their cigarettes butts out into the road, and then joined the fray to get inside the theater. So, the first time that I took the guitar out of the case, I paid for the case by playing it. That was back when New Orleans seemed a charmed place where things like that were the norm. If I checked the date of the Miller show, though, I would probably find that it fell during the busy (and happy) season when things like that are certainly more the norm than during Skeezer Summer (July through September).

The point of telling the guitar case story is to point out that, with Elvis Costello coming in October, I see a golden opportunity for myself in walking around whatever crowd is waiting to get in, playing my guitar and singing his songs. This, like his songs, is on multiple levels.

The first level being the exact kind of crowd that Elvis Costello will attract; the artsiest of the artsy; those who withstood his disembarking from "New Wave" music that "everyone" loved, and whittling the faithful down from everyone to progressively smaller yet more faithful enclaves, through his becoming immediately more polished and less punk on his second album and then soon thereafter progressively more artsy on his third and four albums (the latter being "Imperial Bedroom," which was dubbed Elvis' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," by one typical critic) and then making a foray into country music (probably the deepest whittle) and then on to a horn section driven 5th album, produced right here in New Orleans with Alan Toussaint behind the sound board, and then on through almost anything imaginable, like an album (Mighty Like A Rose) that is kind of like Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska," album, both in substance, and in sharing the irony that, they are 2 of the worst selling, yet considered the best by many, works of each artist.

There is stuff with just Elvis singing to a piano accompaniment or a string quartet, and then one album done with The Sugarcanes, which are like a Mumford & Sons type band where you hear fiddles and mandolins in the mix.

So, that is the first level of opportunity, presented by the fact that Elvis fans are not bound by any musical limits.

Secondly, Elvis himself, famously strapped on a guitar and paced back and forth in front of the record company so that when he submitted his demo tape, the executives thought that there was something hauntingly familiar and catchy to the music and signed him to a contract. This plays into the hands of a busker walking back and forth in front of the Saenger Theater.

Thirdly, there is no other artist that I have sang along to more in the past 38 years than Elvis Costello.

This started as a reaction to the teen age identity crisis which seemed to transfix my entire generation. I can remember the insecurity surrounding any expression of individuality as a 16 year old, and my contemporaries inability to wrap their minds around anything that they couldn't compare to something already in existence.

I remember once being approached by a kid in my high school whom I had hardly any interaction with, but who felt it important to carry to me the revelation that he and his clique had come to that I had evoked the comedian Martin Mull in my performance of a comedy piece during a school production, attended by parents, teachers and students alike.

I wasn't very familiar with Mr. Mull, having only seen him on Saturday Night Live a couple times and, having seen very little reflection of myself in him, I shook my head: "No, I don't think so...(not Martin Mull)."

The kid became adamant. "Martin Mull!," he repeated with added gravity; as if he was imparting me with the gift of the key for my future success. This was a path that I could take, the Martin Mull route. Study the guy's work; emulate him, model his success. It was as if we (as artists in our generation) had to connect ourselves to something which had been validated in the public eye through television, especially, or we would become non entities, causing an uncomfortable audience to muse: What's that supposed to be?!?

I had a similar experience after the first coffee shop that I played at, when I was 17. I did a song of my own called "Box of Sound," singing and playing acoustic guitar, accompanied by my friend Ted Broughey on drums. Afterwards, there was a meeting of the minds of some of the kids in the audience, out of which a representative was sent to inform me that: "You know you kind of sound like Neil Young."

The identity crisis being contagious, I was in search of my own role model, and, rejecting Neil Young and Martin Mull, decided that my best shot at becoming a successful artist was to try to become another Elvis Costello. Whatever physical resemblance to him I may have sported (with the horned rim glasses being the icing on the cake) I saw as a sign from above that I was on the right path.

The funny thing is that, as I felt like I was becoming less nerdy as I grew out of my teen years, Elvis coincidentally started to ditch his own awkward shtick, and by the time he released his "Get Happy" album, I was kind of using him as a vocal coach. I spent so many hours singing along to that album in my car, I got to where I knew when to take a breath of air, in order to sound more like Elvis.
And so, this also portends well to my doing well busking in front of the Saenger Theater on October 15th.

I think those are all the levels; outside of mentioning that there should be a good amount of people my age there; ones who stayed the course and are enjoying the fruits of having had lucrative careers and having paid off their houses, etc. This could be reflected in the tips. People who have had lucrative careers often envy the guy who dropped out of the human race and now paces in front of a theater with a guitar hanging from his neck. They would trade places with him if they could keep their money, perhaps.

And so, I need to cash in on my sobriety and do a crash course in Elvis Costello song learning.

I just got a message from someone who wants to rent my room.....

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Harold Lives

  • Potless Outing
  • Powder From Heaven
  • $21 Dollar Friday Breaks Funk

Harold will live to see another day.

Thinking about getting rid of him and actually heading towards the animal rescue place with him meowing away in a cat carrier are two different things.

Plus, what if I put him to sleep, and then returned to find my apartment eerily silent, and Harold's food dish seemingly frowning at me from its spot under the clock on the wall?

It is an act which cannot be undone; and as such, I hesitate.

I Procrastinate, Therefore I Will Be

Plus, I have matters that I haven't attended to in 3 years, such as an "attachment" (known in other locales as a warrant) in Jefferson Parish, which is on the other side of the river, for having been caught trespassing on the Avondale Rail Yard, the last time that I attempted to hop a freight train out of New Orleans.

That was the the time that I had hopped on a bus in front of the library and rode it to the Oliver Rail Yard, where I was able to not only hop on a freight train, but to find a "car carrier" car which was empty of cars, and open. A very comfortable ride was all mine, and I was able to stretch out my sleeping bag out on the dustless floor of it and sit my coffee next to me without worrying about it spilling, as the car carrier are shock absorbent to the max.

But the train had stopped in Avondale at about 8 in the morning, and sat there waiting to proceed towards Texas. I had equal chances of winding up in San Antonio, Austin, or Houston, depending upon which way it forked. The thing sat there until, at about 1 PM, I surmised that it was going to sit for 8 hours. Either one of the shift changes hadn't showed up, or the conductor operating the thing had to take a sleep break.

I got out of the car carrier, sure that I had time to run to a nearby store for some cigarettes and/or alcohol and practically ran into the rail yard cop, who made his first appearance just after I stepped into view.

He was very concerned that my backpack would contain car stereos, jacked from cars on the carriers, but I pointed out the empty one that I had been on, let him search my bag, told him my story about being a busker in New Orleans and deciding to light out for adventure in Texas.

They had been having trouble with train hoppers who would break into the brand new cars on their way to be sold as such; hot wire them and then ride across the Great West with the air conditioners and stereos blasting, leaving empty beer cans on the floor and ashtrays full of butts and ashes.

The cop seemed to calm down after talking to me for a while and decided to just write me a ticket for trespassing, which is something that is designed to keep an individual from ever returning to the rail yard, as he will be facing jail time after not paying the fine. If he were to want to settle down in Avondale and be a productive citizen, then he would pay the fine, so as to not have it hanging over his head.

He was in the process of writing the ticket when the train began to pull away.

He directed me to the only bus which went to New Orleans from there; and that bus dropped me off at the exact stop across from the library, almost exactly 24 hours after I had boarded there, on my way to "Texas."

Well, I recap that story to point out the fact that, I have decided to stay close enough to Avondale and become a productive citizen, but after 3 years now, have still not gone over the river to the court house to have them dismiss the ticket, as that is what I was told by a cop here is what will happen.
"They'll give you a court date, you'll show up, and they'll see how long ago it was and dismiss it," said an officer to me about 2 years ago now. "But, you'll want to take care of it because every time a cop runs your ID, it's gonna show up; and if they're bored, they'll take you to jail and you might have to sit there for a few days waiting for your court date..." he added.

My point is that, I am walking around knowing that my freedom is that precariously poised because I'm too lazy to take a half day to go across the river to the court house and then to return again on whatever court date is set, etc.

So, how am I going to take a half a day to tote Harold the Cat to the animal rescue place to have him destroyed (I might as well use that word for its connotations, why sugar coat things?) procrastinator that I am?

Plus, I made $21 last night, which is a possible harbinger of a return to normalcy as far as busking revenue is concerned.

It could have been a better night, but, one guy who came along and tipped me 13 dollars, hung around for a long time afterwards. He was snorting cocaine and being a magnet for skeezers who can spot someone snorting cocaine a quarter mile away.

On his cocaine high, the guy had become overly gregarious and wanted to buddy up to the skeezers who came along using any device or means to stop and interact with the guy. I was hoping that he was the "other" kind of coke head; one who becomes emboldened to rebuff the advances of skeezers, under the auspices of being the king of the powder which he is rich enough to afford and having an "it sucks being you, skeezer" attitude towards sharing it. But, alas, he wasn't.

Especially annoying were the skeezers who walked up to him and pointed me out, saying some version of: "This guy is good, right here, man. This guy knows his stuff. You need to check him out!" (when he was already "checking me out.") And then, having insinuated himself into the scene would only "check me out" for about 15 seconds before interrupting the guy's listening pleasure to begin skeezing him.

The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

The guy with the cocaine was from West Virginia and was a pretty hardcore "Christian," making sure that I was also one before listening to me play. After snorting a few lines he became gung-ho about converting the skeezers who were starting to appear like flies around shit smeared with Crisco oil, to Christianity; forgiving them their sins, and confessing that he himself was far from perfect, as a Christian who snorted cocaine, and offering them a line of coke to prove his sincerity.

It became clear to me, after about an hour, that the guy had gotten his 13 dollars worth out of me; and that his following of skeezers, which had grown to a flock of 4, were not going anywhere, as long as he still had a speck of cocaine on him. I was in a bit of a spot; not being able to find the words to ask the guy to leave, who had tipped me reasonably well.

So, I took a break.

I was banking upon the fact that the guy, like a lot of coke snorters, was a paranoid type and had been using me as a cover, so it would look like he and his friends were hanging out listening to me play; not hanging out doing God knows what.

I seemed to work as, after a 20 minute break to drink an orange juice at the Quartermaster, I returned to see that they had moved a bit away from the Lilly Pad and were now making it look like they were hanging out listening to the piano player in Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern, rather than hanging out doing God knows what.

I made another 8 bucks, a song at a time and a dollar at a time; but it was good to put 20 dollars on my coffee table when I got home, feed Harold the cat (2 cans because I had fallen behind on him) and drink coffee, work on a jigsaw puzzle and plan to get batteries and toilet paper and glue to glue the puzzle together when I finish it, so I can hang it on my wall. I could have put a chunk of money towards the TV, but have my fingers crossed that I can have another decent night tonight (Saturday).

Not having smoked any pot made a huge difference. I was upbeat and had a clearer perception of the passing of time. It didn't seem, after 45 minutes, that I had played myself out and had nothing left to offer.
I played for about 2 and a half hours and was ready to go longer; rather than wanting to go home and munch down food and enjoy creature comforts like sleep. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Headaches And Lack Of Drive

Putting Harold To Sleep

I want to call the animal rescue place and see if they provide the service of putting animals "to sleep," as I want to dispose of Harold the cat.

Nothing personal, he just isn't a very good pet and I have gotten sick of him. And I really believe that there is nothing special about any individual cat.

He is pretty one dimensional, doesn't really show affection; rather a demanding incessant meowing to be fed; and then insinuating himself upon me wanting to be scratched behind the ears, climbing on top of a book that I am in the middle of reading or jumping onto the table upon which I am doing a jigsaw puzzle trying to get its head near my hands so that I will scratch its fir. It's not interested in my face at all; neither licking it or rubbing its own face against it. It doesn't really purr that much, hardly does that dough kneading motion that most cats do, and will claw me to get away from any sudden noise or another resident who might emerge into the hallway without warning, as if it is afraid of both of us equally.

And, the 77 cents every single day for a can of food for him is a rip off. I have had cats in the past that I have like a lot more, ones that almost seemed to think that they were human and we were all family. Harold seems selfish by comparison; -feed me, scratch me, and then let me outside. I'll let you know when I'm hungry again, probably when you get back from playing, by incessantly meowing; and then we can repeat the process.

Plus, I don't want to feel tethered to the apartment, having to find a babysitter for the thing, should I want to take a jaunt somewhere.

I'm going to borrow a cat carrier from Rose, without telling her what it is for and then just bring the thing to the pound and let them give it that quick, painless injection. I'm sick of looking at it and hearing it tear up my imitation leather chair with its claws right before scratching at the door to disappear outside for half a day. It has the personality of a skeezer.
Plus, it could impregnate cats in the area and exacerbate the stray cat problem. They are almost as prolific as bums in our neighborhood.

Putting Myself To Sleep

I was woken up this (Wednesday) morning by a phone call from Rose and Ed, whom I bought the TV off of for 40 bucks, with the verbal agreement that I would pay 20 this month and the balance next month.
Yesterday, Rose called and asked for 5 bucks, saying that she was out of cigarettes. I gave her the only 5 bucks that I had, though she didn't want to take my last 5 bucks. I had cigarettes, new batteries and guitar strings and food, and so I really didn't need the money.

This afternoon, the phone rang again. I had only made 4 bucks busking Tuesday night, and had spent some of it on a can of cat food and a lottery ticket. It was Rose, saying that their SUV was out of gas and that they had to go to Algiers to pick up Ed's medication. I told her that I only had 2 dollars and 30 cents. She said that Ed would be right down to get it.

So, for the second straight day, I put whatever money I had into paying for the TV.

Ed said that he would give me the money back later on in the day, as he was going to sell a pill or two, but that never happened. That is the first breach of contract in dealing with them over the TV.
I could have stayed out and played longer Tuesday night, after I had only made 4 bucks, but I was really in a nasty mood, hating everyone and not wanting to entertain them in the least. I think my homegrown weed has something wrong with it. It puts me in a fog in which I will start playing a song and then think "why am I doing this song?"and then "why am I out here playing at all?"

I had a feeling that Rose and Ed were going to ask for money; it is getting towards the end of the month for them. I thought about that when I decided to knock off after only making 4 bucks.
Wednesday night was the same thing. I felt like I hated everyone's guts; from the skeezers sitting around the apartment building, to the imaginary muggers lurching in the tall grass along the bike path into the Quarter; to the skeezers stationed every hundred yards or so along the streets on the way to the Lilly Pad. I had the beginnings of a headache from what I can guess is the dairy products in the Java Monster coffee energy drink, which is basically the first cows milk that I have consumed in at least a couple months. The "tension headache" which came on in the ensuing couple hours didn't help matters, as I realized that I was running my spotlight batteries down and dulling my brand new strings for a handful of people that I just didn't feel connected with. In fact, I hated their guts. I had a slight headache, after all.

So, I haven't investigated putting my apartment up for rent on Craig's List yet. Xavier the cashier at Rouses Market suggested that I look in the section for people looking to rent places here, and see what they are offering, before I set my price.

Ed told me that, based upon the cheapest hotel being at least 400 bucks on a weekly rate, I should ask for closer to that amount to make it worth my while. A really obnoxious guest could make 100 dollars seem insufficient, whereas, for 300 bucks, I could almost endure sleeping outside for a whole week.
I can't imagine what kind of behavior out of a guest would drive me to that; but them perhaps spending hours talking loudly on their phone when I'm trying to sleep comes to mind; but probably only if they were saying "Ya HEARD me?" in between every statement.

I'm going to "vet" every potential guest, to use the newfangled political term.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Room With A View

I just, this morning, seriously considered the idea of listing my place on a Craig's List type of website; or something; as a room to rent for 7 to 10 days in New Orleans.

The "going rate" among people on the street, like Jay The Really Loud Singer, who move around and crash at different places, is $100 per week.
That is about the same price as the India House hostel around the corner, which offers the advantage/disadvantage of close quarters, shared with diverse strangers in a dormitory setting. I might even find someone willing to pay more than the India House rate in order to only have one other roommate to deal with.

The matter of having to kick a freeloader out when his time is up is made simple by the 10 day per month guest policy enforced by building security.

A traveler, who would only have a suitcase or two would be ideal, rather than someone like Jay who might show up with a lot of baggage, both literally and figuratively. Any kind of "official" ID suffices to get past security, but I will have to check upon whether a passport is good enough, or not.

I might even get an "exchange student" type of experience out of the deal, as, people from all over the world could potentially see the ad, and I might be able to host, and learn from, someone of another culture like Nepali or Maltese, or South Chicago. 
I could even tailor the ad to appeal to musicians; maybe even ones who would like to try busking for a week or so in the French Quarter. That would give me someone to jam with and maybe even collaborate with on my CD. One month of renting out would furnish enough money to replace my fried laptop and get back to recording music. 
It has been suggested to me that my apartment can be such a resource, and that I should treat it and guard it, as such. This advice came after I had inquired about putting Louise (see yesterday's post) on my lease, so that she could stay more than 10 days. That's how well Louise and I were getting along, at first.
"Once she is on the lease then she has equal status to you; and it would be easier for her to kick you out onto the the street than vice versa," was all I had to hear from Tim, my caseworker, on that subject.

I would just have to make sure the guest understands the nature of the arrangement here, and advise them not to pay me by check and then declare it on their tax form as a business expense, for example.

Tuesday Night, 8 PM

As far as the here and now, I will be flat broke on a Tuesday night, after I buy batteries for my spotlight. I have brand new strings on the guitar and will be brightly lit. Perhaps by the end of tonight, I'll be ready to get up first thing in the morning and post that ad on Craig's List.

To Alex In California, blog reader. This post began as an answer to your comment on yesterday's post and grew into a post itself.
If, after reading this blog, you would still stay at my place, then I guess you are always welcome here, pay what you can; I won't throw you to the skeezers.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I Need Strings

When I broke a string last night, after having made about 5 bucks, I knew that I could continue to play minus that string and probably make another 5, or the cost of a set of strings at the French Market, but I knocked off because I didn't want someone to walk up and request a song that uses the missing string heavily.
After I tell such a person that I am missing a string and had been just improvising music around it, they are likely to say something like: "We won't notice; we're not musicians. Just play it the best you can..."

The biggest problem has been getting baked on weed upon sitting down, and then enduring the 80 degree heat and humidity for an hour and a half or so; and then confusing the need for a 15 minute break with having run out of energy, ideas and motivation for the rest of the night. And possibly letting "The Inner Louise" commandeer my will.


Nightmare roommate of classic proportion.
I had run into Louise one afternoon in the quarter at a time when I was reading the Bhagavad Gita, had just acquired Harold the cat, and was only an acquaintance of hers, having stopped to talk to her for no more than a few minutes here and there in my meanderings through the Quarter. She is a tarot card reader, and I had always gotten an alright vibe from her.
She told me that she was in a living situation crisis, with her landlady having left a gas tap on, in what Louise described as an attempt to blow the apartment up. There were clues in the way the gas had been left on, which had required something being jammed in order that it would continue leaking.
I told Louise that she could always crash at my place for a little while.
"Oh, that's right, you have an apartment, I forgot" said Louise.
I didn't hear from her at all for a couple weeks and started to assume that she had worked her problem out.
Then one day, I noticed that I had messages on my phone, which I hadn't noticed until about 4 of them had piled up.
The first one was a notification from Louise that she was down the street with all of her stuff and could I please come and help her move it to my apartment. I guessed that she had taken me up on the offer that I had, at that point, almost forgotten I extended.
I was no longer reading the Bhagavad Gita, nor fasting, as I had been doing when I had encountered her a couple weeks prior.
I had found the Bhagavad Gita, which was in paperback form and had a cover the exact color of Harold's fir, sitting in an otherwise empty shopping cart that had been abandoned on the sidewalk near the apartment. I had gotten Harold the night before, and thought that there was a cosmic enough connection between him and the book, and the fact that I had been fasting and meditating for a few days at that time. It had been in this spirit that I had felt it the natural thing to do in inviting Louise to crash at me place.
By the time I got her messages I had started drinking again and was upset with Harold the cat having torn up my bass speaker, leaving the foam rubber around the core in shambles, and had done the same to my earbuds.
The second message that I was just then seeing, after the first, was written in an angry tone; something to the effect of "If you didn't want me to stay at your place, you could have just been a man and told me straight up. What are you going to do, leave me out here to get raped and have all my stuff stolen?"
Then, there was "You're such a piece of shit; at least answer my messages!!"
Well, I forgave her, given that she thought that I was actively ignoring her, and I called her, expecting us to have a good laugh over the anger that she had been provoked to.
She rather told me right off where she was located, having been given pretty detailed directions to the apartment by myself, yet having been dropped off by someone a good quarter of a mile down the road. With all her stuff. About 2 trips, carrying as much as possible each time. Myself, that is; she was just pulling a cart behind her.

Well, Louise had promised me that she was going to give me some money at the end of the 10 days, which is the limit of how long I can have a guest in any given month.
Then, Louise decided to start taking nights off from work, sitting on the couch, eating ice cream, watching movies on my laptop (which she could have erased the disc of, while I was out busking, if she was that kind of person, since I had entered my password in order to let her watch movies) and cooking other meals for herself in my kitchen and taking long hot showers, etc.
On about the 9th day of her stay, she flipped out after I had let the water boil out of a soup bone that I had on the stove.
"If you want to kill yourself that's one thing, but you have a guest in the house AND a cat, and you could have burned down the place!" yelled Louise. This was certainly cause for her to not give me a cent for having let her stay the 10 days. She cooked one more meal in my kitchen, and took one more long shower before leaving. The smoke detector hadn't even gone off, as the water had just boiled out and the fat from the soup bone was hissing.
Any mention of that fact or other protests of mine were answered with her assertion that my apartment wasn't mine, but had been foolishly given to me by the government, just because I was a veteran, and that she herself would be a veteran (because she would have loved nothing more than to have shot and killed men from the middle east who treat women inhumanely) but that she had been disqualified for the military for some reason. Of course she was disqualified.
Whatever it was that disqualified her doesn't likewise qualify her for any kind of assistance, in a world that doesn't care that she has to sleep outside at times.
She said that she was just as deserving of the apartment as myself and that she was going to cook and eat her big meal and take a long shower and "What do you care; you're not paying for it!"
More of the good looking heavyset woman...
Then, she berated me for having gotten a Christmas card from my mother, in which mom had included 20 dollars.
"Oh, and your mother sends you money for Christmas! My mother doesn't send me shit for Christmas! But you get a nice card and money! And you have to gall to ask me for rent for letting me stay here?!? You are f***ked up in the head!!" etc. etc.
Then, she added "You were probably going to rape me!" yelled from the sidewalk in front of the building where I live with 120 other people, as she pulled her cart full of stuff away.

"My mother is a lot like me; a good looking heavyset woman" -Louise Helton

The Inner Louise

That would be the "I just want to sit on the couch and eat Häagen Dazs and watch a movie" spirit. It looms large on a Monday night like this one. I have no money, but I have new strings. Still, I don't want to go out there and begin to beat on those new strings for what might amount to 4 dollars.
Pretty soon I will be able to deal with the Express Professionals people about working 8 hour shifts doing whatever. I don't want to busk unless I am really in the mood to put my all into it...

Perhaps I need to switch from pot to crystal methamphetamine, like some buskers I know who make $300 in one day (playing 24 straight hours on it).

Monday Night

I just got back from a ride to the French Quarter, where I found John at the French Market, who gave me a dollar off on a set of 5 dollar strings, allowing me to pick up a can of cat food on the way here.

There is another cat, perhaps a relative of Harolds, that is living under one of the buildings here, gaining access through a small square hole which is missing its grate. Someone had left out a big dish of dry cat food for it, I assume. There is nothing to stop Harold, my cat from eating out of the dish of food and so, now I am faced with the prospect of having a finicky cat, meowing to come in with me out of habit and maybe boredom, and quite possibly wasting my money by turning its nose up at whatever food I bought for him.
Whoever is feeding the cat and not sealing up the hole under the building is just asking for a situation when the animal rescue group has to come out here and deal with 37 cats, all related to Harold, living under the building and causing whatever problems a cat might; multiplied by 37.

All this will do is make it harder for me to manage Harold, perhaps being forced to change his habits and keep him inside a lot more; which will mean buying more litter.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Fools Piggy Bank

13 Dollar Saturday

It was about 10:30 P.M. when I was starting to play at the Lilly Pad.

2 and a half hours later, I had 13 dollars and would pick up a can of 77 cent cat food, and throw a dollar on a "Pick 3" lottery ticket, and then ride home, glad to have averaged $5.20 an hour playing music.

I would give Rose and Ed 5 dollars towards the TV that they sold me, leaving a balance of $35.

Musings On The Lottery


My number, if I can say I have one is: 427.

This number has meaning to me in a sense, having to do with April 27th, 1984 and the "religious" experience that I had on that day on acid at a Grateful Dead show.

I am a non player of the pick 3 number, as much as a player. I very often gamble that the number will not be 427, and when a different number comes up, I feel as if I have won the dollar that I hadn't wasted on a ticket.

Fri, Sep 16, 2016     > 4 9 7

Yesterday's number, one digit off...

I did some research on my number. 

The last time it came up, according to the website, was December 2, 2009. 

This was 2,482 days ago. The "odds" are that my number should have come up 2 and a half more times since then.

But the strange thing about gambling is that, despite the fact that the number hasn't come up in almost 2,500 days and thus, through fallacious reasoning, is "due" to come up (soon?) the actual odds are that it only has 1 chance in 1,000 to come up today.

Despite the fact that I might feel that "it has to come up sooner or later," it is possible that I could be reading, 5 years from now, an article about "the enigmatic pick 3 number that hasn't come up in more than 12 years!"

The brutal reality about the lottery is that, the payout to the winner who beats 1,000 to 1 odds against him is $500.  I liken that to the state of Louisiana approaching me with a coin and saying: "Let's gamble: If it is heads, I win; and when it is 2 tails in a row, well, then you win..."

That is skewed so far away from the bettor, as to make a fool of him.

The only good I can see in the lottery is that it is potentially a way; a very lousy one; of setting aside some money. If the thing were to conform to the probabilities and statistics at play; then the guy who buys a one dollar ticket every day, religiously, would be blessed, every 1,000 days with a $500 winning ticket. Thus, the guy who might find it impossible to consistently save money, can hope to do so through the agency of the pick 3 lottery; albeit at a cost of 50% of what he "invests" in it.

Had I gotten that idea on December 3, 2009, and started playing my number, though, I would now have "invested" $2,482.00 into the $500 winning ticket that I would still be waiting for. And would be feeding a dollar every day into a piggy bank that is on schedule to give me 20 cents of it back, should the number come up tonight.

That being said, the lottery is a shameless hustle by the state.

 But, it is kind of a poor man's way to save money; the same way that a car title loan is a poor man's way to borrow it...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Break Makes Me Broke

Constant And Never Ending Improvement
Razor cuts threaten harmonica playing

You know, I think about being 68 years old here, in New Orleans.

Really old guys who get out there and busk must make bank...

But first...


I was thinking about air, the other night.
Jerry the cook from the Quartermaster, was talking to a guy from Colorado, about Colorado, and the air, in particular.

As I thought about the fact that the air is thinner at higher altitudes, I wondered if it was indeed lighter air that was there.

If the atmosphere is like an ocean of air, then New Orleans would sit (at -12 feet sea level) pretty much at the bottom of that ocean, and it would stand to reason that we would eventually accumulate, in our atmosphere, the heaviest air. We are like the bottom feeders when it comes to breathing. We might have air that is no heavier and is of equivalent composition than the air in Colorado, with it just being pressurized more...

We have a whole mile of air hanging above us and pressing down upon us on all sides, that Denver, Colorado does not have.

"It does get to you," said the guy whom it turned out had only visited Colorado and had been gotten to by the thin air there.

Breaking Myself

Not going out to play Friday night, even though the rains that had fallen late afternoon and into the evening had stopped, has cost me an amount of money never to be known, but one that is almost guaranteed to have been higher than what I have at present.

I stayed in and worked on stress reduction and practiced music.

There are things that I can practice at home which wouldn't be suitable for the Lilly Pad, such as playing repetitious patterns, designed to sharpen technique, or playing one bar of a J.S. Bach piece, over and over, until the overview yields a different perspective on the one bar of music, which besides bringing about an improvement in the playing of that Bach piece, may just provide facility in playing any number of popular musical riffs; such is the gift left behind by "the father of us all," as Franz Joseph Hayden, I believe it was, once tagged Johann.

Stress Reduction? Looks Like A Good Place To Be Mugged...
So, it is Saturday evening, and I am telling myself that I am going to play better tonight because of having meditated, soaked in the tub, done yoga; and broken my fast.

The fast breaking has been interesting, as I had started to put molasses in my coffee, Thursday night, and had noticed a blessing of energy and was in high spirits upon waking after 8 hours of sleep.

It was molasses flavored coffee, to be sure, with generous amounts of that non-sulfured, unrefined product, and a sprinkling of white sugar, that seemed to complete the sugar complex.

I then added some oatmeal, before going to sleep.

The next day, I was up and went to the dollar store for cat food, where I saw cans of black olives for a dollar. This gave me an idea and soon I had a jar of peperoncini peppers to go with the olives for another dollar. I then went to the salad bar at Whole Foods and bought only a bit of feta cheese and some lettuce off of it. I then went home and made a killer Greek salad, which was like the yang to the yin of what had been sweets and grains the night before.

8 Dollar Thursday

Thursday night, was the last night that I busked, after 4 days of nothing but water.
I was somewhat physically drained after I had ridden the 2 miles to the Lilly Pad, and dreaded the prospect of pedaling my bike on the return trip. I wound up getting a small can of pineapple juice.

I found adequate energy for busking on it alone, and made 8 bucks in an hour and a half.

My friend Jerry smoked me up and gave me a bud that would become a large part of why I would want to stay in and work on stress reduction the next (Friday) night. It was from somewhere like Colorado, and therefore "medicinal," with the patient hopefully being instructed to take the medicine with a spoonful of sugar to help it go down, and in a laying down and staring at the ceiling attitude.


Friday, September 16, 2016

A Barnaby Moment

I woke up this (Friday) and stood up, feeling pretty well rested. It was 1:26 PM, according to the clock in the other room which I can only see after taking a step away from the bed.

Doppler Effect On Sunlight*

This is a third straight day of waking up around 1:30 PM, without the aid of any alarm. Except, the sun, in its capacity as an alarm clock to those who are tuned in to the amount of lumens that the sun throws down, and who can actually perceive when it reaches its maximum intensity.

I think it also has to do with what is called the Doppler Effect in the science of audio; and it might as well be called the same when dealing with light. As the earth begins to revolve away from the sun, there is an actual difference in the speed at which the light from the sun is hitting the earth. At sunrise, we are headed virtually straight towards the first skeins of light that we see; and at noon we are passing perpendicularly to the sun and neither gaining nor losing speed relative to the sun, through the effect of the earth's rotation..

So just like the train whistle that does a dive in pitch as the train whizzes by; the light from the sun does a similar drop in hue as the day whizzes by. The evening hues used to be one of my triggers to start drinking for the night; back when I drank for the night.

* I think that it is not possible for anything in the universe to go faster than the speed of light, even relative to something else, and so I don't know if the earth's rotation has any change on the speed of light as we perceive it....

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Skeeze That It Is

I woke up earlier feeling, at last, rested enough to stand up.

I went into the other room to see that the clock read: 1:34 PM. This is a continuation of a pattern of my waking up at around 1:30 PM almost every day, without the aid of any alarm. I think that the sun is directly overhead at this time where we are, as the time zones are demarcated by when the sun is at its zenith (called "noon") at the leading edge of the time zone, which means that when our clock reads 12:00 PM, the sun is directly over Pensacola, Florida, and it takes it another hour and a half to reach its zenith here.

That, being said, I am on the 4th day of a water only fast, and was dizzy and weak feeling upon standing up.

My first order of business was to let Harold the cat outside, as his litter box was filled only with coffee grounds. Harold doesn't apparently poop on coffee grounds, preferring the shag rug aside the litter box instead.

Feeling weak and lightheaded was only a physical manifestation of the water fast, as, emotionally I was at a high level and full of enthusiasm for riding to the French Market to get a set of 5 dollar guitar strings.

First, I called the number of a guy at some restaurant in Melbourne, Florida to tell him that I had found the wallet of a Donna Mohognagn which contained her Florida driver's license and a debit card. I had been able to find Donna's Facebook page using that information, and, though she hadn't posted there for 2 years, one of her friends (seen posing with her in a photo) was a frequent poster and still worked at the restaurant listed on his page.

He called her, she called me back, and I had soon added a stop at the Evangeline's Restaurant on Decatur Street to my itinerary, along the way to the French Market, where I returned the wallet to a grateful Donna Mohognagn, assuring her that that was the condition that I had found it in; and who  promised me a meal at Evangeline's whenever I wanted. I told her about the water fast, and took a rain-check on the meal. I forgot to ask her how the hell her name is pronounced before riding off.
"I knew it was you," she had said about spotting me across the street before I crossed over to where she was standing in front of the place. I guess I look like a guy who returns wallets that he finds even from a distance...

"Smoky Joe," was not at his booth selling 5 dollar sets of guitar strings. I could have ordered them online Monday and probably had them delivered by now.

5 Dollar Wednesday

I am faced with playing the same ones again tonight, which I played last (Wednesday) night and had made 5 dollars and 23 cents with. I don't think that the 23 cents was meant to mock me this time, as the person had made a clean scoop of his pocket and I was going to wind up with all of his change, regardless of the amount.
Time to back off a little

The Thursday Night Football game comes on tonight and I will listen to some of it on my radio. I'm keeping my appearances at Harrah's Casino to stand there and watch a game for free, to a minimum, saving them for Patriots games. I will ride slowly to the Lilly Pad and play some in my famished state. It's almost time for me to start putting some cayenne pepper in the water that I'm living off of, which dissolves any hardened matter in the digestive tract. I can smell foods intensely. I want to wait until the inflamed feeling around my left hip and groin and the bit of soreness in the back of my neck resides before eating again. I'll start with watermelon to break the fast, as I did last time.
It had taken me a couple months before I added any animal products to my diet, but then I had gone nuts, scarfing down huge plates of meatloaf, driven by "the munchies," and putting a serious dent in my monthly food card money.

After 4 days of water only, my balance, 11 days into the month, looks a little better. I've got 5 pounds of frozen tilapia, a big bag of instant potatoes, beans, a couple pounds of "lentil and rice casserole" in bags, along with other stuff that came in the box (which I'm allowed to get one of per month) that I got from the St. Jude food bank, over on Basin Street.

I traded my package of Oreo cookies to another resident for the walnuts that he can't chew, and it looks like I will make it through September without running out of food...

I bought a bag of dollar store litter for Harold's box, and so that is one less worry.

"Wait 'Til October," Again

Then it will be "wait 'til October gets here, things will pick up" October and I will have learned a lesson about squirrel-ling away things between October and June, in order to have a better time during the slow season. I once again plan to go to New England to visit next summer, and maybe even to other places.

I really want to pan for gold up in the Yukon. I think I could sit and sift through sand and rocks while slapping mosquitoes for 8 hours a day for a few specks of gold dust worth maybe $35 a day. Busking has lowered the bar of my expectations.
Imagine panning for gold on a hit of acid....

Paul (guitar) and Ricky (clarinet) in Jackson Square
The highlight of the day, besides doing a good deed was encountering Ricky the clarinetist and Paul the guitarist on Decatur Street, where they were playing jazz.
Paul plays with Doreen (the queen of the clarinet) when she is in town, and with Ricky, the king of the clarinet in my book and the only one I've heard here who can give Doreen a run for her money on that formidable horn.

We talked joked for a while, about football trivia and other things.

"What's your opinion of 'dog pimps,'" Paul asked me, before elaborating that they were guys who sat with dogs (or cats) with the attitude of "I have a dog, and we're hungry, please give me money..."

"You mean, dog skeezers!" I said.

"I like to call them dog pimps," said Paul.

I gave him the Readers Digest condensed version detailing my aversion to dog skeezers, et. al., telling him about the bags of dog food that people buy for them instead of handing them money which wind up thrown on the ground and left there, exposing their "my dog's hungry" as the skeeze that it is.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Vibe Put Out By The Starving

  • Karrie Back In My Life?
  • 28 Dollar Monday
  • Day 3 Of Water Only* Fast
  • Howard Visits
 I got an e-mail from someone named Faith, who told me that she knew Karrie and could tell me what city she was in; or even give her a message for me.
It turns out that Karrie is in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
I have had the song "Chattanooga Choo Choo" on repeat in my head for the past month or so, and this was because I listened to an finger picked rendition of it on Youtube, played by Guy Van Duser.
Even so, it is one of life's small coincidences that I was humming it when I opened the e-mail to find out that Karrie was there.
She was apparently living in the woods behind the business where Faith works, with a guy named Mark, who is now in jail for beating Karrie.
My first question to Faith was: Is Karrie drinking again?
When she walked up to me a year and a half ago (left) she was sober. I was heavily drinking at that time, and had the half full half pint of disgusting cheap vodka in my backpack to prove it. She refused any. Here was a lady who used to cradle a bottle of liquor like a baby when she slept. She had taken up smoking cigarettes, though. I had never seen her smoke one before.
She was so calm that I suspected that she had been put on some drug which would make her vomit if she drank alcohol, or had been given a lobotomy.
"I guess I'm the one who has to sober up if we are to get back together," I thought. The irony was not lost on me over the fact that I had left her in Jacksonville back in 2009, because I thought that hanging around with her was making me drink more and more -having it available at five in the morning, for instance.
Faith sent a pretty lengthy e-mail in which she said, first off, that she was going to reciprocate the "honesty" that she said I had written with in this blog, and went on to describe in some detail the two homeless people who lived in the woods behind the business where she works. I answered the e-mail, and encouraged her to mention me to Karrie, give her my love, and be prepared for her to say that I had dumped her and moved all the way to Mobile, Alabama just to distance myself from her.

Around noon this (Wednesday) afternoon, I was visited by none other than Howard, accompanied by my caseworker, Tim and one of the other operatives who had helped me retrieve him from the woods where he had been staying and move him in to Sacred Heart Apartments.
He now lives in a house in Gretna, on the other side of the Mississippi River, and said that there were things that he really missed about Sacred Heart Apartments. The grass isn't that much greener on the other side.
Tim had shown Howard the pencil sketch that was hanging in his (Tim's) office, and somehow Howard had taken possession of it.
We chatted for a while and I was invited over to the house where Howard now lives, any time the Patriots are playing on prime time TV.

28 Bucks Monday

Monday night, I went out after having made 4 dollars on both Friday and Saturday and then having taken Sunday off to watch the Patriots game at Harrah's Casino and made 28 dollars. 25 of it came from one white lady of about 45 years of age named Montelle, who placed 20 in the tip jar after having stopped and listened.
She asked me to "just play what you feel like playing; what you would normally play if I wasn't here."
I started playing "Last Dance With Mary Jane," by Tom Petty, and as soon as I sang the first line: "She grew up in an Indiana town..." Montelle exclaimed "Oh, my god, I'm from Indiana!" and another 5 bucks went into the jar.
Thus, cat food, toothpaste, dish soap, a wash of laundry, a newspaper, a little bag of ground coffee and a handful of bath salts were all mine; and I still had 20 bucks left this (Wednesday) morning.
It is the Montelle's of the world that I am seeking when I go out and play on these slow weekend nights.
I am trying to be frugal with the money, realizing that if it weren't for her, it would have been a 3 dollar night, in line with what I had made the 2 previous nights that I busked.
Of course, I am going out again as soon as I post this. I want to get the TV paid off.
I am definitely actively looking for a job. I'm tired of living on miracles like the appearance of a lady with a strange name whom I just happen to play the perfect song for.
David the water jug player would tell me not to worry and that the miracles will just keep happening like that...forsake everything, pick up your cross, and follow me..., the guy who sleeps on a trolley stop bench would quote to me on the subject, I'm sure...
There does seem to be a connection between fasting and getting huge tips, though. Maybe it is a vibe put out by the starving....