Friday, March 31, 2017

Ubuntu Web Browser

Computer Woes

Wow, I am using the Ubuntu Web Browser that came free, along with the rest of the operating system.
They are looking for a new logo...


I had to temporarily abandon Firefox because I couldn't answer comments. I would type in the text and hit publish, and the screen would do a very ungraceful couple of jerks from one screen to the next, showing the blog front page and then the comment box, and then the comment box empty of the text that I just spent time typing in, and then that would be it.

One "clue" as to what is going on is that "Google account" is not already entered as the default "profile" under the comment form; like it used to be. Now it has the "enter profile," prompting me to select by scrolling down to Google, or Wordpress, anonymous, or whatever..

And one "do you think?!?" clue is that I popped the hard drive out of this Thinkpad and put in the one out of my old Windows 10 system and booted it up.

I can't help think that the operating system found a way to change some of the settings that stay in memory even when the machine is turned off.

Did Windows think that it was being illegally pirated and put on a second machine when it booted up to learn that all the Toshiba hardware that it had been configured for had been replaced? Did it somehow recognize that the serial number that it read off the CPU when it booted up didn't match the one in the laptop that it had been "licensed" to run on?

Who Knows?

This Ubuntu browser, I kind of overlooked when I took it "out of the box" because of how simple it appeared to be, stripped down might be a better term, compared to Firefox.

I know Firefox is highly esteemed as a browser, with the consensus being that it makes Windows Explorer obsolete; but right now I can't comment on my own blog using Firefox and I just did, using the Ubuntu Web Browser. I'm game for jumping ship for now; I'm sure I can even import all of my bookmarks and history and cookies from Firefox.

One thing that I notice about linux applications is that there is a lot of sharing of features that work really well.

For example, the Audacity editor makes it easy to do things like highlight a section and perform and action upon it with a few mouse clicks. Go to the Openshot video editor and voilà! -the same functionality is there when it comes to highlighting things and performing actions upon them.

That's not accidental and illustrates one of the beauties of open source computer code.

Whomever developed the Oneshot editor must have thought "we should make this feature as handy as it is in the Audacity editor; it's really easy to perform these operations in that editor...I know, let's just copy the code from it and paste it in our program; it's open source, after all...

I liken it to driving a BMW, and then switching to a Lexus and finding that they both have great traction because they each have Perelli tires on them. If Audacity is a BMW, and Openshot is,...well you get the idea.

One weird thing is that when a browser opens over the Sacred Heart network, it opens to a Yahoo search page. That just kind of over-writes whatever you might have entered in your browser settings.

At Starbucks, it lands on the Starbucks homepage, showing the latest coffee related articles and advertisements. This is understandable and not an annoyance at all, in exchange for free wi-fi to go with coffee.

This is one of the reasons that I want to become an "expert" in computer languages; so as to not be baffled when all of a sudden I can't comment on my own blog using a certain browser.

I can update Firefox, I can update Ubuntu, and then I can just be glad that I at least have found a work-around for commenting on my own blog.

I guess this is what I get for opening the hood, and tinkering around.

Now, To My Post

I am still up from Wednesday night, into this Thursday morning.

It is raining and gray outside. I can hear the swoosh of the tires on the road.

I am using my Perl script to process this blog post.

I reclaimed the script off of my old hard drive.

All I did was remove one screw and the hard drive slid right out, and the one out of the fried laptop slid almost "right" in (it would have had I inserted it into the little guiding harness that the Thinkpad's current drive was in, so as to guide it right to a perfect mating).

The Thinkpad booted up to windows and began to look and feel just like the Toshiba had before it fried. Except everything looked too wide, and I didn't know where to find the setting to correct it.

There is a ton of music on the thing.

My next step might be to put the old hard drive in the Thinkpad, boot it up to Windows, and then plug the hard drive with the Linux system on it and see if I can mount it as an external drive; then I'd be able to copy music right from one drive to another. It didn't work in the opposite direction...

I found a pleasant surprise in the Perl script. I had added the feature of inserting the code to make bold every word that begins with a capital letter. I already bold-face proper nouns, and I can't think of much that I would capitalize that I wouldn't also make bold. This is so a reader could do a very quick scan, looking for persons, places or capitalized things of interest to her.

I need to fix it so it won't bold face the word "I," though. It's persons places and things other than myself that I want in bold print.

The Quick Fix Jumped Over The Lazy Dan

The quick fix would be to go in and add a line to specify: If the capitalized word is only one letter, then don't bold face it...in case I start a sentence off with "A long time ago..." it won't bold the A just because it is capitalized. Of course, if I write "A Tale of Two Cities," then the whole title EXCEPT the A would be bold; for no apparent reason.

I am happy with my script, though. I look forward to learning XML inside and out, and maybe some PHP, and someday, I would like to embed my little Perl script into the template of this blog, so that I can just type my words in and it will be somehow executed behind the scenes on the text...I haven't gotten that far yet in "Beginning XML" yet, to know.

But, I am typing away right now just to give the program a good chunk to work on.

The paragraphs are split according to whenever I press the return bar. I otherwise just put sentence after sentence until my train of thought changes, then I hit the return.

And start a new paragraph.

One a different color from the previous one, and, like it, chosen at random from a palette light enough in hue to show up against the black background that the blog now has.

True Colors (since I have Cindy Lauper singing that on my player)

I limit the colors by making the program choose from only the highest hexadecimal (A through F) values that represent the Red Green and Blue values that are blended in producing a color -producing the perception of color through the human eye, that is.

This system has been around since the first color televisions, on which you could see, with a magnifying glass, the actual clusters of 3 little dots, with the reds and blues and greens changing in intensity with relationship to one another. That is until your father tells you to get your head away from the TV, especially with that magnifying glass.

There was concern, back then in the "Nuclear Age," (or the "Space Age" to the more optimistic of them) about the radiation emitted by TVs, and, of course, those new-fangled microwave ovens that were coming out. Some claimed that such constant exposure to it would turn us into a race of brain-dead skeezers, within 50 years. But, every generation harbors an element that is wary of "progress," I suppose.

They should have known that we would eventually be using microwaves to destroy nuclear weapons in space...

But, since the human eye hasn't changed much, neither has the technology had to, and Pure white is still #FFFFFF (F being the highest digit in hexadecimal, equal to 15) and pure black, "#000000."

An interesting aspect is the addition of an independent control over the "hue" or saturation of the color. There is a difference to the human eye in the color of a red shirt when it is out in the sunlight, compared to when in an almost dark room, for example, even though the shirt's "color" never changes.

The darkest hue that my program will ever randomly select would be #AAAAAA, and there is only one chance in 46,656 of all six digits being A. Example of darkest hue of color that you will see on this blog. It is equally unlikely that you will ever see any pure white text in the blog, either.

That kind of sheds light on the problem of "contrast" that I am having when the program randomly selects two very similar colors for abutting paragraphs, so that it hardly looks like they are different colors and more looks like there is something wrong with your screen and the colors are starting to bleed and look "watery."

The overall view is of pastel, with subtle changes in shade.

I thought about pre-selecting a number of colors and then letting the program randomly pick from only them. That way I could make sure it picked a color more drastically different from the preceding paragraph's, by grouping them into 2 or 3 separate files, all containing colors that match and contrast with the colors in the other one. One file could be named "pants.pl" and could hold all of the colors that pants might be; basic, subdued hues, to go along with a "shirts.pl" and "ties.pl" file. That way I could have the program randomly pick out a nice outfit, er, color scheme for the blog posts. While I sit on my ass, made lazy and complacent by technology.

Then, I also had the idea to have the program do a search for key words in the text, and then try to match the color of the paragraph to the context. Any paragraph that mentions money, has a "$" in it, or has phrases like "played last night" in it would be rendered in "money green," for example (read from the shirts.pl file).

Oh, I have ideas for this blog, people.

You readers do all know that this blog will continue to publish for another 8,000 or so, depending upon when I die, years after I am gone, don't you?

Sure. Using the post "scheduling" option, I've got some stuff cued to come out in the year 8,017 that's going to trend!

Let me process this and see what pretty colors I get, and how many words I wrote. I'll get to the problem with I, later.

Let me test it out, Lilly Pad. Sacred Heart Apartments, I am Daniel; good.

Friday morning and, the sun is coming up. I got some rest in, after having worked on recovering files off the old hard drive, then reviewed a lot of them.

This Perl script was a good recovery; but I forgot to transfer all of my Perl manuals and tutorials.

You've just read: 1,309 words. POWERED BY ↁ DANIEL-SOFT TEXT SOLUTIONS ↁ"

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Music Video Grade 1

Yes, sir.
As I learn the baby steps of making a video, using the OpenShot video editor, about which I have been raving (I've been referring to it as the "OneShot" video in my raves) I am going to mirror that learning curve by publishing this series of videos based loosely enough so as to not run into any copy-write issues, around the Mel Bay Modern Guitar Method series.
One of the underlying ideas in offering the aspiring little tyke guitarists this treatment of the lesson material is to remove some of the reticence that they might have in performing the lesson material, such as I did when I was their age.
The problem I had, as a beginning student who had already been exposed to The Beatles, and was taking up the instrument so that he could start his own group, and take things even further than that boy band from Liverpool ever dreamed of; etc.
Songs like "The Merry Men," I found hard to reconcile with the image I had of myself, standing on the stage at an arena in front of thousands of rabid fans, turning the volume of my Telecaster up and bringing to life my 1,500 watt Marshall stack amplifier with the first few notes of "Frolic" (page 10).
They would have been better for a child, perhaps? A child might be happier to plunk the notes out with a "Curious George" soundtrack delivery, and been just fine.
One of my goals, in producing this video series is to actually learn things that I might have slighted, as a 14 year old student, like how to play the songs in an other than "Curious George" cartoon soundtrack style..

 Technical Schmechnical

The above video was made possible by the fine multitasking that the Thinkpad was able to do.

I opened the webcam application and started to shoot a video of myself, and then was able to open Audacity in a second window and click on record.

As Audacity recorded me through the Snowball microphone, (while sending what I was playing along with through the headphones) the Cheese Webcam Booth recorded vidio of me.

I was then able to go back to Audacity and do some sound engineering, balancing the instruments, taking a little bottom end out of the acoustic guitars, compressing, adding delay and reverb, etc...

One of the audio tracks was recorded live, so all extra voices and effects added to it are going to play right along with that original performance...pretty cool.
One thing that I discovered right away was that, if I laid down a 10 minute rhythm track, there would be a delay between my movements and what I saw on the webcam monitor screen, but after I reduced that to under 5 minutes, it sped up to almost instantaneous.

Audacity will run on the 4 gigs of memory in the Thinkpad, but 8 gigs is recommended, and that is most certainly for dealing with big files and, as in my case, running 2 applications at the same time, both of which are memory intensive...

Not to fear, though. With the capacity of the OpenShot video editor, I could easily patch together several shorter than 5 minute videos, all shot while playing over different shorter than 5 minute sections of a song that could be an hour long on Audacity, and all I would have to do is find their place in the audio and match them up. Since both audio and video progress at the exact same tempo, regulated by the metronome on the first track of Audacity, all I have to do is find a spot where a sound occurs that I can pinpoint, like the flick of a lighter, and match the sound to the flame, and the whole rest of the video would then be in time with the music at 160 beats per minute, or whatever...

I have some more studying to do on the OpenShot editor, but not much, really. It's a pretty simple tool, dedicated to just one thing. You load audio and video into it, and then cut them up and move them around, do all kind of effects to them, and then matching them however you want. You can separate the sound from the picture on any given clip, so that you could go from live sound, to say, a voice-over like the guy's thoughts are being made audible, or music playing, and then back to live sound, so you can hear him flick his lighter, perhaps.
Amazing tool (ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ ᴥ 1/2 Latin ains!) the OpenShot, free, open source video editor is!

Now, I am off to grab a bit of music, maybe some Phish, and then to check my green card balance and probably send for a new harmonica. Another 17 dollar Susuki Folkmaster harmonica, I'm afraid.

The Rose and Ed deal fell through, and I've been staying in a lot, studying XML, harmonica and guitar methods, blogging tricks and secrets, Perl programming, and not to mention, spending a lot of time learning how to make videos; so my cash has kind of dwindled to below the Hohner Special 20 price range, but, I guess I'll just do what I always do; go out there with a brand new set of strings and a brand new, even though it's just a Folkmaster, harmonica and try to have a $250 week, now that it is the wonderful weather season, and will be for maybe another month....

What's Coming

Coming soon, on Street Musician Daniel, besides things like my mentioning the exact text of the name of this blog to help those robots notice that it is being "talked about," and is "trending" big time in Mid-City New Orleans, will be another video soon.

Maybe as soon as I get back to the apartment and fire up the audacity for another round of instructional Mel Bay based guitar tutorials for beginners...

As I have reached the third string of the guitar, and not coincidentally the third chapter of the Book 1, with the inclusion of a little bit of the "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" melody, it is time to move onward to the 4th string.

I will say that I am practicing the heck out of these lessons, as I do find that each little piece presents some little technical challenge, like the crossing of strings while alternately picking that comes up in one of the 4th chapter songs, written by Bill Bay.

It is a series of notes that has a name, which I forget, even though I once knew it because I went to college and even have an associates degree in music to prove that, but I digress.

It is basically 4 notes that can take the place of one. The one note might be a C note, but the four note group (like in the Bill Bay song) that is being substituted are the C note, which gets landed on, and the other 3 notes which flutter around it, above and below. It's a Mozart and Bach kind of thing.

But for a guitarist, it's a Joe Satriani thing, and Vinnie Moore* thing.

It is a musical device which can often be capitalized upon on the guitar, as the notes can fall in a picking pattern where the pick is just going back and forth in a natural rhythm, and the next note happens to be on the string that the pick is already headed towards after hitting the previous one, etc. with the result that the pattern is easy to speed up, with practice, all the way up to whatever the limits of caffeine are...

The guitarist from, I believe "Racer X" was the name of the band, but don't quote me (or spread it on the web if I'm wrong) would use a lot of these 4 note type patterns. He used to attach guitar picks to the blades of an electric paint mixer, then squeeze the trigger and perform. His name comes up in discussions about "who was the fastest metal guitarist ever?"

I can understand how the 4 picks, which multiply the RPM of the paint mixer by that factor could allow the guy to play well, maybe 4,000 notes a second (what do those tools red-line at?) I can see the appeal there, and it would be hard to flat pick at that speed, especially given the disadvantage of having only a quarter of the number of picks that the Racer X guy has working for you.

My question, upon hearing about the guy in the early 80's, was more about, how did the guy keep the hum out of his amplifier that one would think might be produced by running a paint mixer nearby. Nearby some electro-magnetic guitar pickups. Wouldn't the grounding situation be a nightmare? They probably had to plug the amp and mixer into different outlets at arena. I mean, what if he's playing a quiet ballad??

*Vinnie Moore, not exactly a household name, but not because he isn't a good guitarist.

His claim to fame, other than being on the cover of guitar magazines dubbed "The Greatest Guitarist You've Never Heard Of" so many times that he became by far one of the most famous of that group, was that he was "the guy" who was handed his diploma from The Grove Institute or some music school along with an offer of a job as a guitar instructor at the same time.

To make a long story short, I met the guy when he was putting on a clinic which was being sponsored by Laneyꝉ amplifiers.

He put on his latest CD at the time, called "Time Odyssey," and then stood on stage and, through a Laney amp, played flawlessly along with it. It sounded like a single guitar, so in time was he with it, which is saying something. 

But, he is a proponent of using patterns that are physically easy to repeat at a fast rate, and then moving them around the neck of the guitar, using the fact that if you do "the same thing" on a guitar at a different fret, then you are actually doing a different thing; same pattern but different pitched notes.

Vinnie would play a lightning fast flurry of notes and then repeat it as he slid up a fret at a time until landing at a fret where the pattern fit in so well that you, in hindsight realize what he did. But it is always a pattern that can be done with blazing speed on the guitar. A pianist might have trouble tripping over black keys trying to do the same thing on his instrument; but of course he can play 12 notes at a time....

Vinnie was not a "words" person at all. It is funny how he has the capacity to play his compositions in exactly the same way each time. I asked him if he ever got the urge to deviate when he's in the middle of a song. He said that he did that when he was practicing, but when he played for people, he had his compositions set in stone. So, he can play with extreme precision and memorize long passages, yet he can't come up with a less generic sounding name than "Time Odyssey," for an album. How about "Untitled Number One," LOL!!

Vinnie did eventually get his reward, in a sense, when he was chosen by the band Deep Purple to replace their venerated guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.
Let me bring this full circle: I had a friend in the mid 80's who was a very technically oriented guitar player, who played things like ragtime guitar where there is only one fingering and one way to play it. His name was Mark.
Mark wrote and recorded some pieces which were very precise and were named, I kid you not, "Untitled No. 1," "Untitled No. 2" etc.
So, there is an interplay of the sides of the brain, the more creative side and the side that works by rote like a machine. I couldn't play very precisely because my mind would want to explore other possible ways of playing something, yet I could think of 7 possible names for the song.

Mark really liked Richie Blackmore as a guitarist.

So, I think it is cosmic that, when I saw the title of Vinnie Moore's "Time Oddesey," it made me think of Mark in an "Untitled No. 6" kind of way; and then Vinnie Moore winds up replacing Mark's favorite guitarist in Deep Purple.
I thought it cosmic and blog-worthy, anyway...

So, the point is that Bill Bay, in his infinite wisdom has actually given little Johnny quite a valuable tool with those little 4 note things. It's just up to the kid to go out and get a reliable power tool.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Explorer Don't Fail Me Now


United States
4987
France
255
Germany
94
China
27
Canada
25
Portugal
15
Australia
13
Romania
12
Russia
11
Luxembourg
6
Just a quick post...(my page views for the past month, above)

I'm using a Sacred Heart computer room machine, and I am realizing how fortunate I am to have my own laptop. I had to reboot the thing, and then upgrade Firefox; 20 minutes later, here I am...

There are big things in the works.

I am making progress with the One Shot video editor.

If I record something in Audacity at 120 beats per minute, then I can do a dummy version of a song at that exact speed and then just synchronize the two.

In places where I have a lip synch moment, where you can tell that I'm lip synching; no problem, the frame fades out and fades back in to a still shot, or something.

As long as every video clip of myself has me moving at the rate of 120 beats per minute, I'll be able to do something with it.

The video I made this evening had me laughing my ass off; and I haven't even learned a tenth of what the One Shot editor can do..

I'm studying XML, Perl programming, Python Programming, the Mel Bay books, Open Shot video editor, how to optimize this blog, and the GIMP graphics and photo editor...

The video making is off to a flying start; I just need to brainstorm on musical ideas that have a counterpart in video...

The GIMP Editor; a little slower learning curve, so far (see below)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Financial Report


This is a pretty long post....


I am in, on this Thursday night, after having seen how slow it was last night.
I might have made 10 bucks last night.


Any one could have been a 20.

I had brand new strings, and was basically just practicing all night (2 hours) in preparation for recording my originals.

At certain points, I thought that I should be home recording, rather than playing for parked cars and a couple, who sat across the street on Alan's stoop.


I thought they might have been listening, and I played "better" for a while, until it became apparent that they were most likely just sitting there for some reason other than me, and weren't going to cross over when I took a break and tip me well, saying that they had enjoyed the past hour of music.

The Numbers Game Of Busking

I had a chance to think about the "numbers game' that busking is, to a degree.

The basic question was: How many people, out of a thousand (arbitrarily) are likely to throw any tip at all.

After much thinking on the subject,  I estimated this figure to be 75, for myself.

Any individual tourist carries a 7.5% chance of tipping. Sounds about right...

Tips range from, at the very bottom, a business card, bible tract, flower, Mardi Gras trinket, half sandwich, alcoholic drink, or a "sounds good.." and nothing else, to the top end, or, the guy who likes your sound, is a record producer, invites you to the hotel where you hang out and meet a young artist whose song the producer wants your sound on. The song becomes the next "Bubble Butt," and you live the rest of your days in style.

In order to follow a more bell shaped curve, I think the phrase is, I must, like the teacher who is scaling grades; throw out the highest and lowest tippers, so that a more standard deviation can be divined.

So, with that in mind, I will crop the record producer from the top, and the guy who shoots you in the head and steals your money and guitar from the bottom.

Now that I have a more manageable list, the next step would be breaking down those "75 per thousand" into subcategories, based upon what they throw; one dollar tippers, up to 100 dollars plus tippers.

I will reiterate that, I have nullified the kid who gave me the Takamine guitar, and the Italian mafioso type who gave me 175 dollars once, telling me that he had enjoyed my music very much and that he would be back to break my legs if, upon that return, I showed no signs of having come up in the world, pursuant to his investing in me, etc.
On second thought though, the guy HAD enjoyed my music, and so I can include that along with busking revenue.


After painstakingly estimating off the top of my head, and based upon my "doing this" for almost 5 years at my spot, I have boiled things down to a few figure. I love figures and charts:

  • I get a tip out of every 13.3 people who hear me. (based upon the 7.5% figure).
  • I have to entertain approximately 10,666 people in between being thrown 100 dollar bills.

$100 bills: 1 from every 10,666 people who hear me (1 out of every 800 tips)
$50 bills: 1 from every 6,000 people (1 out of every 450 tips)
$20 bills: 1 from every 267 people (1 out of every 20 tips)
$10 bills: 1 from every 200 who hear me (1 out of every 15 tips)
$5 bills: 1 from every 133 people (1 out of every 10 tips)
$2 - $4: 1 from every 47 people (1 out of every 3.5 tips)
$1 bills- 1 from every 28 people (1 of every 2.12 things that hit the jar)

[CHART]
How to read the above chart:

EXAMPLE: On a night when 200 tourists walk past me, the likelihood is that I will have gotten 15 tips, because 7.5% of them will tip.

Odds would be even, on 15 tips, that there is a 10 in there.  So, on this theoretical night let's say, I've made one ten dollar bill.

Odds would be slightly less than even (more like 3 to 4) that there will be a 20 in there, so I will add 3/4 of that, or $15.00 to my theoretic total.

I think in the real world of big time mathematics, this would be called something like "Factoring in the probabilities," or something...

The 100 dollar bill that comes every 800 tips, for example, pulls the average of the 799 tips in between up 12.5 cents Likewise, the Ulyses S. Grant every 450 customers pulls it up 11 cents.

But, to get back to the example and, after accounting for and factoring in each denomination, I came up with $50.74 as the average total on a night when 200 tourists walk past me..

This pretty much jives with the fact that, I would have to have 66 walk past me to make 18 dollars, which is what I have been steadily averaging per hour; and that seems just about right for the average hour.

=======

So, some simple arithmetic on the above yields such knowledge that I make $3,380.00 off of every thousand tourists that tip me; but 13,333 have to walk by before that many do so.

13,333 tourists, with a skeezer alongside each one of 'em, yikes!

And, my average tip is $3.38

I can look at every tourist and see 25 cents (not quite a cigarette) on each of their heads since, between more than 13 of them, I get the $3.38.

So, given 1,000 people at the Lilly Pad, and I will bring home $253 bucks, according to my painstakingly thought-out estimates. This sounds like it should be my goal for each week; to play for 1,000 people.

More Trivia: In between 100 dollar tips, I average $1,971.00 from all other sources. So, yeah, "big tippers" account for a bit less than 5% of my living.

When It Doesn't Rain, It Doesn't Pour

Last night, there were very probably only about 50 tourists that walked by me, and I took home just short of the $12.67 that my math would indicate I should have. This is, to some degree, a result of the "ripple effect," I will call it.

It has to do with the fact that, when it is very busy, the tip totals are padded by the fact that there is a monkey see, monkey do effect whereby people nearby will match the tips of their counterparts, if only as a way of remaining upon equal footing with them in some regard.

When it is slow, the tourists are spaced too far apart for any such monkey business to go down...

I had some fun re-arranging equations to yield things like, on a typical $50 night (i.e. one that wasn't the result of a rogue 50 dollar tip) I am probably passed by about 250 tourists, out of which 19 tip me.

My "best night ever,"  $213.86, should have required 62 tips to get me to that point, and 843 people walking past, but there was a 100 dollar bill in the jar, which did "the work" of 400 tourists, so it was probably more like 450. Again, that sounds about right...about 150 tourists per hour...

This is what I thought about as I pedaled home after Wednesday night.

There must be some watershed at which the odds of getting the 100 dollar tip would justify going out, riding the bike trail, alert for hoodlums with paint ball guns, and then playing, and debating internally over whether I might not be better served by being at home, putting the same music onto a CD that could then be sold, so that it might reach human ears, rather than taking the virginity of a set of strings solely for the edification of an empty street, even though a skeezer might be enjoying it from a nearby stoop.

If 50 people indeed heard me last night then, I stood once chance in 212 of getting a 100 dollar bill.

I would love to be a statistician. I would be into retrieving data like "Which NFL teams have the highest combined weight of players that wear jerseys numbering in the 70's?" or "What is the average size of the student body of the colleges attended by all the punters in the league, compared to that of the quarterbacks?" (a punter can come from some tiny school with a lousy football program and still kick the ball 75 yards for them...)

I concluded that a 1 in 212 chance of getting a 100 dollar bill was not an adequate trade off for the time that could otherwise be spent. This conclusion, I also drew, based upon mathematics. At that rate (i.e. nights like that one) I would get a hundred dollar tip every 7 months or so.

I decided to stay home this evening, catch up on the blog and other things, including the making of a recording of The Merry Men, out of the Mel Bay Book 1. I might just try to post it up here. If it's here, I did. In the future I think I will monitor my gains in the street music industry by keeping more of a tab on the number of people walking past, rather than the amount of time going by. This would have the side effect of forcing me to be more "aware" of the people in general; kind of a step in the direction, at least, of making eye contact and engaging people with some sort of patter.

18 Dollar Friday
57 Dollar Saturday

Addendum: Friday night, I went out and played from midnight until 3 AM and took home about 18 bucks...I would guess that only about 100 tourists (non skeezers, non prostitutes, non drug dealers, non employees of nearby businesses, non residents out walking their dogs in their bathrobes and slippers) went by me.


I heard from Colin the busker later on, that he too, had groups of them stop in front of him and dance a bit and sing along; and then walk off without leaving a tip. Some people are not "cosmopolitan" enough to know that the busker is trying to make money. I think some people think that we just want to play our music for people and that is an end in itself to us.

Sunday, March 26th, 2017 -5 AM

I just got back after a strange 57 dollar Saturday night, when I started playing at 10:32 PM, and finished at almost exactly 3 AM. I had stopped on the way in, and thrown 20 dollars on my plastic card and then turned around and spent 10 right back off of it in the same transaction. That is how I have to work around the 20 dollar minimum load on the card. That at least gives me a balance somewhere around the price of a decent harmonica.

It behooves me to set aside some cash in case Rose and Ed want to borrow any towards the end of the month (right now) to be paid back double. I already have floated a 7 dollar loan to them.

Last month, Rose called on the last day, wanting to borrow 30 bucks and pay me back 60 less than 12 hours later! But (d'oh!) I had just put 65 bucks on my plastic card, leaving me less than 10 bucks cash.

I think that is a carryover from the drinking days, a desire to protect the money from myself. I can remember the time that I counted out 10 one dollar bills to give to a guy that was selling me a dime of weed.

Later on, after searching my pockets, I deduced that a 50 dollar bill must have been folded up in between the ones, making it a 60 dollar dime of weed.

The problem arose from the fact that I had given the 50 dollar bill special treatment, having folded it differently than the rest of my bills, thinking, I guess that it would stay there, separate from them, and serve notice to me that I was down to less than 50 bucks if I had to break it. That, and having not put it on a plastic card instead of trying to carry it around.

So far, I've got about 40 bucks that I would gladly lend to Rose and Ed, to get back doubled a week from now. I might just go out and play tomorrow (Sunday) night, just for more "Rose and Ed" money..

I might put "a bug" in the ear of Rose, by calling tomorrow and letting her know that, by the way, if you need to borrow any cash, I've got some set aside for a harmonica but could wait another week before getting it... Especially since the harmonica that I would be getting a week later, given their extra 40 bucks, would most definitely be a Hohner Special 20, which is about 44 bucks here...

It does make me wonder, the fact that they are willing to pay back 100% interest... I don't think it is a reflection on their credit worthiness with others, because they seem to dispose of their debts right off the top of their monthly dole; I think it is in indication that, as a busker, I'm one of the very few people in the building with any cash on a 25th of the month day like today.

 The dynamics of last (Saturday) evening were such that I made the 57 dollars off of perhaps 5 or 6 people, total.

There was a guy named Chris who hung out and, threw me 20 dollars and, got another guy, who was drunk and wanted one of my plastic sharks, to pay what turned out to be 14 dollars for it.

A Lone Shark

My busking business is trending more toward entertaining individuals who want to hang out with a busker, and maybe vicariously act out musically through him, who are very often "corporate" types , and very often speak of having "almost" thrown a guitar over their shoulder and hopped a train, once, or of how they sit behind their desk at their $million+ per year jobs and wonder what that would be like. And they are very often full of encouragement, insisting to you that what you are doing is very worthwhile life, and that they are going to go off, full of envy for you, back to their $million+ per year jobs in Houston or somewhere.

I am a lot like the tarot card reader, who might give readings for only 5 people on a given night, while the multitudes stroll past, oblivious to what is going on at the table; and who will try to engage them and keep them intigued and fascinated for such a stretch of time that the people feel like they have gotten at least a 50 dollar reading out of them.

Great Ideas

The idea of bringing a milk crate home every night has been stuck on the senate floor, so to speak. With all the gear that I already have on me, the addition of a milk crate each night would really feel like more trouble than it's worth. I would be riding the bike one handed for 2 miles just to get one crate home. This would make it hard to drink a Monster Energy drink while I rode, or smoke a cigarette. 

I do like the idea of coming in the apartment building every night carrying what is ostensibly the one milk crate that I own, while nobody notices that I never leave with one. I still want to make a sound baffle, I might try to buy milk crates.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wow, It's 3:30 Already

  • Tuesday Night Off
  • Pressed For Time

I decided not to go out on this Tuesday night, because I had so much to do, on what could be a night off, that it would just distract me when I was out there, and would pile up even more so that, when the weekend rolled around, I would be anxiously waiting for a couple nights off to catch up.
That being said. I am struggling with the new laptop and the Ubuntu operating system.
Earlier, I couldn't get any photos to load off the web. It turned out that I had enabled one of the many "extentions" to my browser and it had flash, or javascript, or cookies, or Java or something disabled.
I'm reading a book about XML.
I have a ton of music to go with the sheet music in the Sheet Music magazines that I have a small stack of -lots of "standards" in those things.
I am working on the Mel Bay books, the harmonica book.
Am needing one good night to throw another 20 on my plastic card so I can order a new harmonica.
I sure am one pressed-for-time unemployed guy...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Night Off


It is a Monday night.

I am trying to take it off, and enjoy it, without being harangued with thoughts of what I might be missing out on; on a night when at least 100 people would walk past me as I played, even as slow as it is.

I am at Starbucks.
I just used one of the gift cards that The Lidgleys of London sent to me in one of the parcels that came from Hertfordshire, which isn't London. The balance on that one is 17 bucks and change, and I have another one which hasn't even seen a magnetic strip reader yet with an untold balance on it.


It will almost assuredly have a balance in an odd amount of U.S. currency, as they purchase them using pounds.

In fact, the amount on the Starbucks cards that they send me is where I gain a perspective on world economics, and how strong the dollar is, at least vs. the pound. If the 30 pounds, or so, that they put on a card ever netted me say, 80 bucks worth of coffee, then, I would have mixed sentiments, over having plenty of coffee, but living in a country thats economy is going into default...

To Do Lists

I have started a "To Do" list and have placed it on my desktop, right in my face as soon as I log on to the laptop.

The first article was to start a To Do list, so I crossed that off immediately.

Great Idea #1

There is a reason that I can take up to 45 minutes to move a chess piece, and why I always mull over any kind of spending decision, asking myself: "Can I accomplish the same thing for free?"

Like the other night when I was in family dollar looking at cleaning agents. I was thinking about sweeping and mopping and maybe even waxing(no way!) my hardwood floor.

So, I looked at the Family Dollar cotton mops which are cheap, and which fall apart, leaving orphaned strands of cotton in their wake as you mop.
I looked at the 9 dollar one. It was a much nicer mop, larger and with a heavier head.

The head was heavy enough, though, so that wringing it by hand would be an ordeal...

The 9 dollar mop is ideal with the 6 dollar bucket with the little plastic wringer...
But that's the cheap bucket/wringer combo, which might fall apart, leaving pieces of bucket in its wake. It would be more ideal with the deluxe 12 dollar bucket and wringer...

That would be 21 bucks...

I looked at the heads of the scrubby sponge tipped mops..."Those are just like the 1 dollar scrubby sponges that I buy for washing dishes (which I boil after they become funky, to extend the lives of) which are just elongated and are affixed to the ends of mop handles.

Cheap mop handles.

I could go out in the woods and find a stick with the right dimensions and figure out a way to attach the sponge head to it with duct tape or Gorilla glue...that would save me money on the handle...
...what's the handle for, though, actually? Oh, yeah, so you can stand up and mop, to make it easier. Easier on the back...designed for wussies and others afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their knees dirty.

So, after about a half hour of "shopping," I bought a one dollar scrubby sponge, planning upon just getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing my floor with the thing, dipping and wringing it out into the cheap bucket that I already own that doesn't have a wringer. My mop-able floor area is only maybe 30 square feet. Handles are for people with much bigger floors...

I was ready to grab some lavender scented ammonia type all purpose cleanser, and then thought: "Wait, I've got plenty of bar soap..I could just soap up the water real good with it; it will work; with a little elbow grease..."

But then, I thought about all the other purposes that the FabulosoƟ lavender scented liquid could be put to, kitchen counters, bathtubs; and I decided to spend a buck on a bottle, I like the scent of lavender, and you only live once. I'll get by on the Fabuloso until I can find a way to maybe buy straight ammonia online and mix my own "all purpose cleanser..."

So, the point is that I only spend money after exhausting all other possibilities.

Which brings me to the Great Idea #1.
+
=
A Marriage Made In NOLA

This has to do with the booming acoustic qualities of my apartment, with its 16 foot high ceilings, and the solutions that I had been mulling over.

I looked at all kinds of "sound dampening" devices and materials, eventually finding one that could be made "yourself" using a lot of towels...a sound dampener that can be stolen from hotels.

It became evident that I needed not sound dampening; which is more for keeping extraneous sounds from bouncing back into a microphone, I guess, because the sound has to go through the towels a second time to get back to the microphone after rebounding off things.

Because of the physical nature of sound waves, and how they pass through things by setting molecules in motion, the heavier an object, the more sound it blocks.

I thought about cinder blocks.

I could build a cinder block wall around my recording area, and then even line it with towels.

There is a construction site nearby with pallets of cinder blocks sitting there. I could grab one each night on my way home and work on the wall one block at a time. But, that would be stealing; and stealing off of a "construction site," is an amplified charge. 

My wall would wind up requiring maybe 30 cinder blocks in all, and that many cinder block's disappearing would be noticed, would be a chore to lug the 2 blocks, and I probably wouldn't want to stack them higher than 4 feet, due to the instability of a wall that is any more than 4 times higher than a cinder block is wide.

The Solution

Then, the solution came to me.

On a night when my busking income had only been about 10 bucks, I arrived home feeling as though I had acquired something of value, none the less.

Instead of taking a cinder block home every night, I'm going to try to take home a milk crate. It could be the one that I just finished playing on, or whatever other one I can find along my way, that nobody will notice missing.

Then, I will line the milk crates with a very heavy plastic or equivalent, and fill them with sand!!

This will block a lot of sound. The wall with the elevator shaft on the other side , along with the brick wall facing the street will make 2 of the walls. I'll be shouting out my version of "The Immigrant Song," by Led Zeppelin at 3:30 AM, with impunity!
Other proposals would be: to line at least a couple of them with kitty litter, so as to always have some on hand, or with potting soil for the same reason.

This would be an elegant solution that would be easily removable, and could be rearranged easily. I could even cover the crates with heavy paper and decorate them...

Starbucks is closing; Great Idea #2 will have to unfold later....

My Friend, Colin

Colin is a friend of mine, whom I have seen busking on Royal Street.

He is very "professional" about the business, seeking out the "money" spots on Royal Street and playing through a modest amplifier that he pulls behind him on a tote, putting in the hours, and making enough to travel the country by Greyhound and stay in motels along the way.

He has a place in New York that he is able to stay at for low rent, and one here in New Orleans.

He is about 65 years old, and speaks with an accent that is "from the islands," wherever that is, and uses pretty much correct, yet sometimes idiomatic language.

He has been to about 80 cities in the U.S. and has busked in all of them.
I caught him at Starbucks where he was, after just returning from Austin, Texas (for the South and West Fest? or something) and then San Antonio(above) and then Corpus Cristi.

He was showing me the photos, and I got him to e-mail me a couple right there in Starbucks. This is proof that I am getting something out of the Blogging For Dummies book, since I actively sought out pictures to go with the story. 

I can promote myself to Chapter 4 now...
Perhaps more on Colin later.

He doesn't smoke cigarettes and averages just shy of 100 dollars a night.

He uses a backing track which is kind of like music with vocals removed that has everything else, even backup singers; he just strums along and adds in the missing vocalist.

He is also very "visual" in the sense that he just looks like a street musician, and could probably stand there motionlessly and make money as a living statue.

I can always picture a figure of him in a wax museum with "the busker" on a placard in front of it.
Whatever look he is going for, it seems to work for him; and add to that the fact that he does songs like "Sweet Caroline," by Neil Diamond, and "Layla," by Eric Clapton, and the appeal is obvious. Right? Hello?

One thing that Colin told me was that he was dropping the song "Sugar, Sugar," by The Archies from his repertoire because it just, to his surprise, wasn't making him any money.

We had a discussion about this. I believe that that song fulfills a lot of the requirements of "a good busking song," and I argued that he should just give it more of a chance.

I had a couple songs like that, one's that I was considering dropping because of long stretches of not getting tips for them, but then, out of the blue would come an especially large tip for the song, maybe just because the person wants to show her appreciation for songs that others hate...

"Blackbird," by the Beatles was an example. I was ready to deep six it, when I was given 20 bucks by a guy who walked past after I had already packed up but still had the guitar out and was wondering if I still remembered how to play it. It was just that the guy had come close enough to hear the quiet finger picked thing.

"No, for some reason, I just don't ever get anywhere with that song, and I don't know why..." said Colin.

There is most probably a reason why. It is worthwhile for the busker to ponder upon, and try to figure out what doesn't work about the song, in hopes of figuring out what the converse would be.

I lot of times I will try to be playing the last thing that someone who sees me before they hear me might be expecting to hear, like the Partridge Family theme song, "Come On, Get Happy," but that can backfire; if people don't grasp the sarcasm and wind up thinking; "He needs to do music that fits his persona more, like Neil Young or Bob Dylan and stop trying to be David Cassidy!!

I'm thinking of trying out "Sugar, Sugar," by The Archies at the Lilly Pad.

Colin has a lot of interesting stories about places, and how buskers are treated there, that I might get to in the future, maybe as part of a "feature," once I organize this blog around certain themes, and might make a separate page devoted to "the other buskers of NOLA."

Chances are that Colin has busked in your town..

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Up Against What, Exactly?

Preface to post done before I slept about 7 hours.

I slept with a slowed down guitar riff, played by Dave Matthews repeating towards infinity. It was slowed down to, I believe, about 40% of it's "live" speed.

One would think that, slowing music down enough would reveal "mistakes" in the playing, like a non-muted string that was brushed against by a finger at a certain point that wasn't enough to detract from the loquacious note that the finger was playing on another string, and so, stayed on the recording, or enable one to put an oscilloscope on the super sustained notes and determine that Eddie Van Halen bent that string to a hair sharp of the #A440 pitch standard. Maybe, if you can only hear it if you slow it way down, the "unwanted" pitch ringing for more than a few milliseconds, then it stays on the recording.

Joe Satriani, in a Youtube video that I saw, was demonstrating a certain technique on the electric guitar and was pointing out that a certain amount of "noise" was an unavoidable side effect of using the technique*

But, my argument is that, no, virtuoso musicians make even the "noise" sound good. Sure, Dave Matthews barely sounds a couple of open strings within the riff, so subtle that they weren't even picked, but the result of him lifting his hands off the strings for a split second, letting them sound for that long, in the act of positioning them. And, a close look at the spectrograph, or whatever Audacity calls it, reveals that the "errant" notes fall right on an off beat. They were a clue as to how Dave was playing the riff, revealing when he lifted his hand, at least.

Conclusion?

To be a great guitarists, you must keep your every movement in strict time with the beat, even the "non playing" times when your hand is gliding over the strings to the next chord, and, in that way even the instances of extraneous noise will have a percussive element to them by falling right on a beat.
For more on this, listen to the finger squeaks on the acoustic guitar played by Paul Simon on his song "Learn How To Fall," off "There Goes Rhymin' Simon," from about 1973. You almost have to transition "awkwardly" between the chords and get those squeaks to play that intro right. And the guitar is mixed very brightly, as if to enhance them. They sound like a rubber soles slipping on the hardwood floor of a cathedral, to me.

Dave Matthews has been a hard rhythm guitarist to figure out. I'm still scratching my head and considering the possibility that he used an "open tuning" on the guitar he used.

*I think it involved tapping the strings in such a way that the string was free to vibrate from his finger to the pickup, but also in the other direction, from the adjacent fret to the nut, creating a random note which is dissonant with the one being intentionally played.

With a third arm, he would be able to
mute unwanted strings. I Pity the guy..
The fretboard and strings would have to be a certain set length, maybe even like 88 feet, or something, so that playing it backwards i.e. from the fret to the nut instead of from the fret to the bridge would produce a musical scale.
That is a problem for geometric physicists.
I think it would give you a 12 tone scale, which would basically come from dividing a single half step into 12 equally spaced notes; the way an octave is done in the real, well tempered world.

End Of Preface To Post Done Last Night

Introduction To Post Done Last Night

I'm filling the tub.

I've got B.B. King on.

This is the first time I have listened to B.B. King intentionally.

I have a list of the 20 greatest blues guitarists, according to someone, and I've been tracking down recordings of as many of them as I can, and will sit and listen to the 20 greatest blues guitarists, along with a few thrown in from any other "greatest" lists that I might find by Googling Billboards and Rolling Stones, etc....

Begin blog post Sat March 18, 2017
=====================
Here it is 12 hours before I am to be out there playing.

I haven't slept, of course and the pot is not really making me feel inspired or full of vim, or...

And so the thing is to be ready to go out; the C harmonica had a plugged hole last night. It's been a real workhorse these past 5? weeks or so, the C harp...

The A harp had already had a plugged up hole; and there is a reason that the hole that is plugged up is always the one note that you want to play...yeah, because you have played it out of tune because it's the one note that you always want to play..
==========
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6 AM, Sunday, March 19th...

I think I made about 10 bucks the couple hours that I was out playing on this fair weathered Saturday night.

I was rushing; trying to get there by 10 PM, as that was the time that I had told my new friends in the van going from California to Toronto.
I don't think I got their names.

The young lady, of probably 22 years of age, spoke in a British accent and was from London. I told her that I had friends (the Lidgleys of London) who also lived in London, and then was more specific in adding "Hertfordshire" as the exact place in "London," which drew an immediate protest of "That's not London!" from the young lady, who looked like a cross between Sinead O' Connor, when that singer had shaved her head, and Demi Moore, when that actress had her hair in a crew cut.

They talked a bit about San Francisco, and the young lady said that the Haight Ashbury area is very much, she didn't use the word "infested," and she didn't have the word "skeezer" in her vocabulary, as she had only then encountered me; but conveyed that there were a lot of modern day hippies there to the point of overkill.

The couple said that they had never been homeless. The young lady seemed to be of the attitude that anyone could change their appearance and somehow escape homelessness through the route of perceivances becoming reality.

I told her about how homelessness was absolutely something that I had taken as a yoke upon myself, back when becoming drunk every night was more of a focus of mine than imagining myself sitting in some apartment without even any money to put beer in the fridge.

I mentioned how the process of subtracting expenses rather than increasing income, lead me to the point where I had no bills.

It had started in the early 90's when I was making enough money delivering pizza to keep a roof over my head, but not much more.

I started to think about how restfully I might sleep in my car, knowing that about 700 bucks a month was being diverted into my pocket, and not some landlord's.
This made economical sense considering that I was consolidating my house and my car into one much lower monthly bill, and was using the thing as a work tool to deliver pizza at the same time, thus becoming like a shopkeeper who had a little bungalow behind the store.

And then, in the late 90's, I got into building covert dwellings on overlooked land, or land that had been set aside for the promotion of certain birds or what have you, or land that was in Arizona which is so big that it was easy to find a cranny to move into, and got to the point where I was living pretty much like a king, without paying anyone for real estate.

The couple were fascinated with that, and other, stories, in a way that gave me the impression that they came from pretty well off families, but had abiding concerns about the condition of fellow humanity.

A skeezer walked up and started to skeeze, as the three of us stood talking outside The Quartermaster. He had seen me before, and knew that a smart retort lurked on my tongue, but was kind of able to use what I will call "directional skeezing" to communicate primarily with the couple, keeping his voice down to the point where I could only sporadically catch words like "cold" or "hungry," here and there. Unless he was communicating using clouds of alcohol vapor the way native Americans used to use smoke, that could be...

The couple didn't have any cash, and had already offered me cigarettes as "the only thing we can offer" and so I relished the sight of the skeezer picking up his intensity; knowing that the skeezer was running down a long road just to find that the store is going to be closed when he gets there.

I looked forward to seeing his reaction, I really did. It would be a nice nightcap. I was telling myself that this was going to be an installment of payback for all the times that I had watched tourist's passing 20 dollar bills to his ilk, while I screamed internally "No, don't do it; he's full of shit!!" 

And then of course, self remonstrating over what it is that angers me about the situation, and, am I wrong and do I need to change my way of thinking. I usually settle upon: "Anyone can ask anyone for something and can say whatever he wants; and if the person gives him something, then there is no room for envy on my part, for the skeezer, nor for anger directed at the person for having made the skeezer the object of my envy."

And then, I imagine: What if I walked up to the person who had handed the skeezer 20 dollars, and said something like: "Hi, don't mean to bother you, and it's really none of my business, but I noticed you giving the begger guy some money, and if you really are set up well enough with money that 10 or 20 bucks is nothing to you, I'm wondering; would you give me some money, too?"
I thought about the older black man in Mobile, Alabama who had accosted a couple who had walked past me as I played and not tipped me, and had gotten them to give him, what amounted to only 5 dollars but the point was that he then walked over to me and said: "See, you can sit there and play your little guitar, but I know how to make money!"

So, I let the skeezer have the floor, hoping that the couple wouldn't wind up pulling their "emergency gas fund" out of one of their shoes or something, after being driven to pathos. The way the girl's face had lit up when she had talked to the skeezer looking guy, one of the first New Orleans people she had encountered, with myself being next, was not promising. They were ripe for the skeeze. Visions went through my mind; of the girl removing a locket from around her neck while tears stream down her cheeks "Here, pawn this and get your grandmother that medication first thing in the morning -promise me... I wish we could do more..."

First, the majority of skeezers will assume that the person is lying when they say that they have no cash. 

Myself, I like to test the skeezer by saying something like: "Man, I have like exactly enough to get what I need in The Quartermaster with like 16 cents left over..." and then the recommended "Sorry, man, I would help you out if I had it" just to see if, given that intelligence, and hearing it from someone who apparently has a heart, he would persist. Nothing like depriving oneself of one's needs to help out a skeezer, I say.

I consider the assuming that the person is lying; even though it would be potentially opening a can of worms to try to be more forthright; to be a slight upon the integrity of the person, upon whose decency and sense of charity the skeezer is hanging his hopes, while at the same time, basically insinuating that the person is being dishonest.

And sure enough, after a being told frankly by the guy, that the couple had no money, the skeezer told them "You don't understand," followed by a reiteration of how miserable he was, and with the addition of histrionics and the use of the stereotypical "preacher" voice which lent great gravity to his utterances of "I'm out here sleeping on the ground, in the cold, in the rain! I'm hungry, I'm tired, I'm thirsty!! Lord have mercy!!" He was like a Shakespearean character. Enter: beggar.

The couple were so young and a bit doe eyed that I really thought the skeezer had a puncher's chance of getting them to go in their bags and produce maybe a half pint of Hennessey, or give him something of value. They need to learn through experience, I thought, as I continued to stay out of it, but was feeling my anticipation of seeing the skeezer rebuffed becoming a bit tenuous. I was rooting for them.

And, they didn't give him anything, after the girl had to become a tiny bit brisk in dispatching with him. This was after I had said "I don't give money to adult men..." in answer to the tacit question posed by mechanism of the guy having said something like "Sorry, man," and then the girl having echoed it, which imparted a certain momentum whereby the ball just seemed to have bounced to me.

The skeezer knew that I was going to say something like that, if I were to say anything. He had tried me a few times in the 4 years that I have been playing at the Lilly Pad.

"So, you choose to sleep on the ground in the cold and the rain; and your point?" I said, as soon as the skeezer was out of earshot.

"I know, It's a life choice, that's all it is," said the young lady.

Sunday Morning, after sunup. Saturday night's 10 dollar tip jar was sobering. There were just a lot of people who were not spending money. It just may be that they are all broke and in town attending some kind of seminars aimed at helping them to grow rich.

I had gotten to the Lilly Pad at about 10:45 PM, and played for a couple hours, never seeing the couple who were traveling by van from California to Toronto, but having played at near my top level, expecting them to walk up any second.

The tourists were probably all of one mind in not believing in tipping, and the 10 dollars that I eeked out, after having rushed to get out there, was probably the result of my putting a lot of effort into playing and getting 10 of them to buck the herd and throw "Tom Petty" a dollar.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Up Against It

So, it is Friday.

I counted 39 bucks last night, as I sat on the couch after having returned at the hour of about 3:45 AM, having played until the clock struck 3:09, and then having hung out, outside the Quartermaster, as I sipped coffee just hot enough to melt small chunks of Reese's Dark peanut butter cups.

I practice doing "quick rough sketches from memory"
The oil used in those cups is not soy, and there is no milk in "dark" chocolate, so I have given approval to myself to consume one (1) unit, per night with a cup of coffee. This is the only "sucrose" that I consume the whole day long, and it gives me a rush that I have described using the parlance of hardcore drug addicts, in previous posts.

I spent 77 cents on Harold, $1.14 for the Reese's cup, before making a beeline for the apartment, so I made 41 bucks; on a night when it could have been 61, had not a well dressed, well spoken man, who was also well lit, and who listened and conversed for almost an hour during which the music that I was playing for his benefit attracted only a couple other tip dollars, and who fumbled in his pockets thereafter (his loose cargo pants style pockets that must have looked like cornucopias to the couple of skeezers who had momentarily parked themselves next to him, a couple times) and then started to say what I paraphrase as "Aw, shucks, where is that 20 dollar bill that I wanted to leave you?"

He apologized for being so drunk that he had forgotten having spent his money in the bars.

"At least you got something for it, and didn't lose it; or have your pocket picked by one of those skeezers that sat next to you...that's what I call them..." I said, which led to a discussion on the topic of skeezers, during which I became convinced that the guy had sincerely thought that he had his money.

He may have realized after checking the pocket where he always keeps his money (and who doesn't have a pocket where they always keep their money?) which happened to have been on the side of his body closest to the skeezers, that he had indeed been had by one of the shoe shine guys, who had tried his shoe shine hustle on the guy, technically right on top of myself, who had already played music for the guy, and was in the middle of doing more of.

This was an older, smallish black guy, who gave the guy the Shoe Shine Lite version of the hustle, omitting the hand shaking and the welcoming to the City of New Orleans from none other than the official random drunken local slob, who was "born and raised" there.

And he didn't sell the shoe shine hustle very well, and I thought I heard a little protest from the guy after the tourist had handed him something, before returning the rest of the wad (including my never to come tip) into the loose side pocket of something which wound up facing the spot the hustler decided to sit and rest a bit at; after confirming that the tourist wouldn't "mind" if he did.
He didn't mind his money, either, perhaps. And I think he was embarrassed to admit that he had been gotten by a second tier, B-grade shoe shine hustler. H' e had handed me his business card at one point, and it bespoke of more savvy than that. But, he had been drunk; and he might be back tonight.

It is 9:53 PM, right now...

I talked for about 20 minutes to this young couple I met outside the Quartermaster as I sipped coffee.

I first noticed a thin girl who was skinny enough that it made her look tall by perspective, and I noticed how she had beamed a smile and spoken to a guy, whom I would have thought was a skeezer, except he didn't try to skeeze the pretty, black haired girl with almost Sinead O' Connor length hair which was jet black.

She and her husband, a young guy with long hair who soon emerged from the store, were traveling by van from California to Toronto and were "taking their time," as evidenced by their having just chosen to drive into New Orleans after seeing it on a sign.

They landed right at the Quartermaster, and I can now understand the wide eyed wonderment and fascination and lack of a reflex to be on guard against skeezers, that the girl, who had a British accent exuded.

She had immediately asked me about my guitar.

I was their first encounter with "New Orleans," I thought later.

We talked for a while on a variety of topics and they promised to stop by tonight to check me out, after I promised that I would be there from 1 minute ago right now, until "after 2."
Off I go...