Friday, September 29, 2017

Weak And Famished

The feverish feeling that set in Tuesday, when I was just barely able to donate plasma (after reading the thermometer, the intake nurse consulted some kind of chart before continuing) turned worse Wednesday and, after blogging from the Uxi Duxi that evening, I returned home to lie down and shiver while sweating profusely the whole night into Thursday.
I looked through a bag of first aid type stuff that was with the rest of Travis' belongings and found some Tylenol with Oxycodone, took a couple and then started drinking hot tea, in between lying down feeling too hot with a blanket, but too cold without one, and sweating enough to soak through my clothing and leave a spot on the couch.
It was hot enough outside Thursday (and I hadn't had the strength to get up and flip on the A/C) that it must have been over 80 degrees in my place, yet, I felt cold.
I couldn't think of what the adage was about starving a fever or feeding it. But it was pretty much a mute point, as I was just about out of food.
Thursday evening, I was feeling well enough to take a hot shower and change into dry clothes. I still had time to make it to the dollar stores to spend the 4 dollars and change, that was all I had, on a couple cans of cat food, a gallon of spring water, a packet of coffee singles, and a one dollar bottle of aspirin. I was about 15 cents short, but the cashier let me slide.
I walked back to the apartment feeling much better, and realizing that Rose and Ed would be getting their money a couple hours from then, and would be able to give me the 5 bucks that they borrowed; provided they remember lending it to me.  This would be my only salvation, as far as being able to equip my spotlight with batteries, then and take the trolley to the Lilly Pad.
Lilly will begin to worry if she doesn't see me on a Friday night.
I would hopefully make at least enough for a bus pass, so I could donate plasma, and reap the bonus of my 7th visit this month.
I would have gone today, and almost did, but one more day of recovery from the flu won't hurt.

Busking would depend upon me finding Rose and Ed and getting the 5 bucks, so I wouldn't be playing under dim lights.
It was early in the month when I lent it to them,  and it was most likely they who called several times again throughout the month; when I hadn't answered, because I didn't have money to lend.
I suppose the decent thing would have been to at least answer and tell them politely that I had no money -the plasma place had short changed me on a technicality, or I had had a 10 dollar night of busking, or whatever.
Hard Boiled Dreams
A lot of things goes through a man's mind when it is boiling at 102 degrees or so.
Thursday afternoon, I had a strange dream...
I was riding in a speedboat the size of a yacht.
It was being driven by a black guy, who shouted something like "Yeah, that's right!" as we pulled out, past a bunch of onlookers. I had explained to someone that he had yelled that to imply that he knew that, to a lot of people, a black guy piloting a yacht was an anomaly; but he was recognizing this prejudice by yelling that.
But then I looked to see a guy who resembled Tim, my caseworker, shaking his head, as if to imply that it had been racist of me to say that.
And then the speedboat went up on land and over kind of an island, following a V shaped groove that was kind of like a bob-sled track, before we plummeted down a slope (giving the sensation similar to, but not as intense as the "roller coaster" dream or the "elevator cable snapping" one) and back into the water after narrowly missing a rock that was in the track but which the captain avoided.
Then, I was at the country club where I had worked as a kid, and Jim O' Leary, the golf professional who was my boss back then was there, along with his assistants as well as his daughters and his wife, whom I all saw regularly then, and they had all aged, commensurate with it being 2017.
I felt like they were going to take me to task for the results that my life had produced to this point.
Jim had been a mentor to my teen-aged self and had tried to instill in me the qualities of morality, honesty, decency, hard work, professionalism, etc., and that "our attitude towards life will determine life's attitude towards us," for one thing, and that "the customer is the boss; the customer hires and fires; the customer gives you a raise or cuts your hours, etc."
I'm sure that it was his hope that he was preparing me, along with the other youths that he employed over the summers, to go out and live productive, successful and exemplary lives.
One particular other kid that I worked with; went on to get some kind of computer degree and made enough money to eventually buy a bunch of land in Florida and run a golf school for children and adults -a definite O' Leary success story.
But, in the dream, Jim and crew disappeared to somewhere, leaving me standing there alone in the pro shop that hadn't changed much since I was 15, wondering if they had washed their hands of me and had left the room without having even greeted me, as a gesture of disapproval. I wondered if I should have taken the bull by the horns and gone right up to him and extended a hand to him, proud of myself and my accomplishments and ready to fill him in on the details, and to answer any one of his typical questions like: "So, how is the world a better place because you've lived?"
I woke up from that dream, drenched in sweat, Thursday afternoon.
I wondered if Jim O' Leary had just passed away; perhaps even when I was having the dream. I did some math and estimated that he would be right around 80 years old now.
I wonder if he would appreciate it if I wrote to him, now 40 years later. I'm a street musician in New Orleans, sure, but I can picture Jim saying "You should never be ashamed of who or what you are, as long as your motives are pure" or, maybe working the customer into it somehow...
Friday Afternoon, September 28th
The people at Sacred Heart Apartments who get money on the first of every month have gotten it already; because the 1st falls on a Sunday.
It was easy to tell, by the crowd gathered in front of the building as midnight drew near, exactly which day of the month it was; and what was going on with the cars pulling up after midnight and the brief exchanges between their drivers and the residents. And the residents coming and going on borrowed bikes at 3 AM.
I always get different looks from them that are hard to read. In a lot of cases they ignore me in a way that suggests that the only reason they don't ignore me other times is because they are not within an hour of getting their 742 dollars; and are just trying to skeeze me. When they are within hours of getting what they see as a fortune, they don't feel the need to speak to, nor even see, me.
I feel kind of weak. It is 7:30 PM. This is the kind of flu that will seem like it has gone away and the fever has broken, perhaps in the morning, only to then overtake you towards the end of the day.
I haven't had a flu like this since February, 2005.
Getting the 5 bucks from Rose and Ed would make it easy to busk tonight; and, who knows, it could always be a 60 or 80 dollar night; though I don't feel like I have the energy to produce that much.
But, I don't know what would be more draining, busking for 3 hours, or having a pint of plasma taken from me tomorrow, for perhaps the same 40 bucks.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Rolling The Dice

Here I Am, Wednesday Evening
I only made 4 dollars Monday night, playing from around 11:30 until 2 AM.
The late start was due to having seen Christina Friis for the first time in months, singing at the corner of St. Louis and Royal streets.
A hug turned into "Can you stay until the end of the next song?"
Which I did, plucking a string on my guitar to ascertain that I was in tune with her, which turned into me taking my guitar out at the end of the song and, intending to just play a short little fanfare on the thing and the harmonica, which turned into me "doing a song" using her microphone setup.
It was a bit of a shock, following her world-class vocal with "Dancing In The Moonlight," by King Harvest chosen at random from the dozen songs that I've been mired in for months.
I was thinking that Christina might add pitch perfect backup vocals to it, and that the few tourists (it was a Monday night) who were listening to her might recognize the tune, and appreciate a little diversion.
I had run into David the Water Jug player (who had been in a mood so foul that he wasn't even being patronizing and thanking me profusely for having deigned to stop and visit him) and we had smoked weed.

It was good enough weed that I had that weed-inspired ideal notion that the whole scene might become as in an Elvis Presley movie, and people would be singing along and dancing in the street, and that it might become one of the bright spots of Christina's evening.
That stuff only happens in Elvis Presley movies; and I've smoked enough weed in the past to be able to see through the smoke screen by now, so I had tempered my enthusiasm in that regard.

It was quite a lesson to me to follow her in singing, as stated, though. I realized (right in the middle of the song when I was already comitted) that just hitting the right notes is not good enough, there are so many other elements that go into vocal style that Christina has mastered. I must be quite a drop off from her, I thought, and then switched to the harmonica solo as a means of saving face.

The "night" passed relatively quickly at the Lilly Pad.
I started out with the same Beatles song, aware of how much work I need to do in order to come closer to Christina's level.
I had only seen one dollar go into my jar, and so was not quite pleasantly; but less disappointingly; surprised to find 4 bucks in my basket after a couple hours. Hey that's cat food and a dollar and a half box of instant coffee "singles..." I rationalized. Plus, the experience with Christina was priceless.

I had gotten a text from Travis around 9 PM, as I was outside the Uxi Duxi, finishing up what I had started inside the place.
He wanted me to grab his Amazon "Firestick" and a remote from out of the stuff that he is still keeping at my place. He is going to hole up in the hostel, smoking out and watching movies, I reasoned.
What Will "Something" Be?
He is going to give me "something" for storing that stuff.
He originally offered 100 bucks, but I told him that he didn't have to give me that much.
"Just give me a tip, if you liked my performance of storing your stuff," I had told him, kind of tongue in cheek.
He later told me: "I already have something in mind that I'm going to give you, as the 'tip.'"
This will come, along with 50 bucks worth of food, on October 10th, when he gets back from some video gaming convention in New York. He is a "display-er" or "exhibitor" or something, and has a photo ID badge designating him as such. I saw the badge when I was digging through his stuff, looking for the Firestick, which he had said was "either in the blue bag or in the white bag in the blue bag." It was in the white bag in the blue bag.
I really hope that he doesn't present me with a pot pipe, or other smoking paraphernalia for storing his stuff, even if it's a 50 dollar glass pipe. Or his amplifier, which weighs about 30 pounds.
It has "Travis" written all over it, in that, I'm sure he got it for free out of some dumpster, and everything is wrong with it. The jack has to be wiggled before the guitar signal goes through at all, and all the knobs have dead spots like where the volume won't increase as you turn it, but then will spike up to a much too loud level when rotated to a certain point and wiggled.
There is one (particular) dent in the cabinet that looks like it was done with a sledgehammer -no beer bottle thrown onstage could have done it, and, when you pick the thing up and move it around, you can hear loose things clunking and rattling around freely inside the thing.
I plugged his electric guitar into it; after he had warned me that it has to be turned up "incredibly loud" in order to get a good distorted sound.
That made me wonder if he just doesn't understand how "pre" and "post" gains work, in order to achieve a good sound at a low volume.
I really need to mention to him that I have investigated the thing and found it to be a piece of junk; just in case he was indeed thinking of bestowing it upon me in lieu of the original hundred bucks offered.
It has been my experience that Travis starts out with grand notions and promising the moon on a silver platter, but then over the course of time begins to seek for ways to, well, chintz out on the deal. I am the same way, though.
"Am I the Ramen Noodle equivalent of what might pass as a friend, these days?" -Daniel McKenna
I used to go into Wal-Mart with like 300 bucks, back when I delivered pizza and slept in my car and, at one point would have my cart loaded with items; then I would start to talk myself out of them, one by one ....I can make one of these with stuff I might find in a dumpster; I might find a used one of these at the Goodwill for much less; I might eventually get a phone that has a stopwatch feature, so why buy this one...etc.
What would be an excellent tip would be the electric guitar.
He has one. It plays great; with no "Travis" spots on the fret board at all.
Its body has been spray-painted black. It has one pickup and no volume knob (it's Travis' after all) and is just pegged at full volume. And the neck stock is just plain unvarnished wood with no brand name on it. And, in typical Travis fashion, he had gotten it for like 15 bucks. It's definitely at least a 50 dollar guitar, and I would love to have it.
I can only wait and see what he tries to foist upon me; and then maybe ask him for the guitar instead if it isn't that.
I worry that he is the type who attaches sentimental value to things though, and might not want to part with it. I seem to recall that when his place had been robbed, he was lamenting more over the sentimental value of the stuff that had been stolen. "...I mean, I hardly paid anything for the stuff, but..." Of course he hardly paid anything.
I had a curious and slightly disturbing thought the other day: Given that Travis entraps himself with the cheapest, most tawdry, bargain basement, fire sale, left on the sidewalk, free to a good home, type of stuff; does that extend to myself as his friend and sometimes roommate? Am I the Ramen Noodle equivalent of what might pass as a friend, these days? ...what do you expect of the guy, I mean, he's one of Travis' friends...?

So, Tuesday, I was again scrambling to make it to the plasma place before my day pass expired, should I be turned down and stuck in Gretna with 23 cents in my pocket.
I asked the 114 driver if indeed the 115 followed pretty closely behind it.
The last time I had taken the 114 and had gotten off and walked about a mile and a half towards the plasma place, the 115 went past me just as I was getting to the stop where I would have gotten off it. I had walked an extra mile and a half for nothing.
It is 4:34 PM, and I have just gotten on the thing (the 115).
He said that it did. A half hour later, still sitting there, doubts were forming in my mind.
I got to Octapharma at around 5:30 PM, where I waited with bated breath as they took my temperature. I was feeling slightly feverish. If they deferred me, I would have to get on a bus before 6:32 PM, and take my broke ass back home.
Then I would, I guess, have to walk to the Lilly Pad.
It would be the first time in about a year that I wouldn't even have bus fare to go out and busk.
But, I had taken Sunday night off, had only made 30 bucks the rest of the weekend, and this was after having taken Thursday night off, due to feeling sick after my plasma sale, when the place had been so busy and chaotic that, I wondered if they were using the same vessels for multiple donors.
Travis and I both contracted some kind of flu-like symptoms, with the onsets within an hour of our having been drained.
The feeling was still with me when I woke up this (Tuesday) afternoon around 1:30 and then maybe a little less a couple hours later. I really rolled the dice by going there broke and feverish.
I want to make my next visit the last one for a while. But that will depend, probably, upon how broke I get.
I've got one more bonus of $20 coming, for having made my 7th visit within September, if I go one more time before Sunday.
Wednesday Night, September 27th
It's about 8:30 PM.
Next Wednesday, I have an appointment with the Ear Nose and Throat clinic that happens to be right around the corner from Sacred Heart Apartments, 2 blocks away.
I have Tim, my caseworker to thank for having made that whole thing happen. Who knows how many months would have passed before I got around to it myself. My ears have been stuffed up and/or tingling or ringing for about 3 months now.
It certainly might be kratom related, and maybe the ear nose and throat people have at least heard of kratom, unlike the general practitioners.
It seems odd, pointed out Tim, that so much research had gone into the banning of such things as the "bath salts" that people were smoking and getting some kind of high off of; yet Googling "kratom" puts you on the road to nowhere.

Monday, September 25, 2017

I Didn't Work Sunday Night

Hi there, blog readers!
I took Sunday night off, even though I had an all day bus pass that would have given me a free ride to the Lilly Pad and back.

It was after 10 PM when I got back from the Uxi Duxi; to the apartment that was to be inspected the next (to)day.
I had Travis' TV set up and ready to go in the living room at the click of a button.

I decided to put a good cleaning on the apartment, and spend time practicing the Mel Bay Guitar Method pieces. It is really a goal of mine to be able to play the little songs "perfectly."
When a student, one needs to be like a shark and move on from one piece to the next before mastering it. This allows the student to see how some of the techniques introduced in the song that isn't quite mastered carry over and have laid a foundation for the next piece. Then, when you go back to "review," you will find that it has "sunk in," and you can play it more fluidly than if you had stayed on it, seeking perfection.

In my case, I had "moved on" from those pieces to a 35 year career in music and am coming back to still gain something from them.

It has been said about some good players that they can make one note sound good. Or that they don't have to play fast because they are playing all the right notes, which sound good at any speed.
I wound up doing something which I haven't done since 1988.

Back then, I often recorded in my car, sitting in the back seat with the microphone set up somewhere. One time, I was periodically flipping on the AM radio to check the progress of a Patriots game.
Then I started to write little musical pieces based upon whatever came out of the radio the few seconds that I had it on. For example, if the announcer said: "And the Patriots are trying to climb their way out of a hole, here" or something; I would start a chord progression and sing about it.
Last night, I had one of those true crime type of shows on, that are ubiquitous on the free channels that I get on Travis's TV. I was able to compose a few verses about "Jennifer the homicidal postal worker," for example. This is good practice, and I actually find that the sound of the TV, even at a low volume helps me feel like I'm not breaking the icy silence of Sacred Heart Apartments with a pickax to the foreheads of my neighbors.

One observation that I made was that the "tone" of television shows, back when "I Love Lucy" was made, is a stark contrast with the stuff that is being produced now. People's roles seemed to be more clearly defined. Not that people weren't raping others and then throwing their bodies in the paths of oncoming trains, to make it look like a suicide back in the 1950's; you just wouldn't know it from flipping on your black and white TV.
I was up until about 4 AM, watching one true crime show after another.

Wax Deep

When I woke up to see that it was 8:30 AM, I had to force myself to sit up and prepare for my doctor's appointment.
I told the doctor about my ears being stuffed up and or ringing for the past 3 months at least.
She set an appointment for me with the Ear Nose and Throat specialists.
I told her (a lady who looked to be in her 60's) that three doctors had already looked in my ears and told me that I had wax in them and that they had prescribed three different kinds of antibiotic ear drops, with different chemicals in each; and that "they" had eventually concluded that the problem was in my "inner ear," where drops cannot penetrate to, past the ear drum. And then that the whole matter had been shelved after my ears cleared up to around 90%, which had been good enough for me to resume my life of busking. This had occurred seemingly as a result of the "Claritin" type of allergy medication which had been a departure from the ear drop method of treatment.
I guess general practitioners can't be expected to know every part of the human body in detail, and hence, the specialists, but their knowledge of ears seems to be only wax deep.
But, here it is, Monday night. I am outside the Uxi Duxi, by the Beachcorner bar (shown) and have to decide if I want to go to the Lilly Pad to put in a few hours.
It seems like it should be a no-brainer that, with no cash at all, and only a 24 hour bus pass to my name, I should go out and play.
Travis' cat, Beast, is still residing at my place. She stays in hiding while Harold is inside, only coming down from atop the refrigerator or from under the bed when the coast is clear of him.
I suppose that Harold, who is bigger, is also stronger because of spending half of his time outside.
His having come home bearing the scars from fights with other cats kind of suggests that Harold would be the tougher of the two cats. He has attacked Beast, swatting her in the face to run her away from either the air conditioned spot where she was reclining, or the food dish.
Harold seems to make a point of eating at least a bite from Beast's bowl, and using her litter box, even if it's only a bit of urine -the litter box with the plastic liner that makes it almost impossible for a cat to bury its business without getting its claws snagged in it.
One Fell Swoop
I assume that I passed the inspection. I might get a new air conditioner out of it.
I kind of purposely waited for this time of the inspection, thinking that when the inspector (who was a middle aged black lady) came in, I would have the place at about 80 degrees. This wasn't hard because, unless I continually click my unit on and off so that the compressor comes on and just let it run, the room will wind up at around 80 degrees.
When the inspector walked in and immediately asked: "Is your AC working?" I knew I had the desired effect..the local maintenance guy kind of stammered: "I thought you liked it hot..."
To which I said, yeah I do, but I don't think I could make it 70 degrees if I ran the thing all day...
Hopefully that will pass inspection and get me a new AC/Heater in one fell swoop.
Vivian Was Never Seen Again Alive...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Have You Shared A Harmonica In The Past 24 Hours?

  • Travis Over Anger
  • 10 Dollar Saturday
  • Yearly Inspection Tomorrow
  • Doctor Appointment Tomorrow
I woke up at 4 in the afternoon, this Sunday. This was after almost having gotten up and started my day at around noon. I could have put the Saints game on Travis' TV and watched just as much the little band of rolling updates on the bottom to keep track of the Patriots game which was being played simultaneously.

It was depressing to have missed those 4 hours, and to see the sky dimming already, ushering in a night when I'll have to go out and busk, after spending my last dime on batteries for the spotlight.

I need to spend maybe a good hour tidying up the apartment. I'm thinking of shoving a bunch of stuff in a closet, clearing tables and the bed in the process, then just cleaning the surfaces of the tables, making the bed and then sweeping and mopping the floor.

I'm almost out of food, with 11 days left before any food stamps come.

I seem to recall from years past, the 20 bucks or whatever that my mom sends me on my birthday about 3 weeks from now, having saved me from abject poverty; and hearing the "It'll start to pick up in October" mantra, spoken by other French Quarter workers.

I haven't been the best steward of my affairs the past month. I obviously would have done things differently had I been my myself.
I tried not to do things like take a night off the times that Travis did pay me in food, or when he gave me the 20 bucks. But it did have an effect on me; not being able to meditate and focus upon what is most important and plan accordingly each morning.
Being passed a bowl of weed first thing in the morning, while a friendly gesture, is disruptive on the whole. I got to where I was turning down the offer, after Travis had stepped out of the shower and was lighting his out-of-the-shower, I guess, bowl.
He would still talk non-stop for a half hour after he smoked, in the way that pot makes some people do.
I have the same issue, and can remember situations where I was smoking with people who wanted to become absorbed in whatever was on TV after the pipe had gone around, and had to shush me because I was rambling, with one thought leading to another.
That might be Travis' whole deal right there. He stays stoned most of the time and he talks non-stop most of the time; that could be the reason.
Last night, as we started to walk Royal Street, he started to talk about the statue of the "Confederacy of Dunces" guy that is on Canal Street, not far from the Burgundy House hostel where he is staying.
It was apropos of nothing, but it was a talk that he had given me once in the past. It had spanned more than an hour then.
I recognized some of the very same phrases. "Most people walk by that stature and probably think that it's a stature of some bum, or something, but..."
And then he started to re-tell the whole story of the book, the writer, the play, the fact that there hasn't been a "Confederacy of Dunces" movie yet because they want to make sure they do it justice.
I had to stop him.
"So, what made you think of the statue, anyway?" I asked.
He kind of laughed as if he realized that he had started talking about it out of the blue.
"It's just that..." he seemed to want to give his spiel about it so badly; like it would make him feel great just to re-tell it.
"You already told me the whole story."
He still wanted to tell it again.
I finally got him off the subject by telling him that I was going to read the book someday, and I didn't want it spoiled.
A young guy showed up at the Lilly Pad last (Saturday) night and listened to me for a while, but didn't throw anything in my jar. Then, he wanted to play my guitar. "I understand that some musicians are kind of picky about that, so it's OK, if I can't," he said.
I told him that I sometimes let tourists play "if they, at least, throw a tip in my jar."
"Oh, I don't want any money; you can keep all the tips," he said pretentiously, as if this guy who had no money would make my some by playing my instrument.
"I play guitar and harmonica too, but my stuff is at the apartment," he added.
Since his "apartment" turned out to be nearby, I figured that he could just go there and play his own guitar, if he was so in the mood to play.
He wanted to play mine probably because he thought he could impress me with his skills.
I didn't let him play.
Then, he wanted to play my harmonica, while I played the guitar.
This is when I started to think he was mentally ill. There is no way I would ever put the 40 dollar harmonica back in my own mouth after some random person had played it. Not even after boiling it for 5 minutes.  Especially if they played the way I do which can cause lips to blister, which rubs off skin cells, and in the case of the Marine Band harps with wooden combs that swell and jut out, might cut my lip, producing some blood.
At the very least, he would be blowing his saliva, along with whatever whiskey he was drinking, into my harmonica. And for what? So I could wind up saying "wow, you're really good on the harmonica?" So I could keep whatever tips went into my jar while he wailed away on my harp?
If he is that good, he wouldn't be stopping to ask a street musician if he could play his harmonica.
He was probably about 20 years old, and had wild curly hair and was dressed in a way that you couldn't tell if he was a wealthy guy who was kicking back and going casual, or was broke.
I made the mistake of telling him that, if he went to his apartment and got his guitar, I would jam with him when he came back.
He came back and I began to play and he played along with what I was going to do anyways.
I was still conscious of the tourists walking past and trying to do my normal set without making any allowances for the kid, whose guitar had been strung with mismatching strings. Nothing say's "broke skeezer" like a guitar that had an e string where a b string should be. Was it a nice guitar just kicking back and going casual?
Then, as he drank off the pint bottle of cheap whiskey at his side, he began to improvise (I thought) lyrics over the chords that I was playing, which were to my own songs that already had their own words.
I kept an open mind, realizing the delicacy of the process of creating art, and I knew that if I had the attitude of "this guy sucks," I would be feeding into that by not supporting him, musically or in an attitudinal way. So, I played my best, while he sang with the growl of those who are trying to sing too loudly.
He was only 20 years old, after all, and had showed me some of the respect due a musician who has been playing 30 years longer than him; his desire to impress me fell into that category.
The bottom line was that there weren't any tips going into my jar, not when he was "improvising" lyrics and I was playing my best accompaniment, nor when I was playing and singing one of my songs and he was trying to play lead guitar. At one point he kept repeating: "Here we go again..."

Some of his other lyrics made me wonder if he was mocking me. They weren't as transparent as if he were singing: "I'm a loser who wears a black hat and plays on the street and my life is going nowhere (here we go again; here we go again?)" but I wondered just what he was trying to say, before learning that he had just been parroting existing songs.
But then, after a few more emboldening gulps of his cheap whiskey, he took the lead and began to play a Sublime song. I recognized the song but asked him if it were some other band after he finished "Dude, that's Sublime!" he said, incredulous that I hadn't known that.
Then, things went downhill after I, once again was unable to gracefully get him to leave.
"I need to get back to work," I said.
He looked at me as if stunned. "We were rocking out!" he protested. At least one of us was... I thought.
I told him I hadn't been planning upon playing whatever the next song was that he had started (It was some "bona-fide" busking classic like "Black Hole Sun," by Sound Garden -a song I like, but I just didn't feel in need of a black hole sun coming to washing away the rain in my present mood).
Travis showed up at that point, whereupon the kid hastened his packing up and leaving, perhaps thinking that Travis was some sort of "muscle" who hung around nearby me and was there to assist in situations when I have decided that a half hour of jamming without producing any tips was enough and I wanted to go back to my solo thing.
"God, he was doing those songs that like every little punk with a guitar does..." lamented Travis.
It turned out that the kid had not been playing his own original music, and even had been "freestyling" the lyrics of established bands over the top of the chords to my original songs. Travis had been listening from afar throughout.
"That's even worse," I said.
But, the kid went away angrily and decided to set up about 100 feet from me and continue to play.

I wanted to tell him that my whole "hustle" was to be this guy who sits by himself, and plays his own music because he is lost in his own thoughts, and has perhaps been relegated to the fringe by a world in which few understand him.
People expect different things from a duo. For one thing; that they would be kindred souls in some way; having decided to team up because of shared outlooks on life and because the whole is greater than the sum of the parts; and that they had gotten together at least once to rehearse and that they both admired and had been influenced by the same bands (like Sublime) and on top of it all, they are best friends forever.
I met up with Travis after I finished at about 2:30 AM, having made only 10 bucks the whole night.
He said that the kid with the guitar had gotten in his face and told him "You messed up my gig; it wasn't until you came along that he decided he didn't want to play anymore." then he made some kind of threats; but by then he would have consumed the whole pint of whiskey and all I can hope for is that, if he indeed does have an apartment in the area of the Lilly Pad, he will show up sober and I can explain the above to him.
I think he lacked the courage to go out and busk on his own. Maybe after jamming with me and not being booed off the street by people, and then finishing his whiskey, he would have gotten what he wanted out of the evening.
I just don't want him to come back tonight and want to smash my guitar.
Now It's Nine
I'm almost out of food, having a big bag of Basmati rice, a lot of oatmeal and, of course beans; always beans -the last food to be cooked at the end of a month, when one is hungry enough to appreciate that beans aren't that bad.
Going out and making some money and perhaps making my peace with the kid who lives in the area would help out my situation.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Yearly Introspection

  • 20 Dollar Friday
  • Travis Pissed Off
  • Inspection Of Apartment Monday (25th)
I suppose that this is a good time for introspection and soul searching....
OK, done.
Guest Warning
Dear resident, began the form letter, into which had been inserted Travis Blaine on the blank line after, "according to our records," and before "is nearing the end of his allotment of 10 days per month..."
The notice was on the door when Travis and I got to the place last (Friday the 22nd) evening. Travis was visibly perturbed, at me I assume, yet he projected his anger quite transparently, upon his former roommate who had kicked him out of his last place for being "too old" (at 35).

"I can't believe I have to sit out in the heat for a couple hours when I feel like shit, just because some asshole decided I was too old..." he said.

It was arguably I who "made him" sit out in the heat for a couple hours. I must have known that he was suffering and my actions were clearly callous.

Travis texted me right as I was within a couple blocks of the Uxi Duxi, headed there for what would amount to less than 3 hours to have a shot of kratom or two and use their wi-fi to blog.
Kratom Bar ghost (right)

I had brought my power cord (a recent innovation) so that I could plug into the wall while inside, and then would have a fully charged battery, should I choose to remove myself to one of the outside tables after the place closed at 8 PM and continue to blog, treating my readers to maybe 5 full hours of well thought out thoughts...
I Do It For You, Dear Reader
"Can you come and let me in, I feel like shit and just want to lie down" said the text.
"I'm just getting to the Uxi Duxi," I returned to him, hoping that he would tell me not to bother. He should know by now that it has become my "routine" to go to the kratom bar as soon as I have woken up, on a typical day, at around 1:30 PM, and had had coffee and had cleaned the kitchen and maybe had run through one of the pieces in the Mel Bay Guitar Method books.
I suppose if you look at a picture of a grassy knoll long enough, you will see things, but, doesn't it look like a young woman, half shadow/half real, carrying a glass by the handle? With her left booted foot extended? (left)
I go to the corner across from The Holy Ground Irish pub, to wait on the trolley, where I might light up a cigarette, just to draw a bum, so I can be sarcastic at him; who might walk over and say "Excuse me.." only to be cut off in the middle of it by:
"I don't give away cigarettes!"
How 'bout that; I've got you all figured out before you even open your mouth...
This enrages some skeezers, who might counter with: "I wasn't going to ask you for a damned cigarette!"

"Really? Do you lie much?"

I realize that this is a manifestation of the anger that I harbor towards myself over not having managed to quit smoking cigarettes, once and for all, yet.

It pisses me off to be constantly plunking down 7 dollars and change for a pack of the things, realizing that some nights I go all the way to the Lilly Pad to sit and play for a couple hours, with the pack of cigarettes and a bus pass being all have to show. And I vent this anger upon skeezers.

Why give away free cigarettes at my expense to someone who didn't do any thing except walk around all day saying: "Excuse me; can I have a cigarette?"

But still, the expense is right at the top of the list along with the possibility of dying of lung cancer, as the main aggravation that comes from being a smoker. Cigarette skeezers are in the top 5.

I then de-trolley near the GNC, where I spend $3.12 on a Creatine Monohydrate
drink, and another 53 cents on a little pouch of "Energy and Metabolism," powder. I told Travis about the packets of powder that are now 2 for 98 cents; 130 calories each with the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and stuff like saw palmetto, choline and boron. Come to think of it, though; maybe Travis already gets enough "bore on" in his regular diet. *rimshot*
"I heard that those powders aren't good for you," said Travis after I had turned him on to a way to get 260 calories for a dollar, as well as the means to recover from being drained of plasma in short order.
"That's funny, I've heard that living off dollar store cup of soup, washed down with a soda from the machine at Sacred Heart Apartments* was bad for you..."
*the 12 oz. cans are only 85 cents, so Travis holds off on spending $1.09 anywhere else.
"Get rid of the pot plant, make the bed, maybe vacuum the rug; and try to do something about the smell of cat shit from the poor creature that spends its existence going from the windowsill to the food dish to the litter box and then back...(top photo)"
This powder, I pour into the Bang creatine drink, which I then use to dilute my shot of kratom.

I then sit and work on this blog before going back to the apartment just long enough to grab my guitar and gear and head directly to the Lilly Pad.
It's a routine that I took years to perfect.

This must be a glorious time for Travis the hermit -when he has the whole place to himself until I return at 2 AM or later..

But, here he was texting me because he didn't feel good and he wanted me to drop everything and run back home to let him in, where he would be when I returned; when I might want to record some guitar tracks or run through a new song so that I don't bore myself by playing the same dozen that I do every night.

But, of course, he would then be lying down, feeling miserable and might even have the audacity to ask me: "Dude, could you really not play the guitar now, I've got a splitting headache."

I really just decided, that my blogging and my shot of kratom and basically my whole life the way I'm living it was more important than babying the guy.

He had enervated me the night before by asking me: "Where did you put the big bag of dry food?"
The implication was that it was "our" big bag of food; even though he had handed it to me, along with the 20 dollars (the only cash that I've seen so far from his now 20 day stay) when he had come to the Uxi Duxi a few days ago.

So, he was, in effect, just making me be the one to tote the big bag of cat food back to the apartment, where it would be used to feed both of our cats. I suppose Harold the cat is still coming out ahead on the deal by getting his half...

I texted him, suggesting that he could call Bobby, in apartment C207, and ask him if he could crash there for a few hours. Bobby's air conditioner works fine and he keeps it about 68 degrees in there and Travis does spend 50 bucks a week on weed with the guy.

"I'm not going to call Bobby, just let me know when you're on your way back," he texted. The poor guy is too socially awkward to ask a favor of anyone.

"You could walk a block up the street and lay down in the park in the shade on the grass; if you feel so bad that you just have to lie down..."

"I walked all the way to Starbucks and their wireless wasn't working; and then to McDonald's where their wireless wasn't working; I'm not going to walk any more!"

I decided that Travis just needed to be a man and suffer through whatever it was.

The reason he walked was because he's too cheap to cough up $1.25 for a trolley ride, plus another quarter for the transfer back home.

He had donated plasma the day before (and gotten $50) and felt weak. So had I.

He hadn't helped his cause much by eating the cheapest junk food from the dollar store; as part of his "recovery effort."

Meanwhile, I had baked fish with broccoli and a can of peas on the side, and then had the creatine drink with the Mega Men vitamin powder added to it; and I feel well enough to be sitting and blogging now, one day later.

I feel guilty sitting on the couch next to him, consuming one of my healthy meals, as he suffers from heartburn 3 feet away. I had opened an Isopure high protein drink that I had gotten from GNC one night. "What is that stuff, anyway? (anywhey?)" he asked.
I told him what it was, and he kind of said "Hmm," in a way that was almost overtly suggesting that I give him a sample of it.

"Yeah, these are almost 4 bucks each, but it's a full day's worth of protein," I said. I hate it when skeezers use the "gee I'd love to try that," line; playing upon people's desire to turn others on to things that they themselves like. "Wow, these are good; I'm gonna have to start buying them!"
"Buying them...right..."

It's not my fault that he got heat stroke from being too cheap to ride the trolley, though he will regularly spend 50 bucks a week on pot; cutting corners everywhere else to facilitate that. And staying stoned 24/7.
He actually brought me the gift of a couple handfuls of sugar packets, all with the McDonald's golden arches on them the other night. It was touching, how thoughtful he had been; and I would never say "You brought me free sugar, big deal!" But, gee, thanks Travis, I think.

I was pretty sure that he wanted to get in the apartment because his weed was in there. He could have just taken a nap in the park, after all. He wanted to shut himself in, get high, and be in his own little world. And wanted me to drop whatever I was doing to come rescue him. I could then return to the Uxi Duxi to resume my day, just 2 hours behind schedule. What are friends for?

Friends are for saying things like: "You know, when I was getting stoned every day, my whole life kind of fell into disarray. I would smoke up and then start working on a poem or something, instead of making it to the food stamp place to straighten out my case, or to make an appointment with the doctor over my stuffed up and ringing ears. My apartment became cluttered and as disorganized as my mind was. It's amazing how, with the mental clarity that came after just 3 or 4 days off the stuff, I just jumped up one morning and cleaned my whole place, did my laundry and then went to the food stamp office where they were able to fix it so I would continue to get food money every month...Plus, it was making me paranoid and socially awkward to the point where I didn't want to go to the laundry room, in case I encountered anyone..."

So, Travis was mad, because I had stayed at the Uxi Duxi all the way up until closing. He didn't say anything as we walked to the apartment.

I was the one who had connected him with Dorise Blackman, his new landlady, whom he had handed hundreds of dollars, earlier that day, before grabbing a bunch of sugar packets from McDonalds (because he had to take care of me, also, I guess).

The notice on the door about my guest having fished his limit of days to stay there was timely. I was almost glad to kick him when he was down by passing it to him. They had him at "8 days." Not bad for a 20 day stint.

"How am I going to go and give plasma feeling this sick?" he lamented.

Where are you going to sleep Sunday through Wednesday (when Dorise said you could move in?) I didn't say.

I feel bad for the guy, because of the mess he has gotten himself into; but; for one thing, he only discovered the plasma place because of me; and now he is already counting his chickens before they hatch and making plans for the 50 dollars he might get next Tuesday. And that isn't so that he can give his friend Daniel any money; for all he's done for him -no; he's actually pissed off at the guy right now...

It is so he can insure himself of being able to go to New York to make some money, and then to transport some of his stuff back to his new apartment and, of course, to stay stoned on $15/gm. weed the whole time.

I guess it's part of the definition of being self centered that you don't realize you're self centered.
Like I have said. I don't even worry about him reading any of this. I don't believe he would ever check out this blog because he apparently has no interest at all in Daniel McKenna, nor any of his exploits, thoughts, opinions, artwork nor music only that he (Daniel) deems him to be very knowledgeable, cultured, and insightful, and an authority on a lot of things that one, ironically, wouldn't become an authority on by being cloistering away and staying high on pot his whole life.
He loves books; of course he loves books. He became angry when I started to tell him the plot of a Ken Follett novel that I just finished reading.

Most people would smile and say; "Ok, that's're gonna ruin it for me!," but Travis actually took a deep breath and looked off, as if struggling to control his anger, after I had told him more than just: "It's set in Denmark during World War II."

He loves movies. Of course he loves movies. John Waters, two thumbs up.
He loves Xbox type of games. Of course he loves Xbox type games.
I believe he sees other human beings as just other forms of characters that one might see on a screen, but one's who are harder to deal with; because they can actually physically touch you. I don't think he has learned how to cope with that.

Now, it is Saturday night. It's almost 10 PM, and I have the usual butterflies in the stomach over the prospect of busking.

I had only a 20 dollar Friday night, last night, but it was enough to pay for cigarettes, kratom, energy drink and bus pass; setting me up to go do it all again tonight.

And, I am that much closer to being able to record a CD.

I'm not going to rely upon the "magic" of capturing an inspired performance like lightning in a bottle.
I used to rely upon that, to a fault. It comes from too much Grateful Dead/jam bands where they are making up the music out of thin air and every so often play something that is better than anything they could have sat down and committed to sheet music. But, I don't have enough every so often-s to put together a full length CD.

That is my own log that I need to remove from my eye before I can see to remove the splinter from Travis'.

I'm working hard on the fundamentals of music; the things that can be practiced until they become repeatable; the songs in the Mel Bay Guitar Method books, one through three.

I sat and played through one piece for about 16 minutes the other afternoon (when Travis was gone; otherwise he would have felt that it was required of him to give an oral report about the little piece of music, and that would be all that would be heard for the last hour of the recording) and it took me that long before I had played one "just right." I trimmed away the rest of the session and wound up with a neatly played 35 second version of "In The Evening," from Mel Bay's book 1.

It is the type of thing that might find its way onto the CD, framed as background music behind spoken word, or in some other form.

I'm thinking about doing it like a documentary, with fake interviews of my roadies, managers, other musicians, etc, giving the story behind the songs, kind of thing. It's not original; but almost nothing is original in this day and age. Except my upcoming CD.
I want to be sure that Tanya Huang likes it, and that people like Brian Hudson tell me that they were pleasantly surprised, or at least "entertained" by it.
As far as Alex In California; he probably won't give me any address where I could mail one, or will tell me that has never played anything so crappy on his new stereo and is afraid the speakers might not be able to handle it...
Vocals will be the main focus. Tim, my caseworker came by and let me listen to some band that he has just discovered called: Japanese Breakfast. He likes them mainly because of the way the lead singer sings; so, yeah that was a heads-up to make vocals the main focus...

Friday, September 22, 2017

Have Travis And I Contracted Bundibugyo From Plasma Lab?

They were so busy at the Octapharma plasma place yesterday (Thursday, the 21st) with it being "bonus" time and all, that it was quite a chaotic scene.
Beast, Travis' cat, on my windowsill, from off of it has knocked every potted plant
It isn't just Travis and I that have accrued 6 visits to the place this month, and were in line to receive the "6x bonus," of $25, and dreamed of walking out of there with a crisp 50 dollar bill after an hour spent there.
There were so many people there that it took Travis, who had arrived at noon, more than 3 hours to go through the process.
He has weighed in at 180 pounds, but insists that the Octapharma scale is reading about 8 pounds "light." If anyone would jealously guard his every pound, and, not only own a scale but calibrate it against the one at the supermarket, it would be Travis.
Odd, that the scale would read about 8 pounds light... I'm sure that it's a safety net, of some kind, put in place by Octapharma, (which is a Swedish company) to compensate for donors who wear up to 8 pounds of clothing.
I had quite a start when they initially told me I weighed 129 pounds. I hadn't been that light since I was about 20 years old and hadn't discovered exercise and diet as a means of putting on lean muscle.
I had thought that, since I'm only 10 pounds shy of being able to donate more plasma and make more money, I might start to stuff lead in my boots (a bit more each time) and "gain" the weight that way.

But, yesterday's experience put a damper on my enthusiasm for anything like that. And plasma donation, in general. Not that it doesn't feel good to have helped save the lives of people who use plasma products, it just doesn't feel good enough to offset the symptoms of Bundibugyo virus...

I wonder what those ABBA looking strawberry blonds in the white lab coats, wearing eye protection, who speak English with cute accents think about their little operation in the Deep South, located in a ghetto.

I got there at around 5 PM.

The lady who weighed me and took my temperature and blood pressure and a drop of my blood to check its "protein level" had taken a couple minutes before yelling "Next!" between myself and the guy before me. She had slowly, and kind of blatantly wiped her area down with disinfectant then slowly put on a fresh pair of latex gloves.
Let me get some prejudices aired and out of the way.

Yes, I think that the nurses there, who are all African American, are suspicious of a white guy like myself who brings his laptop, and that they make a show of doing their jobs "correctly" in front of me -like wiping the receiver of the telephone at their station with disinfectant, even though they hadn't even spoken into it; because it's part of some kind of checklist that someone like myself might be ticking off on some report that will be sent to the home office in Sweden.

I'm pretty sure that there is a plasma place "where all the white people go," and it is probably the one that Rose and Ed go to that is in Metarie, a white area. So, Travis and my presence is an anomaly at the Gretna one, since we don't live in the nearby ghetto, and why wouldn't we just go to the one in Metarie where we can be with our kind? (Because, when I found the place and that it was on a bus line, I ended my search right there, without even investigating the Metarie place, and because Travis just followed suit).
Initially the nurse told me that my blood pressure was low, and that she would have to take it again in another 10 minutes, but then recanted, saying "It went through."
Chicanery In Lab Coats
Then, I was sent to an overflow area of recliners that were occupied by a few other people. They were all black people and several of them came and went while I sat there, thinking that they would call me when it was my turn.
But, even though I was concentrating on whatever I was doing on this laptop, I could kind of see, out of the corner of my eye, myself being skipped over.
There were people complaining out loud about needing to be somewhere at some time or that "I ain't got all day; for real!" and words to that effect.
So, there began a covert operation, perpetrated by the employees who did the needle sticking, and who have gotten to know some of the people that go there, and who were skipping me, I suppose because I was patiently sitting and waiting my turn, not causing a ruckus. That might work in Metarie, but not in the hood.
And it is likely that, because I was on my laptop and "in my own world," the thought I wouldn't notice a dozen people going ahead of me during the 2 hours that I sat there.
Eventually, after they had gotten all of their friends on their way, they called me, but encountered a problem.
They had made me sit there so long that my intake data had expired. My blood protein levels had had enough time to potentially dip outside of the tolerated range during the almost 2 hours that I sat patiently through.
So, the same computer that let my blood pressure go through, at 117 over 68, had exposed their shenanigans in skipping over me, who was, one of only 3 white guys there, out of maybe 88 people.
No other donor before me or after me had to be re-screened, because none of them had "timed out" after having been made to wait so long.
When I finally did go to the stabbing area (not the separate overflow section) I saw that there were people crowding around the stabbing recliners, waiting to jump in as soon as someone vacated the machine; ahead of anyone who might unwittingly be waiting in the overflow area.
"Go back to where you was..." said a lanky black man, who was not wearing an Octapharma uniform, but who was sitting in the stabbing area, probably waiting to jump on the first available machine.
"No, I told him..." said a nearby nurse, who had probably been told that somewhere a spreadsheet in Sweden is being pored over by someone who is noting that "rescreen" is in bold-face and is flashing next to my name, probably with "his blood pressure was low the first time" typed into the "reason for re-screening" box next to it. Or, most likely a code: "R103" (low blood pressure) or something.
I wouldn't find out until I got home that it had taken Travis, one of the other of a handful of white people that go to that particular lab, just as long as myself to have donated.
I would also find out that Travis felt weak and had flu-like symptoms, including running nose and sneezing, like I did.
"I'm pretty much done with plasma selling, after today's experience," I said to Travis. "Tonight might only be the 2nd or 3rd time that I've taken off busking for 'health reasons,'" I added.
We had no idea that the place could become so crowded and chaotic once donors had reached their bonus numbers of visits. This didn't make sense on the level that, in order to pile up enough donations to be making their 6th one of the month on September 21st, then the place must have been equally crowded on the days leading up to it. We determined that a lot of people must just have "Tuesday and Thursday" as their "days," when they visit each week, so that it's easy to remember and they don't miss out on any bonuses.
They are supposed to use a new needle for each donor and to use new vessels in which to centrifuge out the platelets before returning the fluid part, along with some saline solution to the donors veins.
But, donors have been screened for hepatitis, AIDS, syphilis, ebola and bundibugyo virus, and have answered the intake questions honestly, about their not having shared needles with guys who have sex with men from west Africa since their last visit, and there has probably never been a problem before. But...
The nurse asked me which arm I wanted to use.
"The right one," I told her. I usually don't care, but on Tuesday, the person who inserted the needle in my vein, put it in at a slanted angle, so that she repeatedly had to come by and pull it out some before re-taping it, because the hole at the tip of the needle, I guess, was against the wall of my vein, blocking some of the flow.
Before I left, the stabber had gone into an office in back and had a brief word with a white coat wearing lady, before returning with an ice pack that she taped over the spot in my arm with and Ace Bandage, something that they had never done before. She had just mumbled something when I mentioned that fact. It was obviously as a result of her having put the needle in kind of crooked and having lacerated the wall of my vein in more than one place, causing swelling and a black and blue mark the next day, to go with soreness up and down my arm.
So, "The right one," I specified this time.
The nurse directed me to a machine "Go right there," she said.
The machine was set up on the left side of the recliner, for people who want to use their left arm. Had she gotten her right and left mixed up, amidst all the confusion of bonus day?
That looked like the only available machine at the time, and so I decided to just use my left arm, which was still sore from being mangled 2 days prior, rather than give them a reason to send me back to the overflow area/.
She put the needle in the same vein which had the black and blue mark around it, and the machine ran, but not apparently very efficiently. It took 10 minutes longer than usual to drain me, and the hose was doing a strange kind of bucking motion, accompanied by a gurgling sensation around my vein.
If the 40 bucks wasn't so important at the time, I might have spoken up and told her that the machine seemed to be trying periodically to push the plasma back in my vein rather than draw it out.
It was not a very smooth donation. Further insult was added to injury when I checked the balance to discover that the 25 dollar "bonus" had been added to the measly 15 dollar amount that I get for the first donation of a given 7 day period.
I didn't feel very well at all as I walked the mile to the Wal-Mart, some food for Harold the cat, and a few bananas, a mango, and a Rock Star Zero energy drink for myself. That usually perks up my mood, but I still felt a bit down, when I decided that I would stay in that night, eat a good meal, get a hot bath and a good night's rest.
I met Travis out front and we both went inside together. He was blowing his nose frequently and had taken some Benadryl (sp?) he said.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A More Clever Fake Bass

Something On The Horizon

Wednesday, September 20th...sprinkling lightly under partly cloudy skies; it is a cool 75 degrees out there...

I'm at the Uxi Duxi getting a double shot of "green bali" kratom, which wiped the balance off of my plasma card. I have no cash in my pocket.
Rose owes me 5 dollars, but called 3 times today trying to borrow more money. I didn't answer, but I knew it was Rose. Especially when the phone rang right after 1:30 PM. Rose is one of the few people that I have told about my waking up at around 1:30 PM almost every day, without the aid of an alarm clock.

It is my own theory that I wake up when the sun is exactly overhead, at "virtual noon." The sun will be directly overhead at "true noon" only in Pensacola, Florida where the timeline is drawn for "Central Standard Time," which is our zone. It take an hour and a half, approximately, for the earth to rotate enough to bring New Orleans directly under the sun; this would be the brightest time of the day; and when the magnetic pull from the sun would be its strongest, too, I guess; and when I have been waking up automatically, going back to the homeless days of sleeping outdoors.

Rose has found a soft spot in my heart, by at least remembering this about me, and calling right around 1:35 PM.

She has paid back reliably the 8 or so months that I've lent to her; and paid me back double. This past July and August broke that chain of lending, as I had been too broke to even be able to double whatever little I had.

I thought that I might get the bonus money for my plasma yesterday, but got 15 dollars, instead. If I go tomorrow, I'll get the bonus and walk out of there with 50 dollars. Then, I might be able to lend Rose 40 of it and get it back double 9 days from now.

But, I did alert Travis to the possibility of doubling money through Rose. He seemed certainly interested. He is planning upon giving Dorise his first month's rent, plus the security deposit, on the 28th, and moving in at that time. He has already told her of his intention to do this and so, doesn't want to get off on the wrong side of the bed, so to speak, by asking her for a couple extra days to pay her, right off the bat, while I'm using figures of speech. I almost want to call Dorise, on Rose's behalf effectively, and tell her that Travis has a chance to double his money (paying her and pocketing enough for next month at the same time) but doesn't want to do it because it is more important to him to make a good impression on his new landlady.

She might then call him and tell him it's OK for him to pay her on the 1st of the month, rather than the 28th. Then, Rose could get her medication, Travis could make some money; and he'll still be out of my place, so I'll be happy, too.

But that would involve my meddling in their respective businesses.

Dorise might feel that she shouldn't discuss whatever arrangement she and Travis had made, with me. And Travis isn't going to call her to ask if he can have 2 more days to pay. So, Rose's fate would seem to be in my hands.

It would be simple if Dorise can call him and say: "Hey, you can move in on the 28th and give me the money on the 1st so you can lend Rose the money for her medication..." and then hang up before he gets started (speaking non-stop for the next half hour).

Intervention Circumvention

So, yeah, I just called Dorise, who answered on like the 6th or 7th ring, and I basically asked her if she would call Travis and tell him it was OK if he paid her a couple days later than they had, I guess, initially agreed upon, assuming it was OK, of course.

The way Travis laid it out to me (in a non-stop barrage of words) was that he was intending to impress his new landlady by giving her over and above what might have been "agreed" upon. According to him, she gave him an option to pay her by the week (perhaps as a way of softening the financial impact of such a major transaction to the common man) but he was going to present her with the whole amount, plus the deposit, and probably, in his inimitable way, slide her a 50 spot as a pet deposit,

Poor Beast

The Serengeti
on behalf of his poor cat, Beast, that he took in from the outdoors where it had been abandoned and where it surely developed a fascination for certain aspects of the outdoors, perhaps such a basic as being able to eat grass, and that he will incarcerate in a prison where they only serve the cheapest dry cat food available on the free market; you're in for life, even though you're innocent, and your litter box is inexplicably, in a way that must astound even a cat, lined with some kind of plastic liner in which your claws will become entangled, making it nearly impossible for you to cover your poop with dollar store litter, frustrating you, damaging your psyche at a primordial level by thwarting you in your attempt to do what cats just do; sniff their poop, cover it up using natural motions and graceful strokes with the paws, artistic, if slowed down and set to ballet music types of motions that are so ingrained in the species that a cat in the Serengeti will go through them just like Harold the cat in New Orleans, even though they've never met nor Skyped.

I think the idea of the plastic bag is to keep the litter box itself from becoming soiled.

I almost want to ask Travis: "Don't you have anything to keep the plastic bags from getting soiled, so you don't have to constantly change them?"

"Well, the plastic bags are really only like 4 cents each, because I get the dollar store ones that come in like 24 bags for 99 cents, plus tax of course and..." and wrap it up a half hour later.

So, I told Dorise that Travis has a chance to make some money in loan sharking, but that he would never call her to ask for an extension, out of pride, or something, and that the only way he would be able to help Rose out would be if she (Dorise) were to call him and say: "Hey, I talked to Daniel and if you want to help out your friend there in the building, then you can give me your rent on the first, I don't care, I'm swimming in money," or something.
"A first impression is very important," said Dorise, with a lot of finality in her tone.
In the initial moment of silence after she said it, I pretty much found the answer to the question floating there in the air.

So, I will go ahead and leave it to Travis what kind of impression he wants to make.
If Dorise would indeed take the security plus just one week's rent and still feel that the Travis had met his end of the agreement, then he could lend to Rose and double his money, and Rose could get her medication, or whatever.
The World Is My Oyster
I have a chance to go back to the apartment and knock out some kind of recording. I could shut the valve on the AC and, since it's only 75 degrees out, the place wouldn't start to heat up like a baked potato. Travis is at Starbucks where he is doing his job for Amazon, and said something about being at it until late into the night.

I told him that I was going out to busk, so he will be able to meet me at the Lilly Pad until at least 12:23 AM, which kind of means that I could go back and record music until midnight instead of busking, knowing that I'm going to get 50 bucks for my plasma tomorrow, and maybe even accomplish something.
"Fake Bass Tightener"
Real Bass
I have discovered a setting in the "equalization" menu in the Audacity program which is labelled "fake bass tightener." Is this what I'm hoping it is?!?

I can imagine that this is a setting for those like myself who record a regular guitar playing as much like a bass as it can, and then drop the pitch of it one octave, putting the notes in the bass register where it becomes a fake bass. At least, I've always thought of it as such.

It always sounds just a bit flabby, though, and I have spent a lot of time fussing with the equalization, trying to get the tone to sound like Jaco Pastorius (shown). It is very hard to equalize a bass, I find. There are sliders for 25 hz, 30hz and 50 hz, for example. How is one supposed to be able to hear that the notes coming through at 25 cycles per second are kind of drowning out the ones at 30, I mean, come on...

My most recent approach has been to record a bass part on the guitar but to only drop it down, say, a fifth. Then the guitars can play along in the new key to the bass, without the bass having been bastardized a full octave down so it has retained more of its semblance to the original sound.
But, a fake bass tightener...interesting...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Guy Kind Of Comes Through

Travis came into the Uxi Duxi yesterday, as I was in the process of writing "shit" about him on yesterday's blog post and gave me 20 dollars, plus 4 dollars "for the cigarettes," and also handed me a 3.15 pound bag of Harold the cat's favorite dry food, the "surf and turf," variety from Friskies. Harold doesn't like the "seaside sensations," oddly enough, even though one would think that there is some overlap with the surf and turf.
Of course, if I ever start to invest more money into Harold the cat, there are certainly delicious looking bags of stuff for up to 20 dollars for the same 3.15 pound quantity, and these are grain free and look almost good enough to eat. But, for now, Harold has plenty of cat food.
Just Doomed
The 4 dollars for the cigarettes came from a time when Travis wanted to go in half on a pack of them, being housebound like he was, and gave me his plasma card, with a balance of $3.27 on it, and I went to get a pack of American Spirits, whereupon I was notified of the 5 dollar minimum that that particular store had imposed upon their plastic transactions. "Of course there's a minimum, because Travis brings disorder and confusion and every little thing turns into a saga," I thought.
I paid the whole $7.70 for the American Spirits out of my cash, and then split them with Travis. It  just seemed like yet another example of how the Travis/Daniel team is just doomed.
Worse Than None At All
It was like the time I was ready to buy honey, because I have stopped using high fructose corn syrup as part of my constant and never ending dietary experimentation and improvements. "Oh, dude; I've got a whole thing of honey you can have," Travis had started, before telling me the whole story of how and why he had bought it and the events that conspired so that he never used the honey, etc.
We got back to the apartment, where I began to make pancakes, realizing that I had would have nothing other than the honey to sweeten them, whereupon Travis retrieved from his baggage what turned out to be a honey "blend," of like 35% actual honey and the rest....wait for it.....high fructose corn syrup.
"Oh, man...yeah..... this is like... actually...yeah...a honey blend, I guess I didn't read the jar that well...sorry, man"
And sorry I was that I hadn't grabbed some kind of sweetener, as, it had ran through my mind; the whole scene of Travis standing in the same honey aisle of Wal-Mart where I have, and him seeing the "bee a cheapskate" brand ("wow, this is only like 3 bucks, I'm getting this, definitely!") unlike myself, who had been duly suspicious, and had read the label to discover that it was basically honey flavored corn syrup. I should have followed my intuition. I wound up eating plain pancakes with a little salt sprinkled on them.

The lesson that I had learned once again was that you can't team up with someone intermittently -it has to be a full comittment, like a marriage, otherwise it is better for each guy to take care of himself; who cares if there are 2 jars of honey in the cupboard; one for each of you? Then you avoid the: I didn't get water because I figured you would get water...type of thing.

Then, as I was on my way out to busk at 9:30 PM, Travis gave me a whole gram of the weed that he pays at least 15 bucks a gram for. So, with the 20 bucks and the weed and the cleaning supplies and the 50 bucks worth of food coming October 10th from him; he will have pulled his weight in a sense, and he has promised not to cloister himself away in the place and breathe the air around the clock.

I played for an hour and a quarter, and made a few bucks off of a few tourists. Travis showed up just as I was packing up at 11:45, and we both walked to the Quartermaster where I returned my milk crate and where Travis, having eaten food from there before had deliberated over getting something to eat, but had talked himself out of it.

A local skeezer had come by holding a skateboard, and leading a dog on a leash right as I had been setting up at 10:30 PM. He looked 10 years too old for the skateboard, to me.

I originally came across as sounding rude when I told him to please not sit on the stoop, and he originally got visibly angry and plopped himself down like 3 feet in front of me.

I somehow, miraculously, was able, by lowering my voice to almost a whisper and saying "Look, you're blowing up my hustle sitting there," to get him to say "That was respectful," and then to shake my hand and walk blessedly away. He had a Johnny Cash shirt on (the one of him giving the finger, the one a skeezer would chose) and I played some of "A Boy Named Sue," but then acted like I couldn't remember the next verse at a point when it seemed like he was going to sit back down to listen.
"Can you just do the 'mud and the blood and the beer' part?" he asked. So, I played just that chord and sang "the mud and the blood and the beer..." and he left.
He had no money, he had said.

So, I'm going to the plasma place on this Tuesday afternoon and it seems like I might get there once again right before they close.

This actually helps me save time. When I get there at 6:30 PM, now that the staff know me as being a very fast donor, able to fill the 600ml jar in about 28 minutes, they will whisk me in, get me on a recliner with a needle in my vein very quickly, reducing the length of my visit and getting them out of there 29 minutes later, if I'm the last one of the day.

I think I'm going over there (as soon as I post this) for only 15 dollars for my plasma. But this will set me up for a bonus on my next visit when I'll leave with 50 dollars. Then, I might consider giving plasma donation a rest for a while, as busking is showing signs of picking up. We are in the Trumpian Boom Years now, almost 2 years along the way...

Monday, September 18, 2017

Travis Trashing Tuesday

I'm at the Uxi Duxi, kind of waiting for Travis to show up to give me 20 bucks.
It's funny how he will text me every 10 minutes when he needs me to come and unlock the door, so he can occupy my place while I'm out busking, but now a whole hour and a half has gone by without any message from him. He said he was going to go out this (Monday) morning, after having staying in the apartment 24/7 for the last 3 days.
This was mental illness level isolation, if you ask me.
Travis is determined to make a good impression upon his new landlady by not just giving her the security deposit and half of the rent up front, as she had asked for -he wants to give her the full amount of rent, plus the deposit.
He feels that he can do this, if he makes 6 trips to the plasma donation place, which will net him over $300, and if he spends enough time working online before the end of the month.
And, oh yeah; if he manages to use me and my place as a means for him to live for less than 5 dollars per day til the end of the month.
This involves him being there, 24/7, talking the whole time if I'm there, and smoking at least 40 bucks worth of weed in the past week, during which he has given me no money, and has bummed a couple cigarettes and has been dipping into my instant coffee.
The ventilation is not good enough at Sacred Heart apartments to have a guy and a cat there around the clock, breathing the air, who refuses to crack the door open for even a minute.
So, have I talked to him?
He promises to give me another 50 bucks off his food stamp card, when he gets back from New York, on THE 10TH OF OCTOBER!
He said he would come up to the Uxi Duxi and give me 20 bucks today. He doesn't seem to be in any hurry. I have just spent my last cent here. I didn't get out to busk until almost midnight (and had gone out just to be alone with my thoughts for a time) and I only made a buck, before I had to return to the apartment, enter its stuffy environment, and then feel like I was disturbing his sleep as I made myself something to eat out of the dwindling food supply which hasn't been replenished for a couple weeks now.
But, he is going to make a good impression on Dorise by giving her the full rent amount plus the security deposit, plus pay for his trip to New York (to attend some conference that happens only once per year, but gives him a chance to make some money) while tossing me 20 bucks, whenever he shows up here.
He told me that tomorrow should be a good day for me because, along with the 20 that he is going to give me, I'm going to sell plasma for another 15 bucks (wow!) and then am going to go out, weak from being drained of blood plasma that notoriously slow night and busk.
Since I'm going to sell my vital fluids and then work my ass off, I should be in good shape money-wise and so I guess that takes some pressure off him as far as feeling that he should throw me some money.
His cat, which stays in 24/7 with him, and that is forced to eat the cheapest available dry cat food, of course soils his litter box, 24/7, contributing to the overall unhealthiness of the environment. It's easy to walk in and feel assaulted by the over-breathed air, redolent of cat shit, but, I suppose he becomes acclimated to it and doesn't smell anything at all.
I guess it's my job to empty and replace the cat litter in the box, just as it's my job to clean the kitchen daily.
One of the only things that Travis has done was to put the cover back on the air conditioner that I had removed so I could get at the valve to silence it so I could record music.
He did this because there was a notice put under the door about the building management people coming through to do a pre-inspection inspection. It was almost as if he was afraid that if my room didn't pass, it might inconvenience him if I got kicked out; so he made the effort, without consulting me, to put the cover back on the thing.
He also lectured me on getting rid of the pot plants that aren't even recognizable as such.
Their leaves are all withered because each one of them, along with the rest of my plants, has been pushed off the windowsill by his cat and have never recovered. When it somehow knocked the biggest pot off a desk by my bed, it took a lamp with it, breaking the bulb, with a ton of dirt winding up covering my old laptop, which I guess I have one more reason now to just throw away, rather than maybe someday fixing it back up; now it's full of dirt.
I came home to discover the huge pot laying on its side on the carpet and the laptop; and then had to change the bulb so I could see to clean up the mess. Apparently the crash never woke Travis up in the other room. I doubt he would have raised a finger to clean it up, had he discovered it, unless it would be to minimize the likelihood of my kicking him out over it.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Commodities Trading

And So it came to pass that Saturday night, it was almost 11 PM when I walked past the Jesus shadow clock on Royal Street, on my way out to busk.
I would still need to grab a milk crate to sit on at the Quartermaster and then return to the Lilly Pad.
There were 3 people sitting on the stoop who looked like they were from the projects of New York, with especially the early 20's girl nearest where I sat down and began to set up, wearing canvas sneakers of the same kind that the S.W.V. girls were wearing on their first CD cover, which depicted them sitting at what looked like a construction site. There was a communique there suggesting that the girls, who started out singing in a church, were now hitting the workforce, ready to roll up their sleeves and sing.
I was really hoping that they were not local skeezers, on the stoop to skeeze, and would become territorial. There is more likely to be someone on the stoop when I show up later than 11 PM.
It worked out OK, and I made probably around 20 bucks in a couple hours.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Paperclip In My Eyebrow

  • 2 Hours, $44
  • When One Door Slams, Another Opens
  • Weight Up 9 Pounds
  • Travis Past 10 Days
It was kind of back to a familiar "flow" out there, busking last night.

Sweat will flow into my eyes on humid nights; usually the left one, for some reason. I will continue to play the guitar and harmonica, trying to focus upon music, in order to block out the stinging sensation.

It used to be from liquefied hair gel when my hair was short enough for that, 9 years ago.

Now, I'm convinced that the air quality is such in New Orleans that airborne stuff (exhaust fumes, spores, yeasts and diseases from every country from which tourists hail) will stick to the forehead, and then be washed down, like a polluted river, during times of exertion, into the eyes.

But, as I had become accustomed to and had realized that I had taken for granted during the slow weeks of August and the dismal 5 days of "Southern Decadence" after I wiped the sweat out of my eyes with a spare tee shirt that I had brought for the purpose, I opened them to see money in my tip jar.

After one particular stretch, when I had been thinking: "I don't care what anyone thinks; I like this original song of mine and I'm going to play the hell out of it," there was a 20 dollar bill on top of a stack of about 12 ones when I looked.

Since I made 43 bucks in exactly 2 hours, it occurred to me that I had basically put in almost a full night's work in the form of perhaps a one minute harmonica solo; over some chords that were tailor made to suit that instrument. The song "Her Thigh Said Sublime," that I wrote, became composed using every available note on the C major harmonica, no more...
If the song ever became well known, I'm sure that it would go down as "a great song to play harmonica over," because all the notes are just "there."

I started playing at exactly midnight.

This was after I had gotten all the way to the Lilly Pad at 10:36 PM, only to discover that I had left my harmonica at home.

"You've really got to be shitting me!" I said to myself.
That's like the bag lady forgetting her bag somewhere, or like Harry Houdini forgetting to conceal the paperclip in his eyebrow that he used to pick the lock before being sunk to the bottom of a pool... I thought.

I packed up my stuff and then walked past swarms of potential tippers, the 9 blocks back to the trolley, got on it; rode back to the apartment, grabbed the harmonica (which I had thrown onto the top of my brown hat which sat on a black chair, camouflaged it amazingly) and returned to the Lilly Pad.
The clock struck 12 as soon as I got there, so I rationalized that there was some kind of cosmic reason for my having forgotten the harmonica; rather than see myself as having pissed away a chance to make 30 bucks in the hour and a half that it took me to retrieve the thing. "I would have been shot and killed in a freak incident; my life has been spared and I have whatever forces collaborated in making me forget my harmonica to thank..." At least I wasn't at the bottom of a pool.

After stopping once, at the first sign of fatigue, and then forcing myself to play another set, I saw my phones clock strike 2 AM in front of my eyes when I consulted it. This reinforced the sense that I was adhering to some esoteric timetable, driven by benevolent spirits.

On my way out to play, at 10:30 PM, I had walked by Tanya Huang, who sat alone on the corner of St. Louis and Royal Streets, playing along with pre-recorded tracks that are sounding more and more like recordings of Dorise Blackman, rather than the classical piano tracks that she had been playing over immediately after she and Dorise dissolved their partnership.

She might be conceding that it is the Hotel California's of the musical lexicon that pay the bills and keep her in high style.

She brings enough seating for about a dozen people in the form of a plastic bench and a few folding chairs and sets up her table full of CDs for sale right in front of her and the effect is that of building a wall around herself.

A couple of the chairs are permanently occupied by, I'm assuming, skeezers who, in exchange for always being there, ready to chase down a thief who might try to grab a fistful of cash from her basket and run, or to say "Man, leave the lady alone, she's trying to play!" when appropriate; always have a drink in their hands and are well fed as they sit there. I'm sure that they have a crisp 20 dollar bill in their pockets when they wake up in the morning after having capped off the night by lugging a plastic bench and a few folding chairs, to a waiting SUV.

Tanya actually seemed to take note of me walking past in the opposite direction less than 20 minutes after having passed in the direction of the Lilly Pad.

She also raised an eyebrow when 40 minutes later, I passed again in the direction of the Lilly Pad, wearing a tee shirt of a different color. I wonder if she thought that I had gone all the way back home to change my shirt, and if so, if this fit her internal model of me in some way, and didn't surprise her.

"No...I just can't see working with a guy like that, nothing against him, though..."

I wasn't blaming Travis for the fact that I forgot my harmonica. Even so, after having packed it up, I had taken it back out to play something for him, and then had set it on the brown hat for reasons that I still can't fathom. I'm sure he was distracting me at that particular moment; almost like the disc jockey conditioned to avoid "dead air" who will interject something, anything, over every instance of silence.

"You came all the way back for your harmonica; that's dedication!" he gushed. I couldn't help thinking that most of his elation was due to the fact that he could see that I was just grabbing the thing and changing my shirt and would momentarily be leaving him in cloistered bliss.

"It must be nice," I thought, as I closed the door, leaving him to a long hot shower, pizza, movies, his bong and the elation over having found a place that he thinks is going to wind up costing him only 3 bucks a day to stay at.

I was going to wind up walking 36 blocks before the night was over, that was certain. Whether or not I would make any money or would return in one piece is the uncertainty that I live with; and it's possible to resent a guy who is kicking back and enjoying my place, while I drag myself out there to "get her done."

I got back at about 3:15 AM. I was hungry and had pancakes with blackberry preserves and real butter on my mind.

Travis woke up and only grunted and squinted, as if the kitchen light that I had snapped on so I could see to make pancakes was offensive to him; and maybe that he thought that 3:30 in the morning was not the time to be making noise in the kitchen.

He had closed the door to my room. This was probably so that the air conditioner could more effectively reduce the temperature in that room to a comfortable level. It would, oh by the way, allow my room, where Harold my cat had been imprisoned, into a 90+ degree hell.

These are small things that, taken as a whole, soon led to me having slammed the door on my way out, a couple hours ago, and left him in the apartment, on my phone.

He borrowed my phone this morning; he also has bummed 2 cigarettes. He doesn't have cigarettes because he hasn't gone out. He is trying to fool the security people into thinking that he hasn't reached the limit of 10 days allowed to a guest, by staying inside, 24/7.

He doesn't seem to realize that the security people are not his only obstacle in being able to stay for more than the allotted time.

For one thing, it is stated in my lease that I can have no guests for more than 10 days per month.
I've gotten free rent for the rest of my life.

Louise, a past failure of a guest, chastised the government for being "stupid enough" to pay the rent of an "alcoholic veteran." She would have loved to have joined the military, she said, and killed "camel riding women abusers," but she couldn't pass the physical for some reason. People like Louise have always got some friggin' problem.

Of course she had varicose veins at the age of 19, or flat feet, or was arthritis, now I remember...Louise had "arthritis" which had kept her from joining the military at the age of 19...
Of course she did. People like Louise just have to have something wrong with them; they are raised that way.

But my point is that; I'm in a situation that a lot of people would do anything possible to not mess up.
Bobby might have given Travis a lecture of his own on the lax security at Sacred Heart Apartments and maybe even told him about the ways other people are "getting over" there, but the long and short of it is that; I'm in violation of my lease agreement and putting my whole situation in jeopardy by allowing him to stay for more than 10 days. There is also a prohibition against "subleasing" a unit (i.e. accepting the $75 worth of food, which is all that I've gotten from him in the last 11 or so days).

And, he is bumming cigarettes now.

In his defense, he has offered to pitch in some money, if I would pick some up when I go out; to work, while he stays in and works on his laptop and tries to gaff the building management.
There is also the fact that, apart from making the place feel more claustrophobic (even married couples need some time away from each other to maintain a healthy relationship) he is breathing the air in there, 24/7. The ventilation is not great at Sacred Heart, at least on our floor.

My neighbor, Wayne, has emphysema, and so is more aware of things like ventilation. He has said that "there's no ventilation at all," and I can kind of see what he means.

Entering the apartment from off the street, as bad as the air quality "out there" might be, after there has been someone inside, along with 2 cats, breathing and re-breathing that stagnant air is noticeable.

So, on my way out this morning, I slammed the door pretty hard.
He had borrowed my phone.

I felt kind of like I was being held hostage in a sense, while I waited for him to finish with it and hand it back to me.

As he talked and talked into the thing; it dawned on me that I was, once again being inconvenienced and at the mercy of hoping that he would stop talking sometime before the end of the day, so I could go on with my life.

I propped the door open to allow fresher and cooler air into the place.

Travis has a fear that his cat is going to escape through the open door. The cat would have no place to go, except for the hallway, where it would be trapped and easy to retrieve. Unless, of course, someone just happens to be opening the door to the outside, while someone else is at the same time keeping the second door to the outside open. Then the cat, who is afraid of strangers, might still run right by these two and escape to the outside. Whenever there is a loud noise from the hallway, she runs the other way to under a bed or something. If the cat wants to escape from Travis that badly, then I say, let the thing go.

So, I had propped the door open to let in fresh air. I went over to look out a window.

Travis, seeing the door open; made a "tsk" sound of annoyance, and walked over, still talking into my phone and closed it. That's when I kind of snapped.

I said "You're cat isn't going to get outside!," then went out and slammed it pretty hard behind me.
"He can't leave yet, I've still got his phone, there are still things I want to tell him," he might have thought.

"The hell I can't," I thought; refusing to be held prisoner by him for as long as he wanted to talk on it.
Every time I go to check the time and remember that I don't have my phone, it will remind me of the inconvenience that he had wrought, and the little talk that we are probably going to have, but not in an hour when I go back. It's a Saturday and I don't need any emotional baggage. I certainly don't need to forget any detail like fresh batteries for my spotlight, because of my roommate.

I want to go out tonight with a positive frame of mind, and a whole discussion about why he has an irrational fear about losing his cat, or about air quality or feeling claustrophobic, or being distracted to the point of forgetting to put a paper clip in my eyebrow can all wait...That's a 5 hour lecture from him waiting to happen...