Monday, January 15, 2018

The Flu

  • 10 Days Without Cigarette
  • Is This Your Final Recovery?

I so much had the desire to start a juice fast which would turn into a water only fast, back on about January 3rd, that I actually did so.
All Better?

Could it have been the November Winds I had been feeling? Did I sense that I had been exposed to the flu virus in this particular 2018 strain, and did my intuition tell me that, should I immediately embark upon a juice/water fast, so I could flush the thing out of my system, bolstering my immune system and giving the virus an environment unfavorable to its proliferation, in the process.
Here it is, 12 days later, and I finally feel like I am over the thing.
Right Now

There were "false" recoveries along the way. I had even gone out to busk a few days ago, feeling as though I might have recovered enough to do so. That was the night that had me feeling so weak  by the time I had walked 9 blocks to the trolley after being rained out, that I had begged the driver to let me ride home for free.
Skeezing Etiquette 101
It is less of a skeeze to ask the trolley driver for a free ride home when you are broke than it is to ask a random stranger for the dollar and 25 cents "for the trolley," to get money to give the driver.
The reasons may be obvious, but they are:
First, you remove one level of credibility, in that it is obvious to the driver what you are trying to skeeze; whereas the random tourist is not sure what you are going to do with the dollar, and could feel like they are possibly being decieved.
Second, the driver of the trolley is probably not (as was the case here) a random stranger to you, if you are a regular rider of the thing and it isn't his first night on the job.
Third, it isn't costing the driver anything out of his pocket to let you ride on the thing; whereas the random tourist is out a dollar and 25 cents...

10 Days Without Cigarette

I suppose if anything is going to live on in history from this particular epoch in my life, then why not the fact that I have voluntarily given up cigarettes for a 10 day period -the first such success in not smoking due to sheer will power, probably since 2014. That time, I had done what turned out to be an 18 day water fast, I believe it was. I was living under the Natchez steamboats wharf at the time, and the black capped night heron had just arrived, so that would make it about July...

I had wanted to do an "abstinence from everything" type of water only fast this time, which is kind of the whole point of a water "only" fast.

It was the flu that had thrown a monkey wrench into things.

The question arose of whether or not this was the best time for a water fast, when the body might "need" things like chicken soup to fight off the virus.

And it was the fact that I had unwittingly bought a bunch of pain relief stuff at the dollar store that had a hefty dose of caffeine as its "pain reducer aid" ingredient, which rendered mute the point of whether or not I should try to give up coffee as well as cigarettes; and maybe migrate towards becoming an herbal tea drinker in the long who doesn't smoke cigarettes.

I had made that ill-advised decision to eat a ham and cheese po-boy sandwich, and then went on to develop a fever, in which delusional state, I began to see the ham and cheese sandwich as being inside myself, constipating me so as to trap the pocket of flu virus where it could live off of ham and cheese and prosper.
As soon as I was able, I walked to the Family Dollar store, where I bought a quart of prune juice, thanking God that I had at least enough money on my food stamp card to do so.

I drank most of it and then waited for the glorious expulsion of the ham and cheese po-boy from my bowels. I pictured it coming out of me black, and maybe even with a skull and cross bones of the skull of  a small rat perhaps.

My fever was probably around 102. There were reports of people dying from the flu.

I usually don't get what "everyone else" gets, due to my unusual diet. But I had eaten a ham and cheese po-boy, for Pete's sake. It had been sitting atop a trash can on a frigid night, making it seem even more probable that it might still be good.

I may have been slated to come down with the flu anyways that evening, but it was easy for me, as I lay there and my temperature rose, to blame it on the po-boy. "I'll bet someone was cleaning out their car and found the thing under a seat, where it had been for weeks, reaching temperatures close to 100 degrees along the way..."

Bobby, my weed guy had been stellar, in that he too had chosen the new year as a time of fasting and cleansing and was living off of things like watermelon, and other melons in the morning, and then was having low fat meals of chicken in the evenings. He had suggested "chicken soup," as a remedy for my flu, but had also given me some chicken. He also gave me some melon, the benefits of which were palpable.

Still, the flu went and then came back, more than once during the past 12 days that I have had it.

This is a situation where, had I been homeless, I just would have lain in my sleeping back, maybe after having hung around the CVS waiting for someone to come along and buy some flu remedy type of stuff, that I could have asked them to sell me a few of out of.

It would have been the valley of the shadow of death, to be sure. Laying in a sleeping bag under a wharf and suffering.  Knowing that I was going to have to wash all the sweat out of the sleeping bag and all my clothes, as soon as I felt up to the task, just to get that flu smell out of it all -but not before having gone out and busked for money to put in the laundry machines...

It could have been depressing. Or maybe not. Maybe it is more depressing sitting around worrying about such things befalling oneself than it is to have them happen. Maybe the latter is a rallying cry and the only way for the tough to get going...


It is 49 degrees on the Monday night. It has been Martin Luther King day, and thus some people have had the day off. I can't recall if this is a good busking holiday...

I have just had my first shot of kratom in about the same 10 days as the cigarette abstinence has been going on. This doesn't leave much still on the list of things to give up.

Bobby gave me about 4 dollars earlier in the day. He understands that I have not been making any money at all the past couple weeks.


Another thing that can mess with you when you have a 103 degree fever scrambling your thoughts is, well, here is a good example.

David Bowie recently passed away and left behind a couple of works, one of which being the album "Blackstar."

My friend Bobby has put an amplifier on lay away for me at the Guitar Center.

He kind of wants to see me get back on my feet and go out and make a bit of money that I could contribute towards the electric guitar and amp, so that he wouldn't be just giving me the stuff, 100%; kind of like The Lord, in that he want's to help those who help themselves.

But, the fact that one of the amps that he on the verge of buying for me is a "Blackstar" brand and that he (Bobby) bears such a resemblance to the last recreation of himself affected by David Bowie (inset) is just more fodder for the delirious mind of a flu sufferer, one who has always lived with one foot in the astral plane and the other on a banana peel.

Watching the Bowie documentary on Bobby's huge TV with him sitting right there a spitting image of the guy; smoking some of his medicinal grade marijuana and then letting the symbolism do its thing, made for an interesting experience. To say that "Blackstar," by David Bowie is stuck in my head right now would be pretty accurate.
Anything is better than the 5 different radio stations playing at the same time of my fevered state of a few days ago, though....

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Beat Back Inside

It was Thursday night, the 11th of January and I was at Starbucks, preparing to go out and busk.
This was the first day that I had felt normal enough to go out and play.

Still, it was about my 6th day on a diet of only fruit juice and water.
Now, coffee was going to join that equation.

I got to the Lilly Pad and set up and then it began to rain moderately as soon as I started playing.
I took cover on Lilly's stoop.
It rained long and hard enough that, even after it stopped coming out of the sky, it continued to run off of roofs and through gutters and kept landing on the ground and splashing the nearby area as it did.
I wound up knocking off, without having made anything, and especially after starting to feel tired.
This was from a combination of having juice fasted all week and the flu, which seems to recede in waves, and can surge back towards the end of a long day with some aching in the muscles or a chill up and down the spine.
I asked the trolley driver if I could get a free ride home.
I was standing there on Canal Street, with the rain once again coming down rather hard: "Hey, I don't have any money; I had the flu last week and before that, it was too cold to play; I'm just trying to get home..."
"Get on."

Not Much Else To Report

One Week Without Cigarette

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Last Walz

As I sit here at Starbucks at 9:36 PM, with them closing in 24 minutes and my guitar at my side; I have checked the weather to see that the temperature is going to begin slowly plummeting from the 66 degrees that it is now, to about 61 a couple hours after midnight.
This is totally in the comfort range for busking. I haven't done so in over a week, because of a combination of the flu and nights too cold.
I am back on my feet now, after the flu and will have to go out and play in a little while or I will have no cash at all.
I still have a cough and will get a headache if I bend over for a while then stand up quickly. But this is going to make my 6th day without a cigarette or kratom or any other food besides fruit juice.
If I do go out and play tonight it will be the first time since I started busking in 2007 that I would be doing so without a pack of cigarettes just off my left hip.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Swine Flu

When we last left Daniel, he had gotten a "grande" sized cup of straight espresso from the Starbucks that is in Harrah's Casino. He should have known that if he sat the cup next to him and then proceeded to work on a blog post, he would unconsciously keep sipping off the thing, until it was gone and he had consumed enough caffeine to get an elephant's day off to a flying start.

I left the casino about 10 minutes before my food stamp money was to come, at midnight.

After a 15 minute walk from there to Rouses Market, using shortcuts that I had learned when living on the street, I was able to pick up what seemed like just a few things, but which cost 32 bucks.

As I walked, I was aware that I was kind of performing an experiment upon myself with regards to seeing how caffeine "actually" effects me.

Honey, coconut oil, concentrated juices of grape and apple, a gallon of distilled water were soon mine, and I began the 9 block walk to the trolley with the 20 pounds of 32 bucks worth of stuff in my pack.
Live Caffeine Experiment
I started to think that I would probably just live off of the juice for a day, because it almost felt like I was coming down with something. There was an aching in my legs as if I had recently run a sprint, even though I hadn't; and the backpack felt heavier than it should have. Yes, I was going to do a 3 day juice fast to head it off at the pass, should it be the flu I was feeling.

The word is that the flu is "bad" this year, or "serious," depending upon who you talk to.
I had already had a nasty bout of it, six weeks prior, that lasted about 3 days and which caused me to miss out on my planned trip to Howard Westra's house for Thanksgiving.
And, here I was, feeling like I might be coming down with it again.
Was that possible? I thought that, once you have the flu and then get over it, only a new and more virulent strain can infect you.
I got home and had only juice for dinner. I felt like I might be able to shake off whatever it was; or that perhaps it was only a 6 hour flu.
Then, I did something so inexplicable that my spirit, rather than my mind, must have arranged it...

Comfort Food?
My last smile for the next 4 days...
I went to the Family Dollar store, intending to get more juice, to continue the "cleanse."

Outside, sitting atop a trash can, was a ham and cheese po-boy sandwich, still sealed in the airtight cellophane package and bearing a price tag of 5 dollars.

This is where it is customary for New Orleans residents to leave food items that they might not want, but that nothing is wrong with and that would be a shame to let go to waste. Better to leave them to the hungry, broke, homeless and others who spend all their money on alcohol.

It was about 40 degrees outside, and so it was like the thing was in a refrigerator.

I stuffed the thing in my bag and then went inside the store, where I did get some more juice, but also some instant oatmeal of the kind that has a ton of sugar in it and comes in flavors like "maple and brown sugar," and "cinnamon and spice," etc.

I was keeping my options open between starving the flu or feeding it.

The Wrong Choice

It may have been the flu virus attacking my brain stem and making me crazy, but at one point, I decided to feed the fever and I ate the ham and cheese thing, and then had a bunch of the oatmeal for dessert. "This is like comfort food, I guess," I thought.

This was Friday evening. Within a few hours, it was evident that, if I had been coming down with the flu before, I was now free falling with it.

I had a headache in a small area near my right temple which felt like it had been hit with a baseball but just hadn't turned black and blue yet, and another larger headache along the back of my head.
I felt constipated and like I was ready to explode like a seagull that has eaten Alka Seltzer.

My temperature must have been at least 102 degrees because I started having nonsensical thoughts as I lay down and covered myself in my heaviest quilt, after putting my winter jacket on.

Just the thought of the ham and cheese po-boy made me feel nauseous; the same for the sweetened oatmeal. I could picture the flu virus taking to the ham like tiny maggots; and the sugar fermenting and expanding and bloating me.

The sight of the stub of a cigar, which was the only tobacco that I had, made me equally nauseous. At one point, in between falling into fitful sleep, tormented by stupid dreams, that all seemed to involve problems that I could care less about the solution to (in one I was playing tic tac toe against myself ad infinitum) and then waking up drenched in sweat yet shivering; I took the thing and threw it towards my trash can.

I found that I had to lay there and moan or the noise in my head would increase until it sounded like a dozen radio stations playing at once. When I got up to shut off my actual radio that was on; I had to grab a table to keep from falling down.

I called Rose and Ed because the former had told me on more than one occasion that I could consider her "the medicine chest" of our building and to never hesitate to ask her if I needed anything.

She came and gave me some Ibuprofen, some benedryl (sp?) and a pill that was a stool softener.
It was the stool pill that I hoped would work to have me crap out everything I had eaten the night before.

Just running to the bathroom and then returning to my blankets had me shivering for minutes, recovering. I couldn't begin to think of walking to the dollar store for more juice.

Too Sick For Doctor

I had a doctors appointment for 8 AM on Monday. I called and cancelled it about an hour before that, stating that I was too sick to go out to see the doctor.

"Are you sure you don't want to come in and have something prescribed for it?" asked the appointment lady.

I looked out my window to notice that it was then raining pretty moderately. I didn't think that there was an antibiotic for the flu; and could not imagine my doctor prescribing anything much different from what Rose had given me. I could, though, imagine myself catching pneumonia walking through the cold and rain for about 2 miles to the hospital.

"No, I would have to walk, and I wouldn't be there in time; and it's raining..."
She rescheduled me for February 14th.

Rose's medications made me feel just good enough to walk, later in the day, feeling 20 years older, to the store, where I bought Harold some food, and myself some juice, including prune.

With this, I restarted the juice fast that I probably should have stayed on and might have avoided getting the flu on.

I started to think of everything I was cleansing myself of as I gulped down 32 ounces of prune juice: sugar, tobacco, kratom, marijuana, caffeine and the ham and cheese sandwich that I couldn't wait to eliminate.
It seemed like I had been loading myself up with every chemical that I had gotten kind of addicted to, starting with the mega dose of caffeine, in order to make myself feel worse, so I would take definitive action to feel better.

So, I sit here on this Wednesday, the 10th of January not having had a cigarette in 5 days and still feeling nauseous at the thought of one.

"Maybe this happening was a blessing in disguise," said Bobby from building C, who has been trying to help me quit tobacco.

I was thinking the same thing. I had been on a treadmill of sorts, trying to pay for daily cigarettes and kratom.

Sugar was something that I had practically none of from about the age of 19 until just recently. I had been "slipping" there.

And, I can remember having skin problems, even involving the color, or tone, of it; back when I ate the ham and cheese po-boys, right alongside everyone else; before I discovered that the soy oil in the mayonnaise was somehow triggering an allergic reaction in me.

I guess I felt bullet proof when I ate that one I found...

For now the juice fast will continue. When I start to eat again, it will be my old diet.

And I will probably take advantage of the free flu shot offered here at Sacred Heart. I had been too lazy to get one this year....

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Bottom Of Lake Pontchartrain

  • Hard Freeze
  • I Am A Kratom Head
  • Food Money At Midnight

We are possibly going to have a hard freeze tonight.

There will be no busking, as I haven't brought my gear with me.
I might have brought my gear with me had I not heard that the temperatures are going to drop like a rock thrown into Lake Pontchartrain; and there is going to be frost on the pumpkin and the acoustic guitar.
"Just fill it up with espresso, then let's go..."

I had no cash, this morning.

I had the nice gift card for Starbucks, though.

If worse came to worse, I could survive upon their bacon and cheddar melts and maybe even add a veggie juice; they even have an egg thing, which is an egg...with other things added, cooked a certain way. It is a device for turning a 17 cent egg into $1.75 also, I noticed...

The first of these 3 very cold nights when I was in Starbucks, I had struck up a semi-interesting conversation with the young light brown woman in front of me before I had remembered that, at some point that night I needed to come up with a couple cans of cat food, and a trolley ride home through the 29 degree air would be a bonus. She had wound up giving me 7 dollars, for something that had only cost 5 something off my card.

I was going out, with this on my mind, prepared to walk to Starbucks with my laptop in my pack, a 29 minute walk, but it was early. The sun was high, as it was 4:45 PM.

Harold did not meow as soon as I had stepped through the door onto the landing, which meant that he wasn't hungry enough to have posted himself underneath one of the cars in the parking lot, to keep watch for my emergence.

I don't know if he is smart enough to know whether or not I should be coming or going -which direction I should appear from. I have confused him on that matter a couple times when I didn't have food an so I sneaked past him, going through the building instead of the parking lot, so he wouldn't see me and start meowing for food that I didn't have.

I would later emerge from the lobby with the food, when he might have had reason to think that I should have been inside. How can he be coming home again, when he never went out? type of thing...

Cash Aid From Bobby

I decided to stop at Bobby's, thinking that I would, at the least, offer to pick him up something while I was out.

He gave me 5 dollars and 50 cents, understanding that the weather going to put me out of business -even though this is something that the responsible busker plans ahead for; and that I was also planning to trade coffee off my gift card for cash from people. "No, keep your coffee; you need that; all the coffee you drink, you need that; here!"

I thanked him for sparing me the discomfort of having to ask someone if I could put their coffee on my card in exchange for cash.

"There are always people who are going to be prone to suspect foul play right off the bat, given the Starbucks location of 1 Skeezer Place, New Orleans, and will think, at the very least, that I stole the card from some good citizen..."

"Yeah, you don't need all that," concurred Bobby.

So, I stepped outside, ostensibly to spend $1.25 on a trolley to Starbucks. There, I would have $4.25 left over for a can or two of cat food, and maybe a dollar cigar, and then a trolley ride back home.

But, then I paused before getting on the trolley. I decided to walk to the Uxi Duxi, where I would spend 3 of the dollars on a shot of kratom, and then would take the trolley to Starbucks, arriving there with just enough cash to ride back on..

At midnight, my food stamp card should be loaded with $137 dollars. I have 4 hours and 23 minutes to plan a meal.

Last night, I had the catfish that had been sitting in my freezer, the last guardian of that box. I picked at the potato salad that was in my refrigerator. It had been given to me on New Years Eve as a tip, on a night when I otherwise made no money and upon which the guy pointed me to the video of me playing while some kind of Travis Blaine figure speaks over me the entire time.

Travis would give the biography and discography of the artist whose music I was playing, along with, and as a sole means of framing, his own personal opinion of the artist whose music he was talking over....

Kind of funny how I diverged in yesterday's post to tear into Travis Blaine further (I'm not done with him yet; wait until the Travis Blaine comic strips that I'm planning, come out) for what I thought was mere catharsis, but listening to that video must have been what brought him to my consciousness...

But, I went no further than just picking at the salad. It might have had mayonnaise in it which was made with soybean oil.

Maybe not, though, because it came from some restaurant in the Quarter, and I can imagine restaurants in the Quarter wanting their potato salads to stand out, and might use "their own" oil, as part of their secret recipe; and it might be mayonnaise made from scratch with grape seed oil that makes theirs a winner, in the competitive world of potato salads.

But, the potato salad represented "the last thing I'll eat if I absolutely have to" this month. Half the time, I will take the opportunity to go on a fast when the road forks one way towards a cleansing detoxifying fast and the other way towards the likes of the potato salad.

I made a catfish cake.

I fried catfish nuggets; battered them to the point where they were basically swimming in batter in a flat baking pan, and then baked the thing into a cake. A catfish cake.

When it came to eating the catfish cake, though, I wound up separating out the catfish and eating it with vegetables in a more acidic environment, with mustard.

Then, I gathered up the parts that were just cake with no fish, and put butter and blueberries and plenty of brown sugar with it; and it kind of became the dessert to the fish dinner; and I didn't have to eat the potato salad.

Now, 4 hours and 17 minutes before my food stamp money is to arrive, I think I will escape having to eat the potato salad. The little bit that I picked at revealed it to be an excellent potato salad; crunchy celery; a nice grape seed essence....

Whom Do I Complain To?

I got to the Starbucks, where I am now, at the casino...

I was at the one up the street around 9 PM, or an hour before they are to close.

They seem to have the second-shaving disease that so many employees of so many places have been infected with.

They start cleaning and mopping and shutting stuff down, well before the hour of their closing rolls around; with the only purpose being to be able to leave for home a few seconds earlier than they would have, had they, for instance kept the half and half container out on the condiment table, and then had to maybe stash it real quickly (8 seconds) in the walk-in cooler before locking the place behind them.

Choose Your Starbucks Wisely

All of this to shave a few seconds off the length of their tedious shift. If any of them are ever in a car accident, say, right after they leave work -pull out when the light turns green and then get t-boned by a car that came flying out of nowhere; I wonder if it would occur to the person as they were lying in the hospital in traction that, if he of she had taken 11 seconds to fill up the wooden stirrer canister, so the morning shift wouldn't have to do it, and because he or she was supposed to, then that reckless car would have missed them. "...but those few extra seconds seemed so important; as if we were trying to break the record for getting out of there as soon after closing as possible..."

I know a similar thing is what I have thought about to this very day about my motorcycle accident back in 1986. If that girl hadn't wanted to start my motorcycle for me, the one that lived in the same rooming house as I did, and who was out front when I came out to get on my Kawasaki 500 and ride off, and who had said: "Oh, can I start it for you?"

It had misfired on her first chuck of the pedal, so I suppose the blame for my being hit head on by a car 15 miles later might lie with myself not having replaced the spark plugs recently enough so that it would have started right up; and not with the girl, and whatever satanic demon she was being controlled by that was trying to kill me.

"Can I Get Something Started For You?"

When I got to the Starbucks here at Harrah's Casino, there was no one in sight within the boutique sized place.

No problem, I had to use the restroom anyway.

Returning from the restroom and seeing the number of people who were lined up gave me an idea of just how long it had taken the 2 employees, who were now back, to run somewhere to fetch a cart laden with half gallon jugs of a white liquid, that apparently took 2 people to transport.

It was a young black girl and a black guy.

I stepped to the counter and ordered a grande red-eye.

"I can't sell a grande right now. I don't have any lids," snapped the guy, with just a hint of a tone in his voice to indicate that he might be purposely trying to be difficult. After all, I was a customer walking in an hour before they were scheduled to close.

They had cleaned a lot of the machinery. I would be willing to bet that, had I ordered some kind of "special" coffee that would have required them to mess up a machine that they had already cleaned, then that particular brew would be determined to have gone the way of the grande, which couldn't be sold for lack of lids.

"Um, could I get a grande without a lid?" I asked, trying hard to keep the "you're an idiot;" look off my face. What would be so hard about asking people, is it OK if I give it to you without a lid; we're out of grande lids? Unless...

I wondered if the diameter of the grande lid is even any different than those of the other sizes. Seems like they could eliminate a lot of confusion at the typical Starbucks by having a one lid fits all policy. The cups are certainly different heights (with the tall being the shortest).

The formulas of geometry tell us that a cup can be designed so that a taller one will hold a greater volume of liquid than a shorter one. Thus, the grande size could be dispensed out of a cup that is taller, yet has the same sized lid.

If the grande sized cup does indeed have a wider lid to it, then the only thing I can think of is that, after some marketing study, it was determined that, with a slightly wider top, the grande cup makes people feel that they are getting a more grand amount of coffee; it's even bigger around.

Perhaps the grande cup, if only made taller to hold more coffee, but with the same sized lid on top just looked too "tall and skinny;" and maybe a certain percentage of the test group actually picked that cup as being the lesser coffee. That is the only reason I could see for there being a difference in lid sizes at Starbucks.

That, and if the guy behind the counter was consciously trying to provide poor service...

"Sure," he said, snatching a grande cup from the rack, but not a lid...

"Could I get a red-eye?"

"Sure," he said, as he went over by the espresso machine.

"Did you say two shots?" he asked.

I had asked for a red-eye; no mention of a second shot. I probably would have called that a double red eye.

I think, in hindsight, that the guy was trying to "up-sell" me. There were no grande lids, so why don't I pay more for a venti? Was that 2 shots, at $1.49 each, I heard you ask for?

There was no cream or half and half at the condiment bar. They had just pushed a cart loaded with jugs of it into their cooler, but had put none out.

The girl handed a cup (tall sized) almost full of cream, which she didn't specify as being half and half or what, to another couple of customers who were also looking for cream, and the lady had the good sense to realize that she and her husband were not going to require the whole 12 ounces of heavy cream, and they passed the cup to me; sparing me from having to put in a separate request for cream from the young lady behind the counter. I was afraid of what she might have handed me "Oh, that ranch dressing look just like cream, my bad..."

So, then, after finding out that they close at 10 PM on a Thursday night, just like the one up the street where I could have saved a little money, after the young lady with the dreadlocks had informed me so at 19 minutes before that hour, I got in one last order.
I ordered "a refill."

There was a different young black guy than the grande lid guy working with the young lady.
She actually asked me if I wanted the shot of espresso added.

"Well, not if you're gonna have to fire up the espresso grinder just for one cup; I could just get a regular one..."

The young man assured me that the espresso had already been ground, and that it would be no trouble at all for them to give me another red eye.

Before I had gotten to the condiment bar, the young lady asked me if I again wanted cream.


She then handed me the grande cup with no lid that exuded only a slight amount of heat and was now filled with a lukewarm, light brown liquid. "I put cream in for you," she said.

They Shot The Moon!

I took a sip of the bread crust colored stuff, after having put in enough raw sugar to feel that I stood to, at least, create a nice coffee-flavored milkshake and in doing so discovered that the Starbucks staff had really shot the moon.

I was drinking off of a grande sized cup with no lid, of straight espresso. That's 20 ounces, at least.

It was buffered by the copious amount of milk fat that the dreadlocks adorned girl had added, but it was undeniably straight espresso.

She might have become confused between "add a shot of espresso" and "all espresso," in her haste to get out of there as quickly as possible, but I have had enough shots of straight espresso -usually served in something closer to a thimble in size than the cup that I had my hand wrapped around, and topped with whipped cream to combat some of its bitterness- to know that the last cup of coffee out the door of Starbucks (Oh, thank God, let's get out of here) this Thursday night was 20 ounces of straight espresso, thinly disguised as a coffee flavored milkshake by a dread locked haired girl who had probably been trying to cover her mistake by throwing a half pint of cream at it. Even if she had taken care of the tell-tale drop in the temperature that the addition of so much cream precipitated, by having popped it in the microwave for maybe 20 seconds, the flavor and the caffeine levels would have given it away.
Daniel, signing off: 11:40 PM

I don't need to consult any books on customs and traditions of people to know that, the commission of 3 errors making the same cup of coffee, is considered to be "shooting the moon," and it falls vaguely in with things such as the hat trick in hockey, and, well, the triple crown in horse racing.

They screwed my order up in 3 different ways; and maybe in ways that I don't even see the effects of yet. I mean, who knows what the long term effects of consuming 1 gram of caffeine at one time might be?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Uxi To Starbucks Express

It is 43 degrees.

I'm in the Uxi Duxi; but not for long. I'm leaving here to go to Starbucks...

Dom is working and is evincing signs of having either read this blog or of having interpreted my absence of a couple days as being related to what happened a few days ago.

That was when Dom had set the "will return" clock thing in a messed up way and then ignored my polite taps on the window, seeking clarification.

Dom Has A Bee In His Bonnet

He was very short with me. I got to the counter and he snapped: "Want a shot? Two ninety-two!" It was enough of a contrast to his previous attempts to at least be friendly, that I know he has a bee in his bonnet.

I Continue At Starbucks

I pretty much went there every day; at least every day that a blog post appeared here was a day that I had gone to the Uxi Duxi, to do at least a shot of kratom, sometimes two.

The fact that they have wireless there and that I am ready to write as soon as I feel the ritalin-esque mental focus set in from a shot of kratom, had conspired to make me kind of a fixture there.
But, it is really only the shot of kratom and the wireless that has any appeal to me. The decor comes in a distant third, with things like the chance to chat with whomever is working in there at the time a speck on the horizon.

I can understand that kratom makes some people become chatty, myself included (but in my case it is hard to tell where the joint that I smoked on the way to the bar leaves off and where the kratom picks up).

I seen and heard at least a half dozen other customers talking their heads off.

Travis Blaine A Culture?

And it has been pretty much in the Travis Blaine style of oratorio, in that the common thread throughout their discussion was themselves.

I vicariously traveled the world and walked a mile in the shoes of a few guys who either stood there by the Uxi Duxi register and spoke or, worse, took a spot at a table from where they had to raise their voices.

Words like "I," and "me" and "my" formed the backbone of their talks.

And, as with Travis, it is when the dab or the shot of kratom hits them that they suddenly, like a clam shell springing open to reveal that it is full of flowers, become a source of never ending words. The ends of each sentence being punctuated with a crescendo meant to convey: "Wait, I'm not done yet!"

In Travis' case, it is an "a..." or an "and..." stretched out and a bit louder, meant to connect his sentences without letting anyone interrupt. 

Now, it would be easy to understand the Uxi Duxi employees becoming privy to this phenomenon and having mechanisms of the "I need to get back to work" variety ready to employ.

But, there are some people who enjoy conversation, Nathaniel being one of them.

Dom seems to spend every minute when he isn't engaged with a customer staring at the screen of his phone.

I'm going to have to return to the subject of Travis Blaine, in the same manner that he would touch upon points when talking about himself in lecture form for hours, and then return to those points, as promised ("...I'm gonna get to that in a minute...").

I guess I'm discovering a whole whole Travis Blaine culture out there.

A lot of adults are into things like comic books, and maybe certain science fiction writers, and many might spend almost every waking hour "gaming" on their various devices. In Blaine's case, they are for him what they are for kids, I'm convinced.

Travis went so some prep high school which was somehow nationally ranked, and where the heads of the students were proportionally filled with basically how they were the smartest kids in the nation. If you were to mention the school, Travis would be ready to spit out some statistic, such as 88 percent of the kids from this school going on to Ivy League colleges, or something.

So, Travis has this mind like a sponge and is able to memorize and regurgitate so much of the college preparatory material that he is dubbed some kind of "genius" and determined to have a "photographic memory," and other things meant to bolster the boy, keep his parent's tuition money coming in, and probably looking for a silver lining given that he was probably a loner who exhibited some very selfish behavior.

So, this becomes the guy's identity.
Like Charlie the Tuna, Travis sits listening to Mozart and reading Great Literature, thinking that he is in his element, having graduated at the top of a very highly regarded prep school in New York, and all.

In his mind, he is still the 12 year old boy who is already studying chemistry, 3 years ahead of most kids; and chomping at the bit to show off his knowledge.

His opening chess move against me; from a game that never wound up being played out; was a puerile stunt move; a series of 3 or 4 moves designed to catch maybe a 12 year old chess player off guard.

"You've got to be kidding me," I thought to myself. I remembered that particular "trick" move.

All I could think of was, yeah, Travis probably won a lot of games against the other kids at St. Mark's Academy, using this series of moves, and probably was even called the "Bobby Fischer" of the school, and the name stuck: with himself, the name stuck. "I'm a chess genius," he might still think to this day.

No grand master level chess tournament game, out of nearly 20 million in databases, even started with one player moving the king side rook pawn out two spaces. That is a trick that you use on someone who hasn't seen it before, someone who is perhaps 9 years old and playing the 10th game of his life.
Yet, there was Travis, after having spent maybe an hour lecturing me on "Europe in 1935," spotting the chess board...

"Oh, dude, I love chess...I'm pretty good..."

No, Travis, you were pretty good when you were 12.

Then you started clouding your brain with pot smoke and became stuck in that time and era.

You pick up a guitar and tentatively play a few simple chords, sounding like a Nervana song, but with one or two of the chords not quite right, then you put it down with an air of satisfaction as if you "have still got it" on the guitar and have just given a master performance of a classic song; and then are obtuse enough to begin a lecture, with storytelling, about the various bands that you have played in...

It's hard to be interested in hearing about a band that comes recommended by only a few barely recognizable chords from a Nirvana song.

And, of course, what other band of 12 year olds did the thing where the whole band stopped at a certain point in some song and all played the CBS News theme notes?

This is the comic book reading emotional level that Travis Blaine is at.

"You would have to hear it; it was the coolest thing...out of nowhere, the CBS "ding-dong-ding," and then right back into the song!!"

So, I guess my moral is: Parents don't pump your kids heads too much full of how amazing they are at an early age, or at some point in their adult lives, should they continue to believe it, someone is going to have to tap them on the shoulder and inform them: "Hey, we aren't 12 years old any more. More is expected of us now..."

There isn't much, on the surface, to do on a 43 degree night.

A closer look reveals that I could get a lot accomplished at the apartment.

I could just do the Charlie The Tuna thing and get caught up on my studies of Spanish, Italian, Latin, Ethiopian, or read a good book. I could work on organizing a huge list of every song that I can think of that I ever played. This would be very handy to have laminated and at my side when I'm at the Lilly Pad. It might even make me stay out and play longer because I wouldn't have run out of songs (that I can think of, anyways).

27 Hours Before Food Stamp Money Comes....

It would be a shame if I weren't to get some kind of indoor activity accomplished...

Monday, January 1, 2018

On A Night When Nothing Else Materialized...

Zero Dollar Last Night Of The Year
Happy first day of the new year.

A guy came up to me while I was out making no money in the 39 degree air last night, and said that he had been here a year ago and had even shot a video of me, though he cautioned that I was being talked over by someone through the whole thing.

It's funny how I can't remember a face that I might have seen the day before, and I didn't recognize this guy from Adam, but, after I followed the link that he gave me to the video above, I could recall the exact occasion from hearing the music, and even remembered which notes I played "next" on the harmonica...I can remember hitting that note and then wondering if I should repeat it or go up higher...type of thing.

He and his friend were one of three people or groups that stopped by during the 25 minutes that I sat there, playing at first, before determining that I was losing control over the muscles in my fingers and hands.
Our busking hats donned; Colin and I take shelter from the 32 degrees outside

I did not feel a tipping vibe from the people that were around me. There weren't very many, something that I initially blamed on the fireworks that were being simultaneously shot off over the river, before learning from a guy who had just come from there that there weren't many souls down there watching them.

Well, it was 39 degrees.

The idea was that, people would all be focused upon the countdown to the new year, and the fireworks, so I wouldn't see very many of them around the time leading up to midnight, and then they would flood the streets.

This may have taken place, but I never found out, because I packed up at 12:36 AM, after having been listened to by 3 separate groups, and not tipped by any of them after hearing them each tell me that they were some variant of "flat broke," and that, otherwise they would have.

The video above tells me that, at the least, someone could hear the lyrics that I am singing, if they were to stop talking and listen, and that my Takamine guitar sounds pretty much in tune and that the sharp chords that I play with a slashing stroke do indeed cut through the air, and that note that went out of tune on my last C major Susuki Harpmaster harmonica had already done so; in fact, I think the video was shot on the night the note went sharp, and I think I apologized the the guys for it whenever I stopped playing; and I think I ordered a new harmonica the next day and temporarily played my A major harmonica until it arrived, 2 to 3 business days later...

It also tells me that my voice still had the bit of edge, or brassiness, or harshness or bleating like a goat sounding-ness to it one year ago, before I learned to only sing as loudly as keeping the harshness out of it permits...

But, this video represents the "you gotta start somewhere" mentality, in that it is the first sign that someone might indeed come along and shoot a video of me and then post it to Youtube, and it will go viral, etc. etc. and then, move over Ed Sheeran, because I can sing about heroin addicts and girls from Galway, too (or whatever his name is).

A person would have to hold their phone a bit closer to me, though, this one was shot from Lilly's stoop, 6 feet away...

Other than that, it is Monday, the first day of the year, I have just over 3 days to wait until my food stamp money comes. Those 3 days are forecast to be around freezing in temperature; and so the food stamps will indeed fulfill their purpose in supplementing the diet of someone who is unemployed.

I'm at Starbucks, as seen above, and not the Uxi Duxi kava kava bar.

I bought an ounce of kratom which I can dip into anywhere without having to go to the Uxi Duxi, where some of the all gay staff can get on my nerves.

I have this belief that, at some deep level, gays cannot be trusted; and will do malicious things, driven by impulses that they themselves don't understand any more than they do why they are gay.

I really get the sense that Nathaniel, the manager is all about the "asthetics" of the place, and if he had his way; he would decorate the place with his choice of patrons, all dressed in their finery. Like plastering up wallpaper he would adorn the place with his exact vision of it.
It's probably a minor irritation to him and probably Dom, a gay employee, when I sit for up to 7 hours at a table in the place, when they would rather have a fabulously decked out, devilishly handsome mysterious dark man with his hair all edged and lined and his sideburns sculpted in a way such as to offset his strong jaw with his sensitive nose, lending to him a gentle yet unpredictable aura, and who would speak with a strange and hypnotic accent, would order expensive dabs and not 3 dollar single shots of kratom, his friends would be supplying the thrilling suspense of being on their way, causing Nathaniel or Dom's spines to tingle intriguingly, and generally providing them with the experience that they were hoping that opening their special little kava kava bar would ultimately deliver.
They had never thought about: "What do you do if like some old guy keeps coming in and his teeth are messed up; and he just totally misses the point that this is supposed to be a gay hookup spot; and he drinks his kratom and, even though he is amusing and say's funny things and seems to know a lot about diverse and esoteric things -would make an excellent barista even, by the way- he sits there on his laptop, part of the scene for hours, and he wears like almost the same clothes every day; no variety, no different looks, the same theme every day...."
Well, first, you can allow Dom to take a full hour break each afternoon. And, you can let him go on it any time between 3 and 5 PM, so that a customer has no sense of what time to show up when the place will always be open.
That Might Fix Their Clock
Then have Dom act out upon the havoc wreaking impulses directed at the universe that have found their way into his heart, having been ingrained through repeated insults and injuries inflicted upon him by a world that just doesn't understand him, by purposely setting the hands on the "will be back at" sign in an ambiguous spot, making it unclear to the scientific minded which time is actually being indicated, and perhaps causing them to waste some of theirs waiting around until the first time that is possibly being indicated arrives.
And then, upon seeing a person from your vantage point of a yoga mat in the middle of the floor, who is pointing to the clock sign with a questioning look on his face, obviously trying to communicate something, ignoring him; as if to send the message of: "We only pay attention to you when we are on the clock and being paid to do so."
This might be how you would make someone (who has just gotten a Starbucks gift card for Christmas) just go to the Herb Shop up the street and buy and ounce of kratom, saving 10 percent in the process and then go to Starbucks to drink excellent coffee with kratom in it, and to do his blogging there....
And to act out upon my own aggressive impulses and make them wonder why I just stopped going there....let them think long and hard about that....
That might fix their clock!!