Sunday, June 17, 2018

Harold Hooked Up With 3.15 Pounds Of Food

Well, I just finished writing a pretty amusing post of maybe 4 thousand words only to see it vanish when my laptop, running on the battery after I unplugged it inside the Uxi Duxi and then moved it to one of the outside tables, automatically restarted itself, for no apparent reason.
The post was basically about how I had a second 24 dollar night, Saturday, having gotten to the Lilly Pad 45 minutes earlier than the previous night, then I talked about the older black skeezer who graciously moved to the other stoop when I arrived, and about how some of the older skeezers "get it" that Lilly's block is a racket for the well behaved skeezer, with a high pedigree of tourist.
I left the Uxi Duxi and then went to my new grocery store, the Winn-Dixie, across the street from the Rouses Market from where I had always unthinkingly gone in the past.
That store has been lucky for me, as I have found the Spider energy drinks there for half the price of every other energy drink under the sun, and one-third the price, if you're a Monster Energy drinker.

Harold Hooked Up

I was in the cat food aisle and lamenting over the fact that, while the Winn-Dixie is "all that an more" with regards to the Rouses, they didn't have Harold's favorite flavor of "Surf and Turf," dry food in the 2 dollar boxes.
For $5, though, I could get a little over 3 times as much.
Harold's food, like death and taxes, is an inevitable purchase for me, and since I had made 24 bucks the night before, I was considering buying the bigger bag.
And then, of course, for just 3 dollars more than that, I could get a ten pound bag, which had Massachusetts trip written all over it.
Another fly in the ointment was the fact that there was a brand new flavor, next to the Surf and Turf, which touted "gravy centers."

Harold loves gravy in any wet food form at all. It doesn't seem to matter if the flavor is turkey or fish or beef, if it is "in gravy," then Harold inhales it. It seemed a lock that Harold would love the "gravy centers," but a five dollar investment on a bag that he might not...

Up walked a heavyset older guy wearing a bikers vest who had long strands of gray hair coming out from under his hat and was sporting a patch over one eye.

"You got cats?" he asked.

"One," I said.

He handed me five dollars, saying "I have five of them!"

I started to stammer, the way recipients of charity will do, out of relief and gratitude, but tinged with a bit of shame over how I could have gotten myself into a situation in which I would accept the money.

I felt like the guy who asks for a cigarette and then after being given one will start to relate a sob story such as: "Yeah, this guy we worked for a couple days this week was supposed to pay us after he ran to the bank and did a couple other things, but he isn't answering his phone," type of stuff.

I was going to tell him, in reference to how I "hated" to take the money that I had unhesitatingly snatched from his hand, that I had been debating whether or not to spend five bucks on a bag of food that my cat might not like, but didn't get very far before he walked off, leaving me with a slight wave and smile that said: "You don't have to explain anything to me, I've got five of them!"

I went out and made 24 bucks Saturday night, matching Friday night's take.

It is now about 9:20 PM, Sunday night.

I missed another opportunity to go to Howard Westra's house for Berta's Sunday afternoon dinner. I'm thinking of writing the guy a letter to let him know I'm still thinking about him, even though Saturday nights have been leading to my staying up too late into the morning to think about trying to get over there on minimal sleep.

I have further broken the fast by having fried a bunch of potatoes in grape seed oil last night. Salt, pepper, powdered garlic and some packets of Taco Bell hot and mild sauces turned those spuds into a pretty appetizing meal...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

"Do You Need Anything; Are You Alright?"

Star Date: Saturday, June 16, 2018...
A great way to break
a six day fast!

I went out and played last night, after having been frustrated by the clock, which seemed to have been racing incredibly fast.

Leaving the Uxi Duxi right as it closed at 8 PM, gave me the feeling that I might be at the Lilly Pad nice and early... 9:30 PM?

Try 11:15 PM.

I had 2 dollars and change, left from the 4 dollars that Bobby had given me the previous night, after I had politely declined the goat cheese, the pastrami and the hummus from him. He had been in one of his "Do you need anything; are you alright?" moods.

He would have given me a bud of weed, except: "I've got one little bud the size of a pea -enough for my tune-up bowl," I told him.

To: "Do you need money?" I answered "I just need to get a can of cat food for 70 cents, whereupon he gave me the 4 dollars.

This made me decide to stay in on that Thursday night, six days into a juice/water fast, and, after hitting the Family Dollar before it closed at 10 PM for said can of cat food, I returned home to do just that.

It occurred to me that 4 dollars just about amounts to a shot of kratom.

Bobby is the type of guy who, (in a well meaning way) will pry into my finances, asking me how much I made the previous night, for example, and then being able to figure out from listening to me talk, where the money probably went, and how much I most likely have left, etc.

He doesn't want me taking advantage of his generosity, like taking free buds of weed from him when I have a pocket full of money, type of thing, and I guess he likes to know that his help is indeed appreciated.

It bothered me when, after I first met him, he immediately asked me about the "voucher" that I get through the Catholic Social Services people. "How much is your rent every month?," he had asked.

I hesitated in answering him, after having had the experiences with people whom I let stay at my place, in exchange for what turned out to be nothing, once they found out that my rent was free to me. "If you aren't paying anything, then I ain't giving you shit!," seemed to be the sentiment. This is part of an institutionalized mentality that is prevalent among the "entitled" set.

At least Johnny B. had given me the promised amplifier, and had thrown in a Beatles "Complete Scores" book turning his inability to read music into a blessing for me. "I can't use this," he had said.

Louise Hellman, standing in my parlor and cussing me out, telling me that she deserved my apartment more than I did, because she too would be a veteran, had she not been kept out of the service due to varicose veins, I think it was, and that the government should have given her disabled veteran status based  solely upon her willingness to have gone overseas to kill "women abusing camel jockeys," but, no, they had given it to "a stupid alcoholic" (who sealed the deal by leaving a soup bone simmering on the stove until it began to smoke, but not even enough to set off the detector) instead, someone to whom she wasn't going to give shit, comes to mind on that head.

Bobby probably figured correctly that, since I had fasted for six days, and had not gone out to play, that I was pretty much broke.

And, he also figured, kind of correctly, that it was probably the shot of kratom that I missed the most, of all the things that I couldn't buy -It certainly wasn't goat cheese- and, hence, the gift of 4 dollars.

I didn't think of it as a shot of kratom when it went into my hand, but only as food for Harold. Then, being able to take the night off, presented itself.

When I was on my way back from the dollar store with $3.30 left, was when it dawned upon me that I would only have to find a bit of change under the couch cushion to be able to go to the Uxi Duxi the next day, Friday.

Friday Afternoon

I wound up bagging up a handful of pennies, sending them through the machine at Rouses Market, and turning them into a paper dollar -much more spendable than zinc- and, while I was there, buying another grapefruit off my food stamp card. Fasting helps preserve the balance on a food stamp card, but, even with starving for one week out of a month, it doesn't last the whole of it.

It was after leaving the Uxi Duxi and hitting the Winn-Dixie for a wholesome drink of juice and veggies, forgetting to get the cat food, then going into Wal-Green's, where I discovered that they had gone up on price on it, then returning to the big market, saving almost 40 cents, but burning time, that I returned home and was shocked to see that it was already 9:30 PM.

Making coffee, changing a couple strings on the guitar, drying out some pot leaves that I had clipped off my houseplant on the stove, feeding Harold the food, picking out an outfit etc. all conspired to shock me once again when I saw that it was 10:30 PM on the clock in the lobby at Sacred Heart Apartments on my way out.

I played from 11:15 until almost 2 hours had passed and made 22 dollars, with a couple of five dollar bills having been my saving grace.

It was difficult to play, in a physical sense. It seemed like my strings were rusty and hard to slide over, and that I had to press extra hard to make chords sound, and that I was consciously thinking about things that I hadn't had to in the past.

It all added up to my feeling like I had worked really hard for the 22 dollars, and thinking that I am going to try to find a job somewhere. Or to make a concerted effort to find more songs that can be lazily strummed, like "American Pie," by Don McLean, for example.

It could mean that I don't have to work
for 11 minutes if I don't want to..

My "amazing" songs, which keep a steady flow of money coming, had me sweating too much for the 12 bucks an hour that I averaged.

I thought about Tanya Huang, and how much easier the violin is to play, using only a hair of pressure on the strings to make the note sound.

But, also how freakish she is in her ability to go for 12 hours on a given day. She is playing pretty much all out, to "impress," and has no lazy equivalents to the McLean song in her set, either.

I am rethinking my previous desire to play with her. And I can understand why Dorise Blackmon used a nylon string guitar, twice as easy to play than a steel string.

I might have been feeling the six days without eating, also.

A new project for me will be to learn as much as I can of the Beatles early repertoire -the stuff they played before they "made it."

And Now, For Something Completely Different...

I promised Bobby, after he had given me the Epiphone guitar, that I would try to get some kind of job.

Bobby feels like I am playing Russian Roulette going out to busk, between the guys trying to grab my guitar and smash it and the ones trying to shoot me in the face with paint balls and the ones trying to take my spot.

He feels that the tourists don't recognize my worth on nights when I come home with 11 dollars or some pittance in my pocket.

Lane, who is working his last day here at the Uxi Duxi, suggested the above website to me.

It is 25 dollars per month to join The freelance writer's den (lower case intentional, I guess) and it comes with a money back guarantee.

Lane has a college degree in "Professional Writing," and is leaving the Uxi Duxi to make "4 times as much" doing some kind of writing in a corporate setting. He described it as basically proof-reading stuff before it becomes published as a manual.

Busking has just been too hard work lately.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Let's Speed It Up Some

One of my dreams is to go way up into the Yukon, hiking for days and finding spots where I could pan for gold, like this guy. He doesn't look too happy, but that might just be his "Get away from here, I found all this gold first!" expression.
The water fast has ended, but has only been replaced by lemon juice and cayenne pepper, a grapefruit in the afternoon with a zero calorie energy drink, so far.

I'm having my first half shot of kratom in a few days, now.

I just read on the Facebook water fasting group page that "deep healing" only begins on about the tenth day of fasting. I feel like a failure.

I figure that I can come up with a minimalist diet, maybe a salad with some brown rice, to fuel my busking over the next few nights, which will keep some money coming in, and will be better than the pancakes with butter and syrup diet that I had, by degrees, fallen into. A compromise.

How can a guy who hasn't eaten in ten days contemplate a cross country journey?

As far as everything else -coffee, kratom, tobacco, pot...I'll just have to accept the fact that I am an addict, embrace it, and hope it goes away on its own some day, I guess. 

Bobby, my friend in building C, opened his refrigerator last night when I was at his place, and, saying: "Here," held out to me a chunk of goat's cheese, some hummus, and some pastrami type of meat, as well as a hunk of some other kind of cheese that looked like a white gob tightly wrapped in plastic. The dollar value of those foods didn't escape me, probably about 30 bucks worth, and a part of me wanted to take them on that head alone. "I ain't gonna eat this shit," said Bobby. It crossed my mind that the stuff -all easily concealable, and all from the same one spot in the market- had been shoplifted by one of his weed customers, who might have been cash strapped. How else would Bobby wind up with expensive items that he never would have bought himself. I can remember drug dealers that I have known in the past, who always had all kinds of interesting stuff that they had taken in trade for drugs. Why not give someone a hundred dollars worth of drugs that cost him a third of that for a thousand dollar Martin guitar that they stole from somewhere?

We Have A Winner
With 240mg caffeine, 200mg guarana, 500% B12, 400% B6, 600% of B vitamins 2, 3, and 5, and 2000mg of taurine, and at a dollar a can, I could probably haved saved myself a thousand bucks each of the past few years, had I discovered this drink sooner.

And I found it only because I decided to depart from convention and go to the Winn Dixie across the street from the Rouses Market.
I had always just unthinkingly gone to Rouses, probably because they have a branch in the French Quarter that I became familiar with.

The message is clear: There are rewards waiting along new trails, so blaze away!

Goat Cheese Story, Continued...

That is kind of what happened to my friend, Brian Hudson.

His Martin guitar went missing, but then he got a call from someone who someone else had tried to sell it to. The guy bought it for a couple hundred bucks, knowing that it was Brian's, and then re-sold it to Brian for the same amount. I guess it was a guy Brian trusted, but, the point is that drug dealers can often run such a side business; as goat cheese brokers, maybe.

I told Bobby that, even when I go back to eating, I was going to try to stick close to the healthiest possible diet, and that it might only be in a moment of weakness that I would eat cheese and pastrami.

Sure, a couple months from now, I might be making my own pizzas, using whole flour, goat's cheese and organic tomato salsa, olive oil instead of partially hydrogenated soybean, etc. but, why rush into it -except that he was offering the stuff for free? There are advisable ways to break long fasts, and the above wouldn't be too bad, but, with myself having had dairy allergies my whole life, I had to decline his offer.

Then, I mused out loud how good a Greek salad, with goat's cheese instead of feta, pepperoncini or banana peppers, black olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and crisp lettuce, would be.

My metabolism had pretty much shut down at that point, and it was hard to imagine even secreting the acids to break down rich, heavy, decadent cheeses..

I went back to my apartment, thinking of nothing but goat's cheese and hummus, and reconsidered knocking on his door to take the stuff from him.

Bobby seems to play the role of the tempter, at times, having given me a cup of his methadone once, to try, for example. "Here, drink this and you'll be joyfully playing for the next six hours!"

That could have led me down the road to becoming a full blown heroin addict. But, in his defense, he was high on methadone at the time and only wanting to share the love. The goat cheese and hummus is the culinary equivalent of methadone, in that regard.

It is Friday night, and my goal is to go out and play, even if that means grabbing a salad and maybe knocking on Bobby's door for the hummus, nothing else.

The McCartney to my Lennon?

Jacob Scardino, a guy who quit working at the Uxi Duxi during his third day of training, wants to jam with me.

He plays keyboards and has a drum kit, as well as the Audacity sound editor, and we are tentatively planning to jam next week. This could be a boon for me, as I know how expedient it is to jam with another person as far as the flexibility of it.

I could say: "Let's try a reggae beat here," and we could try it. If it sounded good, we could hit the record button and proceed.

Working by myself, I would have to stop and program a reggae beat into my machine, and then if it didn't sound good when I played guitar along with it, I would have wasted about twenty minutes.

"Let's speed it up some," is another example.

It bears mentioning that he likes the music of mine that he has heard, too.