Saturday, August 8, 2020

Monkey Off My Back

 

It's safe to go back in the water, if the French Quarter is a body of it...
I have known that the governor of Louisiana had mandated that everyone in the state wear masks and observe rules of social distancing (bring a 6 foot long tape measure with you everywhere you go, type of thing) and all that.
And that is fine for the regular citizens, the muggles, if you will.
But, in the French Quarter, it is business as usual. The bars are open and are, at least, giving a nod to the whole situation by placing some of their tables out onto the sidewalks and having people consume their drinks while standing in the street, six feet away from the next guy, or whatever.
Like a turtle just crawling out of its sand tunnel in order to rush to the ocean to lay eggs, or something, that "something" possibly being female turtles, I am just now discovering things online that are kind of like communities, where like minded people with similar interests coagulate in support of each other. I am wondering, not if I can have a novel in Barnes and Noble, but if I can somehow maybe become a coach to some of the aspiring writers whom I could actually help, mostly because of the precipitous decline in English Usage standards that has afflicted the latest generation of thumb writers and screen starers...
But, New Orleans is where something like 77% of the state's "revenue" comes from and so, let us handle this pandemic, just stay out of our way, type of thing.

So, I will possibly go out and busk tonight, although it is storming outside now at 1:25 PM, when I am usually waking up.
I stayed up all night reading "Bicycle Diaries," by David Byrne, the Talking Heads guy. It is an OK book (the guy uses the word "implying" a lot, though).
It's hard for me to read it without hearing his whining voice singing, rather than narrating, the text with a typical Talking Heads style bass and drum thing going on behind it, the entire time.
 
Well, people, as I peck away now I haven't slept in almost 24 hours. I do that a lot. I am afraid that I won't wake up with the same zeal for whatever my "passion" at that moment late at night might be.
It feels like "now or never" when the creative bug strikes. But really only when it strikes immediately after smoking a joint. Then, you can be pretty certain that you aren't going to wake up after eight hours of sleep and all the THC having gotten out of your system, with the same piqued interest in knocking out that song about the dust mote (a metaphor for planet earth, or whatever the weed would have it) as you might have had while still wide awake and with the guitar tuned and the amps warmed up, etc.
 
There was an absolutely beautiful Yamaha keyboard at the Goodwill Store a couple days ago and it was marked $39.99 on it, and I didn't buy it.
 
Nothing good last forever, and the thing was gone the very next day. Of course it was. It sounded so good to me that I thought me perceptions were off; like maybe in contrast to the ugliness of the Goodwill Store, where a white man is commonly seen as someone who is trying to parlay his already considerable advantage over his darker brethren due in part and parcel to the whiteness of his skin, and was in competition with the downtrodden victims of white society that at least have the Goodwill, where a nigga ain't gotta pay like fifty dollars for a damned nice looking pair of kicks, know what I'm sayin?
It's a shame. And I am thinking that I might should never go back there. They are right. Why should I get a really nice silk shirt for 3 dollars plus tax and deprive someone who might only have 3 dollars to his name and just needs a decent shirt because he's starting a job the next day and.....
Whoa, sorry, I got off into fantasy land there.
But, I can as a matter of fact say that I have been the victim of non verbal hostility inflicted upon me by African Americans in the Goodwill Store.
There was a guy (whom I know I blogged about) who shook the book rack that I was staring at a few feet away because, I believe, I hadn't acknowledged him.
Not after he had made some verbal noises, which consisted of reading book titles aloud and then offering up commentary about what he surmised the book to be about, but they were disjointed things like: "'Fedora's Italy' now, why I want to go to Italy, what's in Italy?" which I am guessing proceeded from him having seen that particular publication which I had seen myself.
But, I was standing upon the principle that a man should be able to go to the store and look over books and not be bound by anything to turn his attention (especially when the store is closing in ten minutes and he is trying to quickly scan the whole fifty foot, four tiered rack) toward some guy who may or may not have been trying to interact and strike up a conversation through his ejaculations of book titles and then ensuing quips.
And he was black and he shook the rack. He actually grabbed the thing and rocked it to and fro so that even the book I was staring at suddenly looked like it was in San Francisco during the big one; maybe 7.2 on the Richter scale, so that the title was slightly blurry.
But, yikes, I sure did mess up not grabbing that keyboard because my unemployment money came the very next day and that thing had sounded great.
 
Well, readers, I have to go. I have just received an email (above) not from the president of the United States directly, but through his people. And, you know, since I became a top supporter, I got a nice stimulus amount added to the bank card that I was already getting what I thought was to be a paltry weekly amount.
Well, I had better go and take the poll and, yeah, contribute something. The cool thing about it is any donation at all kind of shows loyalty I guess. And then I get a nice bonus out of nowhere, in the form of a stimulus...hmmm.
Geez, Don, I was going to contribute 5 dollars; I like my stimulus checks appearing out of nowhere onto my unemployment card balance; I was just going to take a screen shot. That's why I moved my mouse pointer up to where the "take a screenshot" menu is.
I wasn't leaving. I wasn't becoming disloyal. Never a traitor, I say!

"I would like Daniel to keep this box checked; let him know that; or you're fired.

That is SO Florida that he is (less than presidential quality if you ask me) Photoshopped in front of.

That is a very important state. And one that still resonates with the Bush/Gore debacle back in 2004, I think it was.

Come on, retired wealthy Floridians; you don't see any colored people in your front yards, notice that?

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Guest What?

A piece of paper fluttered to the floor in the hallway, after I opened my door to see about a noisy child just outside my door.
It was about 4 PM, on a Tuesday when I had woken up at almost exactly the time I wake up if left to my own devices.
These devices usually were the beginning of the consumption of alcohol just after sundown.
The setting sun makes me crave a drink.
This might be due to the 12 years or so that I was homeless and slept outside in various locations.
I made my living (or my alcohol, if you want to look at it that way) by busking, and so, with the setting sun, the world became that much more dangerous as the creatures that only come out at night did so.
And so to fight back, I would begin to steel my nerves with Steel Reserve, if I were pretty broke, or something much nicer like Torpedo IPA ale, by Sierra Nevada Brewery, I believe.
This would run the typical course of having me set up and jamming away at the spot near the Lilly Pad that I had to knock off playing at at 10 PM, as per an agreement between myself and the guy who slept in a room right behind where I played in front of a lamp post. It was an old fashioned "period" lamp post which had a gas light in it, and which was out of commission for more than a year at one point (after a drunken reveler had shimmied up the post and stolen the light, or some part of it to take as a souvenir) because the replacement had to be the same exact replica of a 1770's era light which the stolen one had been.

But, I would have to start playing around 8 PM under the replica, so that I could get a solid 2 hours of playing in before the guy went to bed behind me.
This would give me an average of about 30 bucks, as I was at the earning level of 15 bucks an hour, in that spot, at that time, using the harmonica skills that I had at the time (after I made a marked improvement in the harmonica playing, which also included buying more expensive ones than the glorified toys [Hohner Ol' Standby's] the average rose to $18 an hour; though that improvement also coincided with my moving over to the stoop of Lilly's where I played the different time slot of 9:30 PM until 12:23 AM).

The "12:23 AM" became just like the waking up at 1:30 PM without the aid of an alarm clock.
Night after night, after having followed the routine which was regulated only by the first alcoholic beverage being cracked open at the crack of dusk, and then further cemented in place by the ritual of smoking a bowl of weed while tuning the guitar at 9:30, there would come a time when, after playing hard for x amount of time, I would discover, upon having the first impulse to knock off for the night, that it was 12:23 PM, according to my phone.
This was the biological clock that was set with the consumption of alcohol, beginning at sundown, and then the bowl smoked at 9:30 combining to fuel 173 minutes of spirited busking.
There were times when there were still so many people out at 12:23 that I would "reset" myself by drinking a Bang Energy drink and smoking a second bowl. This had lead me to busk for up to an additional 2 hours on some of those nights, and to sometimes make 3 times as much in those last 2 hours as I had done in the first 173 minutes of playing.

None of the above would be of any interest to anyone other than a busker, I realize, but I guess it's in keeping with the theme of the blog.

The subtitle used to be "Can a guy remain sober enough in the French Quarter to make a living busking?" or something.
Before that, it was: "Documenting my ascendance from street musician to superstardom" or something.
Right now, it is "A journal blog that will hopefully shed light upon what it takes to make a living with just a guitar and a tip bucket" or something.

But, old habits die hard, and it was right after waking up at 1:30 PM almost to the second, without having had the aid of an alarm of any kind, again, that I heard the child fussing in the hall, and opened my door to see the piece of paper flutter to the floor and land not far from the nice Sonia, who was wheeling the source of the fussing towards the elevator. We exchanged pleasantries.
I see Sonia often at the Family Dollar, where I am not sure that she doesn't shoplift, using the same baby stroller and fussy baby as a means of exporting merchandise from the place. She may go in there with the stroller laden with artificially inflated "dummy" packages of diapers, and then swap them for real ones, once in the aisles.

There seems to be some sort of human right to not have your baby searched by store security people, or maybe it is in our DNA to not persecute i.e. prosecute the lowly single mothers of the world.
But, what is a human right if it can't be abused by the likes of the illegal immigrants, whose acumen is keen when it comes to treading upon the lives liberties and happiness of others by wielding their own such rights as a weapon.

There was a Puerto Rican lady that I knew from when I lived in "the projects" in Massachusetts, who would enter K Mart pushing a carriage that you would never know had a baby in it, unless you walked up to it and looked down into the bottom of its well (baby holding area).
But, after she had pushed the thing around the store for a while, she would leave the same way she came, but by then the baby would be propped up as if he were the infant king of some country.
He would be riding high, at least 3 feet higher than when he was pushed in, atop neatly arranged items of merchandise from the store.

If you needed something from Cathy, as that was her "name," all you had to do was place an order with her, and then give her half of whatever the price was that was marked on the thing.
And this went for just about anything in the store.
One time I actually told Cathy that I was in the market for a set of 6" x 9'' speakers. I had run into her in the store.
"The only thing is, they have them all locked in a glass case," I lamented.
"That's OK, which kind do you want?"
Well, I wanted the very best ones they had, the Pioneer brand that was listed at $279 a pair.
So, Cathy (eventually, because it was K Mart) was able to get a red coat clad guy with a set of keys to come and unlock the case full of speakers.
He unlocked it, and then kind of lingered around, keeping an eye on her in a sense, but mostly just waiting for her to finish so he could re-lock the case and be on his way.
Cathy had pulled a few of the boxes out of the case, and then stalled by putting her phone to her ear and then having an imaginary conversation with someone to whom she started reading specifications off of the different boxes, placing a box of the Pioneer ones that I wanted very close to the baby carriage in the process.
After a few minutes of her saying things like "25 watts RMS, it say's..." or "These ones are round, they're not oval..." etc. the guy who had unlocked the case, within about a minute, had his attention momentarily drawn by another customer who had asked him a quick question, causing him to divert his gaze for a few seconds.
It had been the few seconds that Cathy needed because, using a side compartment that had been snapped open, she whisked the box into the compartment -the baby having already been propped up to accommodate this- and, in the same motion slid an identical box to the spot where it had been sitting.

The guy, who had only looked away for a few seconds, looked back to see "the same box" of $279 speakers, still sitting there, at the same angle and with the same side facing him. David Copperfield would have admired Cathy.

Then, apologizing to the red coat, and thanking him for his trouble; she told him that her husband was going to have to come to look at the speakers; that she was afraid of getting the wrong ones, or something, and off she went, pushing a baby that had a bird's eye view of his surroundings now.

Sheets and curtains and other "households" were popular with the Puerto Ricans, who all kept apartments that were decorated like rooms in a palace. Surroundings fit for the infant kings that lived there, I guess.

And, so I think Sonia, who used to live 3 doors down from me, but who has moved to a better apartment, is in the same racket.
I have seen her exchanging diapers for money at the door of other women residents who were raising welfare babies of their own.

But, the notice that had fluttered to the floor was to announce that, while the Sacred Heart management was striving to keep the apartments safe from the COVID19 thing, they also didn't want us to be isolated and lonely and so, with this in mind, they are going to start to allow us residents to have 1 guest per month.
At the end of the month, we can extend that guest or pick another one.
And then that person just needs to show up wearing a mask and be on the list.
They can't visit any other apartments, though, than the one they are listed for.

This is going to start soon -I must have tossed the notice out, maybe after having used it as a makeshift dustpan while sweeping up- but I will check.
Then, I just need to decide who my guest will be for the next month.
Maybe...


Or
Perhaps...

I don't think so...
Or
Monday, the 10th, the return of Jacob


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Public Intellectual Activity

  • Happy August
  • Living High Off The Hog
  • "The French Quarter Is Packed" -Sacred Heart security guy, "Tim," when I got back at around 12:30 AM, early Saturday morning
  • Did I Mess Up By Blogging That The French Quarter Was Collectively Eschewing COVID19 "rules?"
Is it really less than 72 hours before the next food stamp amount is added to my card? Pinch me; I must be dreaming.
What has happened to me has been kind of a complete turnaround from what could have happened to me.
Had I not been able to get a stimulus check of any kind, I would have had to come up with some kind of "workaround," but it is pretty certain that I would have asked some of the friends I had in high school who are now millionaires and live in big houses on hills, from atop which one can see Boston, 30 miles away; if they would wire me some money, like Ted Broughey had done, unbidden.*
*I was in fact on the phone talking to my mom, who had just said something like: "So, you're out of money, huh?" as a prelude to offering to wire me money, with it stipulated that I would have to find some way of producing income for myself, and not rely upon her, when my phone chimed with the message of "$160 at Westen Union..." from Ted, just as my mom was telling me she would send some cash.

I failed to go on any kind of extended juice fast, never mind turning it into a water only fast after the 4th day or so; I never made it past my juicer.

There were a couple reasons for this.
First off; it was just the temptation from having cash in my pocket and having a food stamp card loaded up with 196 bucks, or whatever the exact amount is...

There have been other months when I ran out of stamp money and had to go the last few days of the month eating things like macaroni and cheese, or whatever I could lift from the dumpster outside The Fresh Market on Broad Avenue.
This free food might have mayonnaise (or partially hydrogenated soybean oil in some other guise) and might remind me that, if I had to live off of food like that, I would become miserable within the first week.
My glands would swell; especially the ones in the neck right near the ear, where the neck and jaw meet, and the ones in my upper thighs. I might develop a headache in the very back of my head, where the spine goes into the cranium.
The glands would be working overtime, making white blood cells to fight off the undigested proteins that my body sees as being enemy invaders.

This would give me a "pasty" complexion.

At some point, the itching would start.
It might start as a hypersensitivity of the skin, so that a slight breeze that blows strands of hair against my face would be a source of major irritation.
This is why I could have gotten a "profile" and gotten out of the military at the age of 19 (and probably could have started a life of sucking off of the veteran's "disability" fund) because "eczema" is one of the dis-qualifiers on the list of them.
I can totally see getting my whole platoon shot up because I couldn't hold still in a rice paddy with water up to just below my nose and my forehead itching like there is a mosquito the size of a baseball perched on it.
I can only wonder what path my life would have taken me along had I told the medical officer: "Yes, I would like to be relieved of my military duties and collect a disability check for $505 every month until eternity."

But there have been other months when I had purposed in my heart that: As soon as I get my food stamp money, I'm going to buy prune juice and 4 gallons of unfiltered, cold pressed apple juice and 4 gallons of spring water, and I'm going to fast; maybe until the 15th of the month; maybe the 21st....
And on those months, I had caved in and negotiated a compromise with myself under the terms of: "I won't start a fast, but I will buy fresh fruits and vegetables and will just do maybe 3 days of nothing but healthy freshly juiced juice!"
And that is about the point that I am circling in a holding pattern.
Right now, I am about to go to Rouses Market, where I will use unemployment money to buy an armload of greens, along with carrots, beets, maybe radishes, and I will also pick up 2 cans of beer.

Eczema, Continued...


If I were to scratch this skin, something that I have found to be impossible not to do, it would become inflamed, and the redness would meld with the higher white blood cell content to create a pastel kind of pinkish red, that just doesn't look right, is the best way to describe it.

The skin would die and become dry and flaky, like dandruff of the face, to go with the pastel, pasty, waxy presentation.

This had been a terrible affliction when I was in high school and had to take my place next to the radiant fresh smiling faces of my classmates, some of whose complexions glowed.

But, alas, I didn't discover, until about the age of 16 that I had allergies to dairy and soy.

And this came about through the first time I ever did the "Dr. Christopher's 3 Day Fast and Cleanse and Mucous Free Diet" thing.

The eczema was 100% caused by dietary issues, and after 100% of the antibodies were out of me, I felt 100% better, and; unless something truly amazing happens to me in the future, that would have to go down as the most life changing experience I ever had.

And, what a relief it is to know that, no matter how miserable I might be feeling physically at any given point, a bottle of prune juice in the morning (preceded perhaps by a whole bag of chips with a whole jar of hot salsa -a quick scraping of the digestive track, that feels like) followed by a whole day of nothing but apple juice on the half hour and spring water on the other; can have me feeling pretty vibrant pretty quickly. It's good to know that that resource is in my back pocket.

But it is really hard to fast after having discovered the combination of collard greens, carrots and apples, sent through a juicer to become an elixir, and something that has quelled the depressed feelings upon awakening that I had been more prone to in recent months.
I have developed a ravenous appetite for the stuff; especially after having a couple beers...

Adding a different ingredient to the mix, one day radishes, maybe parsnip the next, seemed to give me the same sense of variety and adventure, that having spaghetti and meatballs one evening, but then maybe baked potatoes with cabbage the next, would give to the more normal food consumer.
That was a very cool find, about halfway through last month.

Being able to walk out of Rouses Market with literally and armload of collard greens, after paying 3 bucks for the bunch; priceless!

Cool Finds
This guy seems to be a man after my own heart

Speaking of cool finds, I have come across another blogger, whose site might just be the one I have been looking for; one where "intellectual" activity goes on, and people seem to be striving for the same "consciousness" that I have been pursuing.
If nothing else, it is a veritable directory of links to a lot of fascinating stuff...
This guy started his blog probably the same day I started this one, in 2006.
He is getting 90,000 visitors a month, though, compared https://morrisberman.blogspot.com/ to my 1,800...
This is because of a lot of things, but mainly because he could be my role model for becoming a better writer.
And then, being able to link to a bunch of stuff so that everything can be fact-checked; and to have a "personality."
"Street Musician Daniel" is an OK persona. Morris goes by Supreme Deity of the Know Universe, or something like that.