Tuesday, January 25, 2022

An Uphill Battle

  •  Planets Align So Rare
  • Sugar The New Crack

I am still feeling the effects of having eaten a box of cream filled chocolate rolls, during Sunday night's football game.

I had actually gone out of my way to not drink or smoke weed that night, though I had had the opportunity to do so.

When I was at the Family Dollar getting some food that Harold could eat, along with some alkaline water and a couple Bang energy drinks was when I grabbed the box of chocolate rolls, which were only a dollar and change.

I thought about riding down to my friend Patrick's house, who might have had the game on his TV, which I was already missing the first quarter of as I went through the aisles.

"In relationships we're so used to complaining about other people,..It's always focusing on the other person. But for relationships to really work, we need to focus on what we appreciate about the other person, not what we're complaining about. When we're complaining about those things we're only getting more of those things." -Marci Shimoff; from "The Secret," by Rhonda Byrne
No Cat Food Burglar

I keep thinking about how easy it would be for me to steal cat food out of that place, especially since I think their security people stopped watching me in there a long time ago.

Surely, when I first started showing up there about 8 years ago, looking homeless with a backpack on my back, with only the guitar on my shoulder giving any indication that I might be the type of homeless person who has some kind of income; surely they stationed one of their security people up in some catwalk above the ceiling tiles, where they could use various spy holes to track my activity; before giving up on that, and maybe switching their focus to others.

What may have convinced them that I'm not a thief is how I repeatedly pay for tiny items that would easily fit in a pocket or up a sleeve and aren't cheap; like 8 packs of AA alkaline batteries that are $5 and the size of a half bar of soap.

So, having gained their trust, it would be easy for me to slide a can of food for Harold up the sleeve of my heavy winter jacket, or wedge one under my belt; but I just can't bring myself to do that. Not even by thinking that I would be doing it "for Harold" and rationalizing it the same way that some BLM looters were expounding the "principle" that they were just trying to feed their families, by stealing Nike sneakers out of some store.

The way I look at it is, although it is largely a matter of pride in the fact that I have never stolen (nor have I ever asked anyone, outside of friends, for a dollar or a cigarette) and maybe that pride is working against me; and causing my cat to suffer. 

I still think that, if I were to get caught stealing a can of cat food then the staff at the store would be inclined to think that I have been in there stealing throughout the whole 8 years or so that I've been going there. As if one dishonest act can negate a whole lifetime's worth of integrity. It was me not going out to busk during that afternoon when the temperature briefly went above 50 degrees that was causing my cat to suffer...

So, I got Harold a can of cooked chicken breast meat; he seems to like it, although I worry about the sodium content (note to self: Google "Is salt bad for cats?")

I had to admit to myself that my thoughts of dropping in on Patrick were mostly about smoking some of  his weed; and not so much to enjoy his company. Realistically, he doesn't really have a personality because of how much he drinks. Drunks are usually their "drunk self," and one rarely gets to meet the actual person behind that facade.

I decided to just go back home without any booze or weed, though with the box of cream filled chocolate rolls, and watch the football game. 

I wasn't going to rely upon anyone else but myself. If I wanted to drink or smoke bad enough, I knew where the French Quarter was and could go down there with my guitar and come up with those things through my own devices. This has been one of the lessons in life that I have learned.

But the cream filled rolls really set me back; and reminded me once again that some of the oils in those things take several days to get out of the system. This is something I wish I had figured out when I was younger and trying to sleuth out the roots of food allergies through "elimination" diets.

I would stop eating something, but would still be suffering a few days later; which might have led me to conclude that that particular food wasn't the culprit, and would go back to eating it.

I feel sorry for people who are taking that drug I see advertised all the time for eczema and psoriasis with the motto: "Hide my skin; not me?!" if they are continuing to eat the same foods advertised on the same channels, but are hoping that the drug will heal them "from the inside," as advertised, then their immune systems are still being triggered by the allergens, but now there is a chemical war going on inside them; the body's natural reaction to the allergens is being rebuffed by chemicals and they are at risk of side effects which could, in rare cases, cause death. Better off hiding your skin, imo.

What should I expect when Jeopardy is sponsored by a big drug company?

Then, I made it home to find that Jacob had texted me. He seemed to be in a good mood and said that he was about to take his daily drive.

I suggested that he could stop by here and we might go up to A206 and jam with Don (previously referred to as "JR") to which Jacob replied that that would be an activity that would require us smoking weed in order to fully appreciate.

I had to realize that, since Don keeps a gallon of whiskey and a sack of weed in his place at all times, I was kind of doing the same thing as with Patrick. I might have thought it would be a goof to go up and jam with him; recording the results on Jacob's phone, so that some goofy sound clips of Don's drunken playing and whooping it up in general might be used as samples in future music projects.

But, as fate would have it; Jacob never got back to me, so that became a moot point and I achieved another day of sobriety.

Jacob had been in a car wreck during his drive.

Last (Monday) night, Don fell down a flight of stairs and broke his guitar strumming arm. I just happened to encounter him at about 2 AM when I was going outside to let Harold in. It was raining and about 48 degrees.

It seems that Don was on his way up the flight of stairs when he had fallen down them. It was probably his attempts to break his fall with his right arm that led to it becoming injured. At first I thought it might be his normal, nightly fall after his draining a certain amount of the gallon of whiskey; but realized that this one was more serious when I saw him using his left arm to try to pick up his right one, which seemed at an odd angle.

It was only then that I went and called 911; even though I worried that doing so might draw unwanted attention to myself; as in the police running a routine check on me to see if I have any history of pushing people down staircases, and them finding some old warrant out of another parish and maybe arresting me, so they could force the vaccine upon me at the jail, or something. That would have been a far out, paranoid suspicion just a couple years ago...before The Great Reset went into motion.  


Friday, January 21, 2022

All About Braving The Cold

It was 35 degrees, according to the news that I put on the TV at about 7 in the morning.

I had woken up and done the Wim Hof breathing exercises, but only after having had a cup of coffee. Wim drinks coffee in the morning, but does his breathing first.

Then, he gets into a tub of ice water and goes into deep meditation to regulate his body temperature manually, I think. I'll have to watch a few more of his videos.

The fact that the hot water went out in our building for about 4 days last week, I took as one of those fortuitous coincidences that befall the practitioners of The Law of Attraction. Before I went up to the lobby to complain and inquire about the water, I had decided to watch the rest of a Wim Hof video that I had paused; and the very next thing he recommended was that, people who didn't have large tubs full of ice, could take cold showers.

The idea behind the ice baths was simply stated by some qualified medical guy with his own videos about Wim's videos by pointing out that, upon jumping into an icy body of water, the person's entire focus becomes upon gasping for air; and all the petty concerns and anxieties, such as "did I put food in my dog's dish before I left home" suddenly disappear.

Right now, I have my fan sitting on the counter next to the stove which has each of its burners turned to about the level of 3 out of 10, and the fan is blowing the air off the stove and into the rest of the apartment.

I was able to make it all the way through last winter that way, since there was really only about a month at most that I had to do that. The maintenance people never made it here to look at my heating and air unit, that year.

I put in a work order a couple weeks ago to have it looked at again. I suppose if I told Missy the building manager that I was using my stove and a fan to heat the place, the heating and air guy might appear. I used to have the schematics for the thing, as they had been left behind by someone at one point; but I would have needed at least a volt-o-meter with an ammeter and probably a soldering rig in order to have fixed it myself.

At least if the fan were to fall backwards and land on the stove and start to burn, the smoke alarms wouldn't go off; I ripped all of them out of their sockets because they were way too sensitive, and would go off if I left a pan of rice on the stove too long and it started smoking.

Where There's Smoke, There's Ire

That would require the fire department to show up, as per their regulations, which was a pain in the neck for all parties involved. One such time the firemen reported that I had "fallen asleep" with something on the stove; when actually I had been in the other room and had heard the sound of the water boiling out of the rice, but by the time I made it to the pan, the stuff on the bottom had begun to smoke; and that had been enough to set the alarms off. And enough to get me written up for a violation of my lease, under the false accusation of having fallen asleep. I think because the firemen saw wine bottles in the apartment, they made that assumption.

A plastic fan would make a hell of a lot of smoke and would burn pretty hot for a long time. Definitely enough to set the wooden cabinets above them on fire. Still, smoke inhalation would be the real danger. But that's why I run the fan on its lowest setting and brace the back of it against one of those cabinets. 

I learned about burning plastics when I was homeless in St. Augustine and there was a crazy guy who had a campsite near me who would throw huge plastic pallets on his bonfire during the winter, when temperatures might have dropped to around freezing. His fires eventually dried the leaves in the canopy of trees about 30 feet above his pit out enough that one night he set "the whole woods" on fire. The nearby Winn Dixie eventually calculated that they were losing a lot of money from plastic pallets being stolen.

I'm about to make a chilly ride up to the local Winn Dixie for water and juice, I believe. Although I could do my guitar practicing first...

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Sunny, And In The 60's

It's a Tuesday, and close enough to Mardi Gras, to increase the number of tourists out there by multiples of normal Tuesday traffic.

I almost went out yesterday afternoon. I could have been playing by 4 p.m. had I left at the time I almost did. The temperature was 57 degrees and was only forecast to go down to 50 by midnight.

I planned upon playing from, say, 4 o' clock until it got dark at about 6:15 o' clock. Then, I would see if I had made enough to spring for a set of batteries for the amp, in order to amplify myself then maybe continue on into the night.

I didn't feel 100 percent, though. Even though I know that the quickest way to get to feeling 100 percent is to busk my way out of the malaise. Resting at home might take 5 times as long to recover, compared to using the adrenaline of playing, and the interactions with people as a catalyst.

But, I decided to do 3 rounds of Wim Hof's breathing exercises, which had me feeling much better; though I was still kind of fatigued from the interrupted sleep I had gotten, full of very weird dreams; in one of which I was dreaming I had coronavirus, and then waking up feeling like I was coming down with something.

Yesterday's post was sort of like flushing everything out of my brain.

I'm not used to waking up at 4 in the morning and then trying to be ready to go out an busk 15 hours later, after being up that amount of time. It certainly doesn't leave any room for any energy draining activities.

The uncluttering thing is progressing along; next I might attack my pile of clothing and get rid of things I haven't worn in over a year.

By about 9 in the evening, the 54 degrees that it was, felt colder because of a breeze, and Harold was at the back door, so I let him in; then thought that I didn't have any food for him.

I did have a large pot that I had steamed some catfish along with kale in, the night before, in the refrigerator. There were still chunks of catfish in there, but it was steeped in kale juice.

Harold tore into the fish, devouring it in its entirety, then licked the plate. Who knew that a cat would love catfish, I thought?

I'm pretty sure the fish got its name from the catlike whiskers on its head.

Harold always liked any cat food that had greens in it. These are usually labelled as "indoor cat" food. The idea is that they are putting in the greens that the indoor cat can't get.

But, I observed that one of the reasons Harold likes to go outside so much, is to eat greens; and so I tried the indoor stuff on him, and he loved it.

They should really label the food "for indoor cats; and cats that love to go outside because of all the greens out there."

So, Harold filled up on the catfish steeped in steamed kale juice; and I was able to rest more easily and didn't have to ride up to Rouses Market and back.

Today is forecast to be sunny and in the mid 60's.

I think blogging is one of the things that might sap some of my busking energy; so I'm going to stop here...

Monday, January 17, 2022

Wim Hof Breathing Exercises

 The Life I Will Be Living Soon

I had been putting off delving into the Wim Hof breathing exercises the way someone might put off going on a diet or starting a jogging program; a quarter mile the first few days; then increasing up to 2 miles every morning, type of thing...
It was probably the nicotine vapes and the alcohol telling me: "We're very worried about being neglected and eventually forgotten about, should you embark upon such a discipline, to be honest with you, Daniel.."
"And, what about us?" complained the white powdered doughnuts in the vending machine near the lobby. "We give you eczema, but we think we're worth it."
The Gab About The Jab
Wim talks about the therapy, for which he has acquired the nickname of "The Ice Man," which involves basically jumping into an ice cold lake; perhaps even through a hole punched through the ice covering it.
His contention is that; when a human being is put in this particular stressful environment; all petty concerns and anxieties are instantly replaced with more root concerns like gasping for the first breath upon being submerged.
Then, the mind's focus upon regulating the body's temperature takes center stage and one can tap into the deepest part of the brain, where functions that science has previously considered to be disconnected from consciousness can be manipulated; things like the immune system, the lymphatic system, the heart rate, etc.
One of the stories Wim tells is of a scientific experiment that was performed on him; where he was injected with some form of bacteria; and was able to consciously rally his immune system against it; and then 15 minutes later, blood was drawn from him that had no trace of the bacteria.
Other tales exist of him spending something like 17 days hiking to the top of some Himalayan peak, barefooted and wearing only a pair of shorts; much to the astonishment of a group of other hikers whom he encountered there; who were all bundled up in parkas and wearing gloves.
It crossed my mind that he, of course, might have been perpetuating a hoax in order to be able to get enough suckers to subscribe to his Youtube channel, so he could monetize it (did he bend any spoons with his mind while he was on that mountaintop? type of thing) and that, instead of floating in frozen water, in touch with his auto-immune system, he was sunning himself on a beach and counting the money.
But, the proof is in the pudding, as they say (although I don't recommend eating pudding, as it is typically loaded with refined sugar and hydrogenated oils).
I have done the breathing thing 3 times now, with 3 "rounds" each time.
The first time I had been guided by incomplete information and was leaving out a few things, like the 15 second "recovery" breath, to be done after the laying there for 2 and a half minutes with no air in the lungs part.
I woke up at about 4:30 a.m. this morning.
It had been a fitful sleep. I had fallen asleep during the football game, with my last memory being waking up briefly to hear that the Pittsburgh Steelers were losing 38 to 14 or something.
I got another couple hours of sleep, after letting Harold in from outside, where he was parked right by the door in the "fending off the cold" posture that cats take when they tuck all their limbs in under their bodies and wrap their tails around themselves. 
I'm sure that Harold would have preferred to do that under one of the buildings, or at least on top of grass and soil that would offer more insulation; and so the fact that he was thus situated on the concrete landing right outside the door to the parking lot meant that he wanted to come inside; or alternately, was doing his own Wim Hof sort of thing; to connect with the deepest part of his "reptile" brain.
It was the former, I assume, by the way he scampered inside with a meow.
He was sleeping next to me when I woke up after the game had ended and "Meet The Press" was being aired. For those who might have missed the early morning airing of it.
The first voice I heard (I wasn't facing the TV) laid out a laundry list of the failures of the Joe Biden administration; giving him the sole credit for the infrastructure bill.
Then the host defended the administration while hurling accusations at "the Republicans," with the overall effect being that nobody was right and nobody was wrong. It was a wash that just left the effect of having wasted an hour listening to "Meet The Press." It had been just fascinating enough to keep me awake through it.
The real problem is the setup through which a few large corporations are headed by CEO's who are making such obscene amounts of money as to become the richest individuals in the world; and that they all have boards of directors, who are elected by stockholders, who vote on what their salaries should be, as members of the board of directors; and that stockholders who hold millions of shares get to cast millions of votes for who should be on said boards of directors; and the whole ship of fools is perfectly content to have shows like "Meet The Press" give "the American people" the impression that the real debate is upon who is right or wrong between the 2 mainstream political parties.
When the real issue should be the dismantling of the corporate structure whereby a few individuals are super rich and looking down upon earth from their own rocket ships upon the suffering of a great number of impoverished people, American and other, the corporate heads don't really make a great distinction; all nations have been brought under their auspices.
So, give the people their "Meet The Press"s so they can tune in and see where "the world" is at; and then can choose a side and take to the streets in protest; one group against another, blithely ignorant of the fact that both sides are being equally screwed by a third minority group of elites. Equality for the masses, at last! Jeff Bezos can look down and see it all pretty clearly from his rocket ship.
But, the silver lining, I believe is that; even the richest man in the world is going to have to die some day and leave it all behind; and all he will retain is his soul; maybe not even that, if he doesn't believe that.
When I was as small as 6 years old, I used to try to imagine not existing.
It seemed impossible to not exist; because how would I know that I didn't exist? I would have to exist to some extent even to be aware that I was gone, I thought.
I would manage to be able to picture not existing for a split second and then would return to my thoughts with a start.
I guessed that the analogy is that people aren't afraid of going to sleep, because they do so, looking forward in joyful anticipation of the next day. They can't wait for it to be early morning with the sun rising and the birds chirping and a fun day ahead of them; why not just go to sleep and not have to while away the hours waiting upon the sun and the birds. That makes perfect sense; plus the fact that, if you are physically tired enough then sleep will overtake you; like a thief in the night, it will come and steal your consciousness.
And so, the 10 richest people in the world are all going to die. And, try as they might to instill their values in their children; who have never seen working blisters unless they are on the fingertips that they use to text on their phones all day, every day; they are invariably going to have to leave their fortunes to them.
And, what is to stop one of their children from concluding: "I'm going to be the total opposite of my father; I grew up witnessing how rapacious and greedy and unhappy at the deepest level he was; and so, I'm going to take the whole 1.4 trillion dollars he bequeathed to me and give it away! 
I'm going to spread it amongst all the people of the world ..except for the white people because they already have their money, it's in the color of their skin..
And, I'm going to restructure all 1,300 corporations that my dad owned controlling shares in, and dissolve the boards of directors and make the CEO a minion of all the workers, rather than the other way around; and turn all the corporations into Co Ops, run by a democracy of the workers; and this will raise the standard of living of everyone on the planet!"
All the money in the world won't buy insurance against a nut case child like that; blame the wife's family all you want...
It would only take one generation to revolutionize the whole capitalist system as we know it...I thought, as I drifted back to sleep, some time after Meet The Press ended...and this up and coming group of screen staring gender fluid types is a fertile ground for producing the next revolutionaries... 
Then, I woke up during a half hour, at least, long infomercial for some kind of generator.

I usually tune out infomercials; but this one kept me intrigued; as it brought me back to what it had been like here when the power went out 11 days.

"Who could have foreseen an ice storm in Houston, Texas?" asked one person who was probably paid for her endorsement. 

But, thanks to her (I-forget-the-brand-name) generator; she had been able to watch her shows and eat microwaved popcorn, while her generator-less neighbors wailed and gnashed their teeth.

In California, the government periodically shuts down the power grid to combat wildfires, or something, someone was saying. 

With the mighty generator, though, all you have to worry about is the fire. Your garage door will still open to allow you to get out of there.

And, on and on, as I drifted off to sleep, with visions of sitting in my 93 degree room with an olive oil based candle providing the only light; and the batteries that I had taken out of my TV remote powering a little pocket radio tuned to the news and info station. All the talk was about the hurricane; which had apparently taken priority over the coronavirus, which was barely mentioned

I woke up the final time around 4 a.m., pretty sure that I had gotten one of the variants of COVID. I had kind of a throbbing headache in the back of my head and some congestion in my lungs.

So, I did 3 rounds of the Wim Hof deep breathing exercises, wondering if Wim would have recommended doing them when sick.

I felt better afterwards; enough so that I decided to sit down and peck away at this blog post.

It's been really weird, lately, waking up feeling something that I have come to associate with "coming down with something," that in the past has been the harbinger of a worsening fever, and a cough, with my lungs becoming more and more congested, so that by the end of the day I just want to wrap up in a blanket and take Alka-Seltzer cold and flu remedy. But this thing just goes away after a cup of coffee; and most certainly after 3 rounds of breathing exercises.

It's also interesting how in the vaccine mandate debate, each side seems to fall pretty neatly along the lines of "blue" and "red" states.

In Massachusetts, (the only state that didn't vote for Nixon in 1972) where my mother lives; the vaccines seem to be viewed the same way we did the ones we all got in school, back in the late 1960's. They were probably mandated, but they didn't feel mandated. We had just put a man on the moon and brought him back safely; and now this very same science was bringing us a miracle of modern medicine; and we would all be protected.

Those vaccines for measles, mumps, chicken pox, small pox, and maybe even "German" measles, were all lovingly administered by school nurses, and we all felt fortunate to be living in the U.S.A. where medicine was so advanced. We were aware that kids in less fortunate countries would just get sick and die. 

We pictured those kids; all skinny, with pock marked brown skin, living in grass huts on poor soil, wrapped in toga-like garments; without the faintest clue as to how to put a man on the moon; dying. 

We knew that every 29 cents that we dropped in the Unicef box placed by the principal's office, would suffice in providing a bowl of rice and a cup of milk for one of them; and that there were courageous groups of people who went out like missionaries, braving the dangers of whatever poisonous snakes were indigenous to their nations; to vaccinate as many souls as possible. Nurses dressed like Mother Theresa. So, we all felt fortunate to be getting first dibs on the syrum.

I Meet Lee Harvey Oswald's 3rd Grade Teacher

Fast forward to 2012 and I was walking through Algiers Point, Louisiana, right across the river, probably on my way to their library, which was one of the only branches that opened on Sundays, and I encountered a slight, elderly lady who was in the process of lifting cases of bottled water out of the trunk of a car.

I offered to help her.

After looking me over, and maybe because of the guitar on my back, she accepted my help; but asked that I just place the water on the porch just outside the front door of the house.

We got into a conversation after she asked me what I did for a living and after I had told her about busking, and after she had said "Oh, that's not a living!" after I told her how much money I "usually" made doing so; adding that it was an alright living if you hadn't any bills to pay.

She said that she had been a school teacher, right there in Algiers Point for something like 55 years. She even had Lee Harvey Oswald as a student in her 3rd grade class, she mentioned.

Her tone was kind of defensive of him; as if he had been a good kid and probably not capable of killing a president of his own volition -he had been put up to it, or was trying to impress that girlfriend he had in Mexico City, who was sympathetic to Fidel Castro.

But, then she started to talk about how an unusual number of her students had died of cancer, with many of them not having even made it through high school. She blamed it upon the Kennedy administration having sent them a polio vaccine that came in sugar cubes, to make them palatable to the kids, I guess. There was something wrong with those cubes, she had always thought.

So, I guess conspiracy theories are nothing new; dating back to at least the Kennedy administration...

She gave me 2 dollars for helping her with her water, which I mentally adjusted, for inflation, to 10 dollars, since she was old enough to remember when 2 bucks was a lot of money, just for toting a couple cases of water a distance of 20 feet.

I couldn't help thinking that; while we were feeling so fortunate in our Catholic school in Massachusetts, to have our school nurse give us vaccines so we wouldn't become like the children on the Unicef boxes; there were those down in the backwaters of southern Louisiana, like this lady who was teaching Master Oswald his 4 "r"s (reading, 'riting, 'rithmatic and rifles) who was also fomenting the suspicion that a high incidence of cancer in the children of Algiers Point could somehow be traced back to "Kennedy's" sugar cube vaccines -not industrial pollutants from other red states flowing down the Mississippi River, that those kids probably ate a lot of fish out of, or anything like that. Nope; Kennedy, and his damned pink sugar cubes!

I don't know if that brings this post full circle from where I started it 9 hours ago; with a short break to go up front to check on the cold water situation; but like the Mississippi River in Algiers Point; this is where it ends.

Addendum: The hot water is not working throughout the whole of building A, and not just in my apartment. I had wondered if they had shut the water heaters off in all the non vaccinated apartments. I suppose me going out on Bourbon Street without a mask and mingling with tourists from all over the world has got Tim the security guard a bit spooked. He can't help it; he spends his whole shift staring at his phone which is giving him a steady diet of CNN and local "news." I've seen the local news the times I failed to shut the TV off after watching Jeopardy and 25 Words or Less; and you would think that we were in the middle of another Black Death, from listening to their newscasts. 

But, I could be triple vaxxed and boosted and still come back here and give it to him. Then, he would just be yelling: "You need to stay off Bourbon Street until this whole thing is over!!" The Tim's of the world are just a fact of life.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Clear Sailing Ahead

Some lady outside Rouses Market was warning me that I had better get myself inside and stay warm tonight. She said that the temperature is going to drop drastically and it might even snow.

She was a lady of color, wearing thick plastic framed glasses, standing next to a cart full of groceries in paper bags. She was waiting for her ride to show up, not for from where my bike was locked to a pole. She stared at a receipt in her hand.

Guessing that she might have been shocked at how much her groceries had been and was seeing if anything had gotten rung up twice or something, I made the comment:

"I've been seeing a lot of people looking at their receipts in disbelief lately," alluding to the inflated prices of late.

She immediately informed me that "Oh, no," that wasn't why she was staring at her receipt; a bit defensively.

At first I thought she might be a lady who considers herself wealthy; and thus, above the economic concerns of an ordinary person. Like, maybe I should have divined by looking her over that she shouldn't be concerned over how much she had just spent. Maybe her thick framed glasses were the $800 kind, or something.

But, once I started talking to her, I realized that she was a practitioner of The Law of Attraction. She accepted that groceries are just high right now, as if it was a fact of life, and then exuded confidence in that she would continue to be blessed with food, at any price; in the same way that she had come by what was in her cart.

After telling me that I had better dress warmly for the impending cold weather; she added "if you're gonna go out and play your guitar."

So, she had seen me before at the Lilly Pad.

Since it was 63 degrees with the sun about an hour from going down, I told her that I was thinking of going out as soon as possible, hoping to get in a few hours before the weather changed.

"You don't understand; it's going to be brutal; they're saying it might even snow!" she reiterated.

Being from Massachusetts, I knew that snowy conditions were a good thing for someone concerned about freezing to death. When it snows, the temperatures hover just below freezing and never drop into the dangerously cold range -something to do with the process of turning water into snow producing heat, I think it was...

I suppose 29 degrees would feel pretty cold when you aren't used to it; but it isn't going to kill anyone.

Once I got home, though, I brought up the forecast, and it seems that the lady (who was talking also about the high grade medicinal marijuana that she is apparently getting) was a day early with her doom and gloom forecast. For it is supposed to drop from the 62 degrees that it is now, to no less than 58 at about the time I would typically knock off from busking.

So, it appears that I have one more night to make money before tomorrow comes and the temperatures go into the low 40's. Thank God it was just her marijuana confusing her, and making her forecast wrong.

I do have to worry about the batteries in my little amp, though. I should have stocked up after Jacob and I made $145 on New Year's Eve. I guess I wasn't planning this far ahead...

Wim Hof Breathing Exercises

It is just about 6 pm. and Jeopardy is coming on; and then I will do a couple rounds of Wim Hof's breathing exercises. 

It has been hard to force myself to do them; not quite as hard as jumping into a frigid lake through a hole cut in the ice, such as Wim does, to stimulate his immune system; but hard for someone who would rather just lay down at the time, and go to sleep. 

After doing the breathing thing I find that I have less anxiety in general; and so I'm hoping that a few rounds of it will assuage my worries about the batteries in the amp, or the guy with the loud sound system that has been showing up on Friday nights and sitting in front of the bar, cranking hip hop music out of the thing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Did I Mention That I'm Becoming A Marxist?

More Light Shed On Eviction Matter

This morning, my phone rang, and it was the lady from the Lantern Light Mission; who asked me a few questions about my living situation, and, without divulging too much of my theory that crazy left wing sheep are conspiring to get me tossed out of Sacred Heart, as a domestic terrorist and "natural immunist," I was able to explain it to her satisfaction; and she said that, since this is a one time "thing," and that I won't become a future thorn in their side every time I have a bad month busking, type of thing; they will be able to pay off the amount that had accrued, behind my back as it was...

So, that gives me a sense of relief, since I think it will be harder for them to cancel me for "giving music lessons," in my apartment; as per the new addition to the lease I signed. They would have to station an agent outside the door to ask people if they learned anything musical from me while they were hanging out, and then subpoena them to a hearing somewhere..

I Learn Something Musical

After I was auto-directed, by the Youtube algorithm, in this universe where there are no accidents, and everything happens for a reason, to a video by economist Richard Wolff, which was from a talk he had given in 2010, and was so fascinating that I just had to see if I could find a more recent one of him -to see if he was still tooting the same horn after all that has transpired in the last 10 years- and wound up watching a lot of his stuff, including some done as recently as a month ago.

When he told an audience about his degrees in Economics from Harvard, Stanford and Yale; and how, throughout all the hours of lectures he absorbed in all those hallowed halls; never once, was Karl Marx ever referred to by any of his professors in regards to his theories being even worth considering.

He said that this was because of the "fear" that those professors harbored. 

And that apparent attempt at cancelling the guy had the opposite effect, as usual, of making me curious about the guy.

Left: I might not be great with names, but I hardly forget a face.

I knew I'd seen Karl before; I'm already a big fan and have watched a few of his Youtube videos. I find him to be quite entertaining, kind of a folk musician; good singer...

I wouldn't have guessed that his is also an author.

I guess I'll start with his "Communist Manifesto" -the one that came up at the top of search results.

I can tell by some of his lyrics that he's kind of into political issues; so the title of his book doesn't surprise me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Mask Nazi Exposes A Conspiracy To Evict Me

Something I had never thought of when, instead, assuming that the staff at Sacred Heart were trying to get rid of me so they could give my apartment to a trans-sexual person of color, or anyone not a straight white male....

They are trying to kick out all the non-vaccinated. Duh! It was right in front of me all this time, like the mask on Tim's face!

Tim, the night security guy, whom I have dubbed: "the mask Nazi," told me so much this evening.

"They need to get all the un-vaccinated people out of here; it's a matter of public health!" he said, through gritted teeth, but, perhaps by slip of tongue.

That explains a lot of things like my never seeing the bills for whatever rent I was being charged, pursuant to my getting the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. That culminating in a lump sum bill being sent after about 8 months had gone by, with a 5 day notice to either pay the whole amount, or evacuate the premises.

Didn't I Just Sign A New Lease?

I was presented with a new lease to sign today, with "Urgent" rubber stamped at the top. I know I just signed a new lease about 2 months ago; I remember because I had to find a blue ink pen in order to do so.

But, here was another one that needs signing.

I flipped through it and noticed that only one thing had been added to the clauses. Now, within the one that deals with "noise" has been added that no "band instruments" are allowed in apartments; and that no music lessons, either instrumental or vocal are now permitted.

So now none of the residents need be bothered with hearing singing or the playing of "band instruments" which I assume means brass horns and bass and snare drums, as in marching bands; but it doesn't specify.

I suppose when I turn sixty in a span of time that I have no reason to believe won't pass as quickly as the last 9 months have; I will be able to roam the world, busking around the globe and only coming back here to cool my heels.

Security guy Tim told me that the vaccines would eradicate the novel virus, just wipe it off the face of the earth; and it would go the way of small pox "If it wasn't for people like you who won't get the vaccine!" He said that the reason the thing is mutating "so much" is because of the un-vaccinated. 

"But it's mutating into less lethal variants, so maybe the unvaxxed are doing everyone a favor.

"Not the Delta; the Delta is still out there, and it's lethal!"

I would have asked Tim what that has to do with the un-vaccinated, but how would he know when the national head of public health, Doctor Eff, seems to be clueless himself... 

And he sits there absorbing everything that comes over his phone; and believes it. Even though we are finding out more and more about this disease as we go along; and we are finding out more and more about what is coming over people's phones.

So, now it seems that playing an instrument and singing are prohibited at Sacred Heart.

That new regulation doesn't seem to be directed at any tenants in particular, though, does it? 

No, YOU'RE all a sham, vwbustube! Well, someone is all a sham. Someone seems more believable... 1.2K likes...that's more than Biden has, isn't it?

Another Magical Outing/ Nothing Free In This World

I had very little motivation to go out, Saturday night, but as is usually the case, I was very glad I did.

Friday evening, I had stepped outside right after sundown and it was probably 40 degrees, which is already a couple degrees too cold to play; and that was right after sundown. So, I made other plans.

Then, stepping outside before midnight,later that same night, to get Harold, I found myself standing in an almost balmy 55 degree parking lot. It had warmed up something like 15 degrees over the course of a few hours.

But, that was water under the bridge. Back in the homeless days, I would have been too bored under the wharf to not at least have gone up to the Lilly Pad, even if just to sit there, bundled up with my guitar by my side, collecting money from people who might realize: "A little too cold to play tonight, eh?"

So, Saturday night, I had not even a can of food for Harold

I remembered JR in A206 having told me once: "I've got cans of tuna fish," after I had used the excuse that I needed to go out and play "to feed my cat," and couldn't sit with him and jam away on 2 chords all night, while he plied me with alcohol and tobacco and weed.

I avoided knocking on his door, initially because I have learned that he is the type of person who tries to purchase the company of others, using those particular items. He would give me a can of tuna perhaps, but would first, after assuring me that he would do just that, insist that I hang out with him for whatever amount of time a can of tuna is worth on the current time market.

So, I knocked on the door of Carlos, who lives on my floor and who has accumulated about 2 years worth of food just from his being in the right place at the right time; particularly in front of the building at such times that charitable people might pull up and announce: "You need any food?" to those lucky enough to find themselves hanging out in front of the building at such times; and so Carlos' supply of peanut butter, tuna fish and macaroni and cheese has become considerable. The last time I knocked on his door asking for anything (some coffee, I think it was) he opened a pantry that was stuffed with food and gave me some instant coffee that was in a bag that I recognized as being the kind that was given to all us residents one Christmas, or something; out of what looked like a pile of at least a dozen of them on one of his pantry shelves.

The economy of Sacred Heart is kind of based upon a barter system that is not unlike what operates in jails, where, people being forced upon one another soon find out who likes what, how much they like it; and what they would be willing to trade for it, type of thing.

It became apparent that Carlos liked coffee and knew someone who didn't, but probably liked something else which was nowhere to be seen on Carlos' shelves. Just as well, as there would have been no room for whatever it was...

Carlos didn't answer his door; so up to A 206 I went.

JR didn't break form. "Sure, I got some tuna fish!" he said, and then dug out a can from behind other stuff on a shelf stuffed with food. He handed me the can.

I had just let Harold in from outside before realizing that I didn't have any food for him, and I left him crying by his dish, as I dashed out on a tuna quest.

I was so out of everything that I took JR up on his offer to roll me a cigarette, using his rolling machine, and his bag of bulk tobacco (which I suspect is bagged up from what gets swept up off the floor after all the Marlborough's and Winston's are manufactured).

It took him a few tries to make a cigarette, as drunk as he was.

During these failed attempts he had a chance to provide perhaps something actually valuable to me when he launched into a lecture about depression, after I had told him that I really didn't want to go out to busk that night.

I guess he hadn't caught the last of it when I added: "...but I have to; because otherwise, I'll wake up in the morning with nothing..."

When I mentioned feeling kind of depressed about going out; and then mused that I should probably take the advice of my once friend Bobby to go to one of the mental health professionals that work in "the system" and to say the magic words: "I sometimes think about taking my own life," and then to start getting checks for $855 dollars for free on the first of every month because of that, after going to a lawyer who specializes in earning 10% out of any such dispositions of funds granted to such individuals (with a bonus for him if he is lucky enough to have someone walk into his office who also hears voices coming out of his heating unit, with it telling him to take his own life affording him a coup de maƮtre, when sending the paperwork off).

But, JR became very resolute at that moment; telling me that he was very familiar with that whole system, and basically giving me a pep talk about how people needed music, and that my going out to play on Bourbon Street was providing a service that "these people sitting around here, getting 'crazy checks' and smoking it all up in crack every month could only dream about being able to do."

That was a surprising moment of lucidity from JR, who, after finally succeeding in rolling me a cigarette, grabbed one of his guitars and handed me another. "You don't have to go out there; you've got everything you need right here. I've got liquor, I've got weed...do you want a shot?"

I supposed I could stand a shot off a bottle of something mixed with vodka that he seems to keep in his freezer, with the "something" being mostly frozen chunks, with the vodka free flowing around it.

I realized, after I had done my best to get some in my mouth, past the ice bound outlet of the bottle, and after he had immediately whisked the concoction back into his freezer, ignoring my entreaty for "one more sip 'cause I really didn't get much out of the bottle," and after he had lit a joint and passed it to me; and after we had done a couple Beatles songs, while Harold undoubtedly stood by his bowl, waiting that I had reached kind of a defining moment in my life.

I started to see JR as the the personification of addiction itself.

"I've got alcohol, I've got weed, I've got plenty of tobacco..." heard through the filter of having gotten somewhat high off the couple hits off his joint, and coupled with this latest perspective of him, shed light upon him by which it seemed plausible that he was being something like Dicken's ghosts of present and future and such. He was Addiction itself, telling me, not so much what he had to offer me, but rather, through how many means he could ensnare me; pick your poison, become my prisoner; sit here all night playing guitar and keeping me company, in exchange of me giving you a shot of vodka every once in a while, or rolling another cigarette at me leisure...

And, so, at a certain point; I had to make a choice. A couple nights before I had not gone out to play to protect myself from myself. I didn't want to go out and play music just to feed all my addictions; but what would I be doing by hanging out with JR all night?

Harold came to my rescue. I told JR that I needed to get the can of tuna that had been in my pocket almost an hour, down to Harold. I defied him (in my mind) to object to that.

He offered to come down to my apartment with me, so we could feed Harold together; then we could return to his place and play more Beatles' songs. He had plenty of tobacco and....

"Harold's gonna get frightened; if some stranger walks in he'll run and hide under the bed..."

So, I went down to my place, happy to see that it was only 10:40 p.m. on my clock, and not something much worse (thank God for the time warping effect of marijuana, I had actually only spent a half hour with JR, though it seemed like 3 and a half).

I fed Harold the tuna, and promised him something better as I escaped from Sacred Heart with fresh batteries in the amp and the spotlight.

It had been the classic fork in the road where one direction is self sufficiency and the other, relying upon others. I realized this as I rode towards the Quarter with no money, or anything else in my pockets.

Then, I managed to put The Law of Attraction into effect and become happy and grateful and had visions of me dancing through obstacles, but with my focus upon a grander goal...

Then, I saw something curious wedged between the trolley tracks and the concrete. It turned out to be a five dollar bill that had been apparently run over by the trolley. It was blackened in parts and Lincoln looked like he had been spending too much time in Ford's Theater, but both serial numbers were legible.

I went to The Unique Grocery Store, where all I was able to feebly bleat out was "It has both serial numbers," after I had waived the proclamation of "It's all the money I've got," letting my obvious desperation say that for me.

"What do you want?" asked the Ethiopian guy whom I have seen in there almost every night the past 8 years.

He wanted me to go and get whatever it was and bring it to his register.

3 shots of brandy, and my change would be $1.70.

"You can keep the change for dealing with that messed up bill..."

He handed me the change.

"Are you alright?" I asked. Hoping that he didn't think he would have trouble putting that bill in with the rest of the bank deposit.

"Yeah," he said. I'm pretty sure they have had to tender currency in even worse shape, at that store. I remember one time there was a guy who painted his whole body red and wore a devil's costume and was having trouble spending his money because his red dye had stained it all; making it look like the lucre from a bank robbery. But, I guess a bill with half of Lincoln's head missing wasn't as bad as that...

I got to the Lilly Pad, after having borrowed milk crates to sit on from The Quartermaster store, which has barred me from entering because of my borrowing milk crates. I told them that I always brought them back after I was done sitting on them and in fact I had actually added to their stock of them by bringing the ones there that I had found on Royal Street on my way to the Lilly Pad on certain nights when I had been so blessed; but they weren't going for that. 

Truth be told, that is a gay owned business, that I believe is looking for any opportunity to bar straight men. On the night when I was confronted by one of their employees, who ripped the milk crate from my grasp, I was with Jacob and we were on our way to the Lilly Pad. I think the employee was jealous of, and probably attracted to Jacob, who was just 20 years old at the time and wasn't helping the cause of me taking milk crates by being dressed and acting in a sexually ambiguous way; so that the employee who was a bicycle delivery guy about my age might have fancied that I was taking a milk crate from them to sit on next to my gay friend who was half our age; and that fueled a jealous rage in him; and he wanted to assert himself, in some way, maybe as if to say: I'm a 44 year old gay loser and I'm not going to let you add insult to injury by stealing one of our milk crates so you can sit on it next to your cute little bass playing friend. Not on my watch! type of thing...

He thought I was mocking him. Look how good I got it, delivery loser!

So, I suppose I am being obstinate by continuing to take their crates (even though I bring them back) but sometimes I just don't find any along the way to the spot, and then can't find any candle boxes in the Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern trash; and so I sneak up and grab one..

I went to the Lilly Pad and realized that I had finally worked the bugs out of my little sound system; the whole idea of the amplifier having been to allow me to sing a lot more softly and not have to "Tom Waits" my way through every song, turning soft ballads into raspy "hey, can you even hear me?" affairs.

The traffic was light, and I really should have been there much sooner; should have just let Harold be patient -I would be back with Fancy Feast Tuna Primavera before you know it, just take a nap- rather than having gone to get a can of tuna from the embodiment of addiction "Come on, let's play some A minor, to E7 back to A minor all night and get f***ed up!" guy.

But, in my attempt to not hate him and to find a silver lining in his A 206 cloud, I found that his words about not relying upon a crazy check, but rather promoting myself towards the good of humanity were a catalyst for me and allowed me to see him in a good light. Ironic that the result was for me to conclude; you know, you're right, I'm not going to sit here and wait for you to spark up another joint or go to the freezer for the frozen concoction every once in a while to string me along all night...

I sipped on the 3 shots of Brandy that the run over 5 dollar bill had gotten me, playing "Brandy," by Looking Glass and finally settled upon the old standby; pretending that Lilly was laying in her bed and smiling and drifting off into a peaceful sleep content in the knowledge that she had let me play on her stoop.

I only made single bills, but they were steady and there were enough "I wish I had more"s for me to continue.

Then, when I finally knocked off, and went to return the milk crate, there were a couple of guys in their 20's with one of them saying to the ether (not the other, the ether; he was staring off into nowhere) "Where's Bourbon Street?" 

"It's under your feet with just a layer of rubber in between," I volunteered.

I went on to explain that, the absence of a street sign was a sure sign that they were on Bourbon Street "Because people steal them so they can hang them in their garages in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma or wherever, as souvenirs."

"Oh, my God, dude, we're from Broken Arrow; how could you have known that; you couldn't have known that; we just got here 2 days ago, we haven't told anyone where we're from!"

"That's where people hang Bourbon Street signs in their garages, what can I say?"

Then, from out of the Quartermaster, where I am barred and through the window of which I could see the dour face of Larry, one of the other employees who used to be my friend, but who sided with the other guy in the milk crate dispute and became hostile towards me, came a few more people, one of which was a young lady, skinny and with black hair like a Celtic girl.

Someone suggested that I play them "off," which was a cool way of saying we want to hear you play but want to be free to just walk away.

I picked up on that vibe and said: "I understand. You don't want to feel obligated to listen to whatever song I play in its entirety..."

Then, after I had gotten my guitar out, I said: "I'd like to play a song called 'Freebird,' in its entirety..." but then added "Just kidding," and then improvised something that I don't recall, but the lyrics were mostly what we had just been talking about. I threw in "Broken Arrow, Oklahoma," and a few other things; and the young skinny Celtic looking girl handed me a few dollars after hugging me and saying that she wished she had more.

I gave a glance at Larry and company through the window before riding off "I need to get a drink now," I had said to the group, looking at the few bucks in my hand. Larry had that look that said: "What can you do, the tourists come first, and if he is entertaining them, as aggravating as it might be to us; it's not a good idea to interrupt their fun..." so let him play a song for them right in front of our business; just keep an eye on the milk crates...

They probably thought I was skeezing and had twisted the people's arm in order that they hear me play. No, Larry, I pulled the exact city that they were from out of my ass; give me a break!

It wasn't over at that point; I had just gotten started.

"You didn't fit in, in Broken Arrow, did you?" I asked, which caused the two flamingly gay guys to burst into laughter.

"This city is made up of people that didn't fit in anywhere else, that probably explains me," I added. "It's like everyone drifted down the Mississippi after failing in one place after another, until there wasn't any further to drift..."

On my way to get that drink; there was that thing which is a large metal frame that supports 3 sets of swings upon which people sit while a grand version of a ped cab rider bicycles them around. The people get pulled through the Quarter and can swing back and forth along the way (see photo at top).

I stopped, and seeing that it was just the guy who owned the thing, and 3 guys who must have been the passengers, felt compelled, bolstered by the 3 shots of brandy, to tell the story that started with; "I'm probably one of the only guys to ever see this thing tip over!" and then turning towards the only guy not in a tuxedo and hence, probably the cyclist, "It was 3 rather portly African American ladies and they were all swinging in unison when you went around a corner.."

The driver, after initially attempting to deny my account (don't be frightening my customers) had to admit that, yeah, I must have been on the scene that ONE TIME that his rig had ever tipped over.

This led to one of them taking out his phone camera and requesting that I play them a song. 

I thought I came up with a pretty clever improvised song about the great crash of the the bicycle swing thing with the 3 portly African American ladies in colorful floral print dresses hitting the pavement. "They were all swinging together and they were all pretty fat and around a corner and down together they went; oh what a ghastly splat!" type of thing.

I only wish that I had noticed that one guy was still filming, after another one standing next to me had moved off to grab a beer or something. He had been in the shot, so I assumed the video was over when he walked off. But looking up and seeing the disappointed look on the face of a guy who still had a phone pointed at me and said "No, keep going; keep going, man" I was only hoping that he knew how to edit videos and could cut that part out.

"I was on my way up there to get a drink, I'm starting to think I'll never make it," I said, before riding the 3 blocks to Fred's Variety store, where I am relegated to going to, now that I am barred from The Quartermaster (gay ass hellhole).

Once I got to that particular store, it wasn't long before, up rode the contraption of a bicycle pulling a large metal framework supporting 3 sets of swings (with its own stereo system).

"Hey, man, get anything you want; I'll pay for it," said one of the guys in tuxedos. 

Fancy Feast Tuna Primavera in abundance; just hang in there, Harold...

What I learned from the experience was, for one, I should have taken a picture of the run over 5 dollar bill, as well as the bike contraption; I had my phone on me, in case I had to call Lilly to run someone off her stoop.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

This Has Got To Come To A Resolution

 Another week has gone by without me having picked up my phone and dialed the lady over at The Rebuild Center who could help me out of the impending eviction from Sacred Heart situation.

The irony is that the people from Unity, back in 2013 saw in me the type of person who would never help himself. I think my late father would characterize me as: "He doesn't even know enough to come in out of the rain!"

And, so arrangements were made to help me get off the street, since it seemed apparent that I was pretty well settled in, under the wharf with my pet rats, my 4 foot alligator, and a black capped night heron that would visit for a few months during the summer, before flying back to Michigan or wherever in late October.

Now, I should probably book an appointment with the mental health department at the Daughter's of Charity Hospital, that keeps sending me information about all the services I am entitled to, as a member of whatever I'm a member of.

I could sit down with a doctor of psychiatry and explain how I just keep putting off making a call that would most likely stave off my being evicted from my apartment.

I originally had a case worker assigned to me named Tim. I thought it unnecessary that he would come around every Monday to do a "wellness" check upon me; and that he would survey me to make sure nothing was bothering me, etc.

He would be just the person to call the lady for me and get me an extension on paying off whatever rent I owe the place.

But, Tim was laid off, so no more wellness checks. Now a couple weeks have to go by and people have to complain about a foul odor before it is discovered that one of the residents is not well.

The current staff, I believe is working against me. Ever since the pest control man let himself into my apartment about 2 years ago, when I wasn't home, to do his spraying, and saw the picture of Donald Trump, which I originally hung up facetiously, and might have even placed over a dartboard that Bobby once gave me.

I returned that to him, so he could give it to someone else, saying that I had enough on my plate with the music and the reading, writing, exercising, jigsaw puzzle making, drawing, computer programming, computer art, computerized music recording, and the taking care of a cat...the busking...without adding the quest to master dart throwing to the mix. Because I knew myself too well. I would invent little games like I once did when I lived in a house that had a pool table in the basement. I used to see how few shots it would take me to sink all 15 balls, and would spend 3 hours a night at it. (I think I got it down to 13 shots; sinking 2 balls at a time during the run).

So, no dart board. But, as time went by, I decided to leave the Trump picture up because I started to see just how reviled he was in certain circles, and for what reasons (or, non reasons) and I started realizing that the people that "just hate" him were by and large the types that I just wouldn't want to be around.

At least one person unsubscribed from my Youtube channel after I posted a video in which the Trump picture could be seen in certain shots; way off to the side, but; there it was...
I haven't heard from one Craig Nelson, for example, who used to comment on this blog since about 30 minutes after that video aired...

And, so the pest man came into my apartment and certainly saw the Trump picture. The next morning I was served notice about the "unsanitary conditions" that were reported, by the pest control guy, who noticed food on the counter in the kitchen and an unkempt litter box on the floor, that smelled of cat feces.

Then, I had to get rid of a couple pot plants that I was growing, after the maintenance guy, who had let himself in with his own key to change a light bulb when I wasn't home -after I had explicitly told the security lady when I would be there to let the guy in- noticed them. The same guy who drop in on Bobby to smoke some of what the latter grew in his closet...
All of these people are African American, except for the pest control guy, by the way.

The security lady up front, a heavyset woman of color will typically inform all the black residents when there is to be food given away; or when there is to be a Sacred Heart Christmas party with a meal served and bags full of hygiene items handed out; but will only communicate to me by contorting her face upon the sight of me, as if she smells something; perhaps cat feces..

And, I always see the maintenance guy hanging around her and talking to her; so it is easy to theorize that if they were to make sure that the monthly notices to inform me that I had to pay 36 dollars per month, out of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance that I was getting the minimum amount of, throughout the lock down, never made it under my door; then the people in the office would start counting me delinquent a month, and then two, then three etc. until such a point that legal measures could be taken to get me evicted...nine months without paying rent? Call the sheriff's office!! type of thing.

So then came the "5 days notice to vacate the premises or pay the full amount" notice. And a couple days ago, I heard a knock at my door so light that I wasn't even sure it was on my door. It sounded like someone knocking normally on one of the other doors in the hallway. But, when I got up off my bed and went to the door, I opened it to see the already escaping into the stairwell visage of Ray, who is supposedly the default caseworker of anyone who's original one was laid off. He is another African American who has never followed through on anything that he talked about helping me with.

It was as if he wanted to be seen on the building's cameras, apparently knocking on my door, to get an update on my rent situation; and then me not answering his knock, had I not happened to be sitting there with no TV or music on. He was doing all he could to try to help me; I just wouldn't even answer my door, type of thing...

But, I guess this has been cathartic because it just dawned upon me that my next step should be to e-mail Heather, who works off-site and is basically Ray's boss. She is the one whom I e-mailed about a month ago and who thanked me for doing so ("reaching out," she put it. How millenial) and told me that she hadn't known what was going on with me. I guess her sending Ray to knock on my door and then slink off hadn't succeeded in contacting me..

So, that is what I will do now; e-mail Heather.

Maybe it will help me stop brooding over the past evening, recounted below, and written before the above stuff...

The Past Evening

The temperature was rising this evening. After I woke up at about 6 in the evening and went outside, it was so cold that I figured I wouldn't go out and play, but would, at some point bundle up in sweaters and jackets and ride up to get groceries; then stay in.

Had I forced myself to go out around 9 p.m., thinking that I would play for as long as I could stand it; until my fingers were numb and I started missing notes; I would have noticed a blessing of warm air blowing in and probably would have gotten in a couple hours of playing and would have made good money.

This shot, taken at 2:14 in the morning, tells me that I would have made good money. The full video shows people stumbling around laughing and enjoying weather that has seen the temperature rise about 15 degrees from what it was when I made my fateful decision.

Part of me was struggling with the inner conflict that comes from knowing that, as soon as I made money out there, I would be running for a half pint of brandy, then returning to the playing spot, where someone would surely come by with a lit joint and offer me some; and then on my way home I would buy a nicotine vape. Picking up a couple cans of food for Harold would become the only noble purpose my foray out into the night would serve. I would probably stop on the way home to replenish my kratom supply with a 3 ounce bag, out of the money I surely would have made on such a beautiful night.

This has got to come to a resolution. 

If I can't go out there with just a liter of spring water and play music without smoking or drinking, then I might as well apply for a job at the Winn Dixie.

I guess one improvement I could make immediately would be to not stay up until noon and then sleep until 8 p.m. and be faced with having to go out and play before I am even fully awake. I've done that before and it has always worked out, though. I found myself fully awake and glad I went out; and shuddered to think of myself staying in and watching YouTube all night...

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

A Fresh Installation, A Stroke For The Uncluttered Existence

There is something liberating about having had the hard drive crash.

I had already been moving music off the hard drive and onto USB sticks; had been considering deleting all the porn off the computer and, outside of photos that were taken using this laptop, and thus resided in the "webcam" folder, there was nothing on my drive that can't be found online and replaced. Even the best of those photos found their way onto this blog or onto my Facebook page, or were sent in private messages.

Even the latest music that Jacob has shared with me is still on Google Drive and I can have it back in my new audio editor (downloading now) with a few clicks of the mouse. I had moved all the old music onto the desktop computer which I use the monitor of as a photo display, with pictures randomly changing every 10 seconds or whatever. All of those pictures, along with the music, were saved from the disk crash.

It is said that people who have lost their phones these days have become like fish out of water. They have nothing to do with their hands, they find themselves reaching for the non existent device whenever they need to think about anything new that they might encounter. What is that? ...well, let me Google it...oh yeah, that's right, I can't Google it; I lost my phone...

They are missing out on the whole world; out of touch with the reality of their hundreds of friends...

Right now, I am downloading a new operating system. I suppose being on this blog is hindering the progress of that to some degree, as these blog posts auto-save every 20 seconds or whatever I have it set to.

The dialogue box is telling me I have an hour and 13 minutes left on the download (but it had been telling me 37 minutes before I started editing this).

Oddly enough, I find myself in the same boat as the guy who lost his phone because I had the notion to call my mom and chat while the download was going on; but had to catch myself before I dialed the phone -I'm using the hot spot on it to download Ubuntu Studio; making a phone call would sever the connection...

It has been a great blessing to have unlimited data through the government phone. I suppose it is a public service to those of us who are struggling through the pandemic to be able to shelter in place and watch Youtube night and day.

Or, the cynical might say that it is a way to push propaganda upon us through our phones. The "free" unlimited data has to come through Google, installed on an Android running phone; and through the T-Mobile network...

So, the framework for censorship and the mind controlling of us are in place.

Unless acted upon, the phone will greet you every morning with the latest "news" from MSN. So, essentially Bill Gates and company will be keeping us all informed, for free, every minute of every day; unless we lose our phones, but, that would be ...unthinkable....

So, with Ubuntu Studio, I will be getting a whole new DAW (digital audio workstation) in the form of Ardour5, which is like Audacity but has even more bells and whistles and uses the "Jack" (Jack audio control kit) which takes maximum advantage of the "low latency" kernel that Ubuntu Studio runs on top of. After all, that flavor of Linux is optimized for audio/video work, and has tools for doing 3 dimensional animation and basically anything you might see in a movie theater can be created at home using the same software. I feel like a laggard for not having little animated cartoons running around in my music videos.

So, strike a blow for The Uncluttered Life

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

More On The Crash

Thankfully, I had a USB stick which had a minimalist version of Ubuntu Linux on it, called Lubuntu -a contraction of "light" and "Ubuntu," I believe.

Bourbon Street passes the "at least 10 people test."

This allowed me to boot the laptop up using the stick. At that point, I could find the hard drive, which was listed as being 100% full.

I suspect that the latest Audacity which is version 3.3 or something, has some kind of bug whereby it doesn't delete the temporary files stored on the hard drive when it is done with them. An example would be, if you are adding reverberation to a track, it will store the original in a temporary file; in case you change your mind and undo the reverb, so it can resort back to the original. My theory is that these were not being deleted when Audacity was closed. My hard drive began filling up as I used Audacity.

I had purposefully moved a bunch of stuff off the drive and onto USB sticks so as to give myself a "workspace" of about 16 gigabytes. This should have been plenty space to work on files that were one twentieth that size, even if they needed to be duplicated a bunch of times to allow for undoing actions.

I will be patient with the drive, for there are several ways to skin a cat...oops, Harold just read that last line over my shoulder and is under the bed now...

There is a hard drive repair utility that can be downloaded and must be placed on a USB stick, then the computer is booted off that stick so that the suspect hard drive can be worked on.

One of the error messages I got was something like "An attempt was made to write outside the disk." That doesn't sound like something the operating system would attempt to do; and so I suspect there is a bug in the brand new version of Audacity.

I will have to find the "boot repair" program and put it on a stick. Then maybe I can get a more comprehensive diagnostic message, hopefully telling me that some file was corrupted and I will be able to re-write the boot up sectors of the drive, including that file, and once again access the whole thing.

Funny how, as I pondered just what it means to have one's whole hard drive wiped out, it occurred to me just how most of the stuff had gotten on there; which was from being downloaded off the Internet.

The "Documents" directory was mostly a bunch of Wikipedia pages on things that I planned upon reading. There was a "Perl" subsection that had all of my programming stuff that was going into my text formatting thing that I was attempting to upgrade.

That was the script that I could run these blog posts through, and it would render the paragraphs in different colors, after enlarging the first 3 words of each. It would boldface all the nouns, such as persons places and things that start with capital letters. Then, at the end it would give a word count; as in: "You have just read 1,749 words," or something.

Then, the second "module" of it was the dictionary creating part. That would go word by word through the text and check to see if each one was already in the "dictionary." The dictionary would, thus, become a dictionary of my vocabulary, with an entry for every word that I have ever used, based upon me feeding all my blog posts, going back to 2006, through the script.

I was up to the point where I was trying to get the program to reject all the XML type stuff that the Blogger "feeds" come in.

These "markups" always include characters that aren't alpha-numeric; and so getting the program to not recognize these as things I have written was about the point I was at when the hard drive crashed.

But, in recent conversations with my childhood friend, Dave, I learned that he makes his six figure salary by working with Python, and not Perl, which I was writing my script in. He said that he could offer me all kinds of help in Python, and so I decided to re-write the whole thing in Python, and learn that language while I was at it. So, having the whole hard drive wiped out is seeming less and less a tragedy as I ponder it. 

Go Busk, Young Man!

Right now it is Tuesday, the 4th of January, 2022 and it's about 8:34 in the evening; I'm pretty sure the batteries in the spotlight and in the amp are OK, and so I might go out to play; since I can do this any other time...

The Singing Bird Clock just chirped 9 PM...time to see what the Lilly Pad looks like...

Monday, January 3, 2022

The Crash Of '22

When it rains it pours, it has been said.

My 2021 ended with the hard drive in this laptop becoming unreadable, and so I took it out and put in one of the hard drives that I had found in one of the many computers that have been thrown in the dumpster here.

This gives me a chance to build back better, in a sense.

At least I had cultivated the habit of saving all my daily music dumps onto a USB stick, and moved a lot of other things onto sticks to free memory for working with large Audacity files.

It was in the middle of using Audacity that I ran into memory issues.

In the back of my mind I think the problem is that the computer thinks that the hard drive is full, but that this is being caused be the latest version of Audacity that I had recently upgraded to.

I'm going to start with this fresh disk; and start from scratch.

At least Firefox the browser remembers all the logins and passwords to everywhere I go online; and I guess I can sit on the bad hard drive while Googling the particular error codes I was getting.

But right now we are in the middle of a cold snap and the temperatures are hovering around freezing. I'm about to locate the only gloves I own and ride up to the Winn Dixie before they close in another half hour or so...
Then, I will have all night to post here about starting the new year with a freshly formatted hard drive...

There is a good argument for working exclusively in the cloud, as far as being able to recover stuff that is automatically backed up there. The only drawback is that Google would then own all of your data and be able to reconstruct your brain using it, and make a robot that would effectively walk and talk and think just like you...

Friday, December 31, 2021

Computer Geek Blues (live from Lilly Pad)

I was messing around with this audio file that Jacob sent me from when we played Christmas Eve at the Lilly Pad.

"Computer Geek Blues" is about a fictitious computer geek who is going to be from Walnut Creek from now on, even though in this version of the song, he is from Fountain Valley, California.

He steals a fictitious girlfriend from a fictitious guy; and the song attempts to describe how that would go down...

Time crept along until it was midnight when I arrived at the playing spot; without the amp and microphone, just the spotlight.

I made 32 bucks in right around 80 minutes of playing.

It was good to know that I can make money playing without the amp; people just stand a little closer.

I have all kinds of ideas about what kind of songs to add to my list; I've been limiting them to a few keys that match the harmonicas. A really good player can get something like 5 different keys out of a harmonica.

Well, I've been up all night after getting home; and before I know it, it will be time to go back out; this time with fresh batteries in the amp and the spotlight; and hopefully a brand new song. I have just about learned "Half A Person," by The Smiths.

If I was smart, I would find all the songs I can that have harmonica in them; maybe by Googling; "which songs use a D major harmonica?"

I'm pretty sure "Heart of Gold," by Neil Young does.