Thursday, September 30, 2010

After I had finished blogging, Russell showed up, and we went to the Church Street Graveyard where he interviewed me for a documentary that he is working on. He recorded me playing one of my originals. I am not sure that it came out well enough for me to put it on Facebook or anything, because I hadn't warmed up or stretched my fingers. It was early in the day for me, even though it was 1pm.
That was pretty cool. We ate at a restaurant/art dealer, where worked a poet who has read before at Serda's, during the Songwriter's Open Mic. A poem is close enough to being a song, to be able to read one at Serda's.
Russell agreed to meet me at Serda's, where we would do a song, with myself on guitar and he on harmonica. I decided to polish up a song about the Neil Young concert experience, as I experienced it. I figured the harmonica would go nicely with a song about Neil.
I frantically tried to re-write the thing in the key of his harmonica, and add lots of verses. I drank Earthquake while I did this. The performance was hindered by the fact that we tuned the guitar to the harp onstage, and thus didn't have a lot of leisure to do it. In fact the MC said that if we weren't ready, then he would put the next act on, and we could come back.
I would give the ensuing performance a D+.
I broke my own rules about tuning, and about listening to the whole spectrum of sound.
I was racking my brain for the lyrics that I had penned two hours earlier, while drinking Earthquake Lager, and I was only vaguely aware of Russells situation of having to follow me on the harmonica. I should have repeated the intro a couple of times, instead of going into the lyrics immediately. This would have acclimated the audience to the key of the song. That is a bad habit of mine. Since I know the song, I forget that the audience has never heard it, and could use a couple of runs through the chords before the singing starts. I will have to pay more attention to that.
The poet from the restaurant/art store came and read a few poems.
I wasn't sure how our performance went over. I know it wasn't a huge smash, because nobody was coming up and saying "That was so awesome," or anything like that.
I have an unsettled feeling about it, as if I might have been too drunk on Earthquake to notice that we sounded like crap, if in fact we did.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Miss Vermont
"R. J.," The Heating And Air Guy
This morning, I woke up with $4.93, up $4.61 from yesterday, or approximately 1,540%.
I had slept underneath the HVAC unit around the side of the church, after my sixth sense had told me not to sleep in the exact same place as I have been doing for the past few consequetive nights. I just had "that feeling."
Thomas, for example, changes his sleeping spot regularly, and is rarely in the same place two nights in a row (assuming that nights line up in rows.) He is pretty wily in that regard and probably inherited that particular trait from his grandfather, who very well may have managed to shoot President Kennedy, and then avoid capture.
I decided that underneath the unit was the place to be, especially given the shirt that I found.
There is a company which launders uniforms, and one of their clients must not have paid their bill, or have gone out of business, because the launderers trash bin had a bunch  of shirts of the type that Heating and Air technicians wear, with name tags sewn over one breast pocket, and the name of the company over the other. The shirts were clean. I selected one, after reading all the name tags and choosing an alias. Now, I am 'R.J." (the "repairman") when I crawl out from under the HVAC unit, to whomever might espy me.
I slept pretty well under the thing, and was pretty well hidden from view. I was only startled once, when the unit kicked on at about 5 am. It had gotten down to 60 degrees last night, and I suppose the church needed a little blast of hot air (and there was nobody in the pulpit to supply it.)
Blinded By The Light
I went out on Dauphin Street before that, full of apprehension about my ability to make any money to add to my 32 cents. It was a Tuesday night, afterall.
Much to my delight, I noticed a gaggle of teenagers, most of whom were adorned with plastic tubes full of brightly glowing liquids of myriad colors. They were wearing them as bracelets, necklaces, or just carrying them. This only meant one thing to me: a show at The Soup Kitchen, which is only two blocks from the beer store. I ascertained that this was indeed the case, by inquiring of one of them on this subject. There was to be a performance by an "techno hippie type band." Fine with me.
I positioned myself in front of the peanut store, which is the mid point between The Soup Kitchen and the beer store. I like to play there, because during the day they will run a musician off from there, saying that only a certain combo of banjo and trombone, who are their friends, are allowed to play there. There is a heightened element of adventure, and an added thrill, which arises out of knowingly defying the peanut store's owner.
After a couple of minutes of playing for the glowing youths as they passed to and fro, I had scored a dollar, and went into the beer store to "redeem it." I was reminded that I owe the beer store 31 cents from Sunday night. It is some kind of cosmic joke to me, the fact that when I had woken up that morning, I owed every cent in my pocket, exept one, to the beer store. Some might say that "someone" is trying to tell me something.
Fortified by one beer, I went back to the spot. I was asked by a couple of girls if I had a knife, and if so, would I cut open their glow-tubes, so that they could pour the liquid all over themselves, and thereby achieve a more "glowing" effect.
A Spitting Cobra, Spitting.
I produced my knife, saying: "I live in downtown Mobile, of course I have a knife."
Taking the girls tube (so to speak) and holding it with one hand, I cut into the end of it, wherupon the bright green glowing goo shot up directly into my eyes, like venom coming from a spitting cobra. It stung like hell. I couldn't open my eyes for a few seconds, (enough time for a real cobra to finish me off.) I guess I should have been paying attention to what I was doing, instead of looking past the tube, at the girl. Some might say that "someone" was trying to tell me something. 
I looked at my reflection in a store window, to see if my eyes were glowing like a supernatural being, but they weren't. I would have wanted a picture of myself, if that was the case. Eventually the stinging subsided, and the girls gave me one Camel cigarette, in exchange for all that I had suffered for them.
Russell, The Musician
Then, a young guy stopped and listened to me, as I hammed up a version of "Mrs. Robinson." He complimented me upon my rendition, told me that he would only be in Mobile for one more day (today,) and asked me to jam with him. He is going to come look for me here at the library. I think he has some kind of recording device, and it may be possible for me to make my first forray into the digital age, and load something up to U-Tube.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mobile On Ten Dollars A Day

My Yolk Is Easy
It is Tuesday morning, I woke up with 32 cents, and the slowly dawning realization that if I want to make a living playing music, I need to formulate a different strategy, or stop spending 10 bucks per day on smoke and drink.
I have decided to pour more energy into my craft. I will try to cut back on the time spent blogging, and add it to the time spent working on songs. I have about a dozen "working titles" now, and it seems like the open mic opportunities come fast upon me, and I am caught with incomplete songs, which aren't "ready for prime time."
So, I shorten this post, which isn't a hard thing to do, since nothing of note happened yesterday.
I gave away my hard boiled egg, yolk and all.
I gave it to Daniel, the tall guy with a bald spot, who walks around carrying nothing at all except the clothes on his back. He doesn't smoke or drink, not even coffee. He always goes for "seconds" and "thirds" at the coffee club. Maybe his vice is "lust of the palate." Everybody has an "Achilles heel," even Achilles had one.
Daniel is always ready to talk at length about Government plots and dictators who are trying to recruit people into Satanic cults and use them to perpetrate crimes against the "good people." He said there is a "sameness" plot, whereby the dictators want everyone to of the same mind.
"They" use music as one of the means through which they attempt this. He adds that this is why they let heavy metal bands tour countries like Russia and sing about evil things. "They" try to quash music about love and peace, afraid that people will become free spirited and less easy to control, and turn into murderers.
I gave Daniel my egg this morning.
Dietary Cure For Sore Knee
The past couple of days, I have eaten a can of mixed vegetables, along with a can of either mackerel or salmon,. I have also noticed a vast improvement in the soreness of my left knee, which, only two weeks ago, hurt so much that I could barely walk.
The fish oil, along with the vegetables, may be the remedy at work. I am still walking the same distance every day, so I can rule out "staying off of it," as the reason for the improvement.
My Cereal Is Light
I gave my bowl of cereal to (name removed by request) I was still pretty full from the salmon and vegetables, which I had eaten pretty late Monday evening.
(name removed by request), is the guy who I referred to as "the guy whose name I forget," in a previous post. He, like Daniel, walks around with only the clothes on his back. He believes that his grandfather was one of, if not THE guy who shot John F. Kennedy.
The Three Tramps
He looks like he could be (name removed)'s Grandfather!
The man was the "Grand Wizard" of the KKK, at one time, and the head of some group called something like "The Christian Identity Movement." (name removed by request) told me all of this over an Earthquake Lager the other night. Supposedly, this is all documented.
He (his Grandfather) was very likely one of the "three tramps," of infamy, being an ex-military sharpshooter and one who has been placed at the scene through some evidence, and who hated Kennedy. He also has strongly implied to (name removed by request) that he harbors some big dark secret, and has made quite "a name" for himself in a huge way.
(name removed by request) also shares with Daniel a belief that there is a Satanic cult active in Mobile,
I gave him my cereal this morning.
I Miss Church
Saturday night, into Sunday morning, I played until 4 am. I woke up Sunday morning almost at noon. I realized then that I had overslept and missed a chance to go to church with Jeff, the potter, who I met at my playing spot and who offered to meet me at the library and bring me with he and his family to their church, which supposedly has a strong musical presence.
There is always next week.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Great Show (of callousness)

A few of the "God Hates You" group, with Emily, the violinist.
Well, I'll be darned if Emily, the violinist who played once with me, didn't run into the "God Hates You" group, and pose with them for a picture. I wonder if she would have done so, if she knew all of their political views.
I guess they must really be a Christian group. I'm sorry that I threw a miniture bottle of Paul Mason Brandy at them, and nearly missed the head of the one with her back turned.
I misunderstood them. I hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me.
The Neil Young Show
Do I Suck?
Then, there was the Neil Young show last night, at the theatre.
It was drizzling lightly most of the evening, leading up to the start of the show, and well into it.
I set up on the sidewalk, a few feet from the entrance. I tuned up and warmed up with a Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) song, but had to keep scooting underneath the marquis when the drizzle intensified.
A few people left before the show had ended. None of them threw me a tip, and I had the feeling that they had left, because they thought Neil "sucked." If Neil Young wasn't good enough for them, then I had little chance of getting their dollar bills. I'm not a rock-n-roll icon.
A group of young ladies came out and smoked cigarettes at one point, and when one of them said to the others "Ready to go back in?" one of the others replied "Do we have to?" This made me curious enough to ask them: "Why, does Neil suck?" One of the others hesitated a bit, glanced at the guitar on my back, and hemmed a little and then hawed, and finally spat out that Neil seemed "a little sleepy."
I wished them that Neil would pick up the pace a bit as they went back inside.
The show ended and the masses walked by, as I played Pink Floyd, and Grateful Dead.
I got the impression that a lot of them were there for social networking, because I heard a lot of people telling each other that it was nice to see them, as if they hadn't met in a while. It impressed me as a "Who's Who" in the world of people with 200 dollars to spend on three hours of entertainment by a sleepy guy. The talk was not of music, but of buying and selling and the business of life, in general.
That being said, I made about 10 bucks. There were no large bills, and the whole of it amounted to one person in 100 tipping me anything. They really didn't seem to be there for the music. Maybe they just wanted to be able to say "I saw Neil Young (who put me to sleep)" to their grandchildren someday. One lady told me that I had "missed a great show," after throwing a dollar in my case.
Cowgirl In The Sand
The scene behind the theatre, where Neil's bus was idling, was interesting.
There were not as many people hanging around as there had been for Robert Plant. This may have been due to the light rain, or the fact that those waiting for Robert's autograph, had payed 'out the ass" for a special V.I.P. priviledge, which basically insured them that they would meet that rock-n-roll icon face to face, and be able to pose with him for photos, which could then be shown to grandchildren someday.
Ricki Lake
There were only about a dozen or so waiting in the light rain. Neil had already quit the theater and was hunkering down on his bus. There were more of his security people than there were fans, in fact, each fan had his own personal security guy to tell him, one on one, that Neil wasn't feeling well, and was not very likely to come off of the bus, to sign autographs, and pose for anything.
One girl, waited in hope, cradling one of Neil's album covers and holding a Sharpie marker in one hand. She was having a conversation with another girl, who was holding something Neil Young related. The first girl was pretty large, kind of like Ricky Lake, and was setting the other girl straight upon dates and songs and lyrics and what Neil's favorite cereals were; things like that. She knew things that Neil had done back in the early 70's.
Hello Cowgirl In The Sand
(As Close As I Could Find)
Another short girl with very blonde hair, and wearing brown suede boots, which went half way up her lily white calves, of which only a few inches were visible under the hem of a black dress, also waited. She became the "Cowgirl In The Sand," from the song of that title, to me. I had the song in my head, and she was perfect. She had a face like I had never seen before, as if she was from a remote village somewhere, and wore the features of a very remote civilization, whom are rarely seen, and hence, she had a face like I had never seen before. It was almost ugly upon first glance, but, after the Cowgirl in the sand thing worked on me for a while, I changed my opinion and decided that she was one of the most beautiful creatures in the universe.
Her long blond hair looked like it had been brushed at least 32 strokes, possibly a lot more. I felt terrible when Neil's bus pulled away, and the girl's beautiful head fell, and her whole countenance drooped and she skulked away, looking like a very sad girl from a remote village somewhere in the mountains of somewhere where few ever go, and where lives one of Neil Young's biggest fans, who came all the way from her villiage in her boots, after brushing her hair, just to see him.
"Old enough now, to change your name. When so many love you, is it the same?"

I wish he could have stepped off the bus and at least let her tell him how popular his music is in her village.
I took my soaking wet 10 dollars back to the church spot and layed down and dreamed about a cowgirl in the sand

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Harvest Moon

The "Three Quarters" Matter
Yesterday, Friday, I left the library at about 4pm.
I walked over to the Shell to get a couple of beers to put me in the mood to go into town and play.
I ran into a black guy, who I had owed 50 cents to, from a prior dealing, involving some tobacco which he had aquired, and which was not his particular flavor. At the time, I had given him the change that I had, for one of the cigarettes. He gave me both of them and told me to give him 50 additional cents at some point in the future.
He accosted me at the store. His eyes were glazed and he seemed to be having trouble focusing his vision. He demanded his "75 cents," after reminding me that I owed him.
I tried to refresh his memory, by recounting the specifics of our prior transaction.
He persisted in his demand for "75 cents."
I handed him 50 cents, and told him that it was all that I could give him, and still have enough for my beer. He accused me of robbing him of 25 cents, as I turned to go into the Shell. There were two other guys standing there with him, struggling to focus their vision. I heard him ask them, rhetorically I assume; "Anyone want to buy a guitar?"
This was a poorly veiled threat to steal my guitar from me. I paid for my beer, and a V8, and separated a quarter from my change. My intention was to buy him off with it, and thus close my dealings with him. I also opened the blade of my knife and held it in my right hand, along with the bag containing the two beers and V8.
I wasn't even upon him before he started to demand his quarter. I walked up to him, and as his eyes were trying to focus upon the hand with the knife in it, I handed him the quarter, and told him that I would never have anything to do with him in the future.
I'm sure that he is going to see this as a concession on my part and try to parlay it into more quarters in the future. He will probably say that, after thinking things over, it dawned upon him that I owed him one more quarter, which he had overlooked.
From Dictionary(.)Com:
petty (pet′ē)
having or showing a tendency to make much of small matters
small-minded; mean, narrow, ungenerous, etc.

Origin: ME pety < OFr petit < *pit-, little < baby talk

The Friday Night That Wasn't
Upon arriving in town, I noticed that there was nary a soul about. I attributed this to the fact that Bayfest (right) is coming next weekend, and perhaps people were conserving their funds for it. Then, I reflected that this didn't sound like people in this day and age.
I played for a while and was only thrown 17 cents, by one black guy.
Realising that I was wearing out my strings for "nothing,' I took a break and drank two more beers. I went to drink them in a secluded part of a parking lot. I must not have gone there fast enough for, the beers caught up with me, and I soon decided to lay back on my pack, after wrapping the strap of my guitar case around me, and deploying my knife, and wait for the streets to fill up with revelers.
Bayfest, as seen from the spot where I sleep (Right)
I woke up with the moon high in the sky and the streets pretty much deserted. I went to finish sleeping at the church spot, thus throwing in the towel on this Friday night that wasn't.
Tonight is Saturday night, and another chance to make something of it.
60 Year Old Neil Young
Tommorow night, is the 26th, and the night that Neil Young is to play at the Steanger Theatre. Tickets prices range from 200 dollars, on down to $45 for a "cheap" seat.
"I hope Neil Young will remember" the arrangement he has with the venue, and not get confused and start demanding an extra 25 cents from the manager after he is done playing.
This portends to be a golden opportunity for me to play on the sidewalk for people who grew up listening to the same music as I, and who can afford 200 bucks to see a long haired poet hippie strum a guitar and sing off key about putting an end to the Vietnam Conflict.
Search For Karrie
I have begun a half hearted search for Karrie, by consulting the Dalton, Georgia phone listings and learning that there is indeed a Stephanie Porras listed, as well as a Marilyn Porras. "Marilyn" is spelled in the same style as Karrie's middle name, "Joshulyn."
I may send her mom a letter. Just to satisfy my curiosity...

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Hectic, Busy Life Of A Songwriter

Blogging Backwards
I am drifting back in I am updating this blog.
Before this, I was reading a book about how to write a song on a guitar. It gave me all kinds of ideas, and I wrote a song in my head, as I was reading the book. The text gave me the confidence to do this, as there was a section which mentioned specifically that some writers compose the whole song in their heads, before even picking up an instrument. There are others who "sometimes" do it. So, I went ahead and composed a song in my head, since Brian May of the group Queen does it. (My Dad: "If Brian May jumped off a cliff, would you jump off one, too?)
Queen, writing songs in their heads (left)
Concerns Over Jasmine's Storage
Before that, I had stashed my stuff at the fire station. I was hoping to see Porsha, in order to ask her if the Captain who removes my stuff was working today. I didn't see her, but, after going for my  morning energy drink(s) -I have a two-drink monkey on my back now- and consuming them and talking to Brenda, the skinny black lady who sweeps the parking lot at the Shell every morning, for a while, I walked past the station and saw that my stuff hadn't been removed as of that time; so I am only half worried right now.
Last night, I played and made about a yard and a half, to use a football analogy. I might have made 10 bucks.
Large Black Girls 
As I was leaving, some very large black girls were teasing me, and saying dirty things to me, the gist of which was their questioning  whether or not I believed that I could "handle" all 280+ pounds of any one of them. Someone had given me some pizza in a box, and it was this which was used as an "ice-breaker," and the subject of the initial conversation. I offered them some of the pizza, and managed to escape without being put upon to admit that I doubt that I could "handle" any one of them.
Hotel Gig For Bayfest
Jail Loses Boots
Before that, I was getting out of jail. The jail had misplaced my clothing and my boots. They gave me substitutes for all except the boots. Luckily, I had a pair stashed at the abandoned convent spot, and I trudged my way there, in the shower shoes, which were as close as the jailers could come  to replacing my boots. Then, since I had taken the laces out of the boots, to use elsewhere, I trudged in them to the Catholic Charities place, where the nice lady gave me some laces.
Thus sped up, I went to the bank, to cash the 4 dollar check, which the jail had given to me, representing the money that I had in my pocket when arrested. I used the jail ID, and had no trouble cashing it.
I then went to the Mobile Bay Adventure Inn, to return a cell phone, which I had found on the ground before being incarcerated. The manager gave me 3 dollars, and invited me to play next Friday, October 1st, at the entrance to the hotel, for the kickoff of the Bayfest, which is a huge outdoor concert, featuring several bands on several stages. He said that he could pay me with a ticket for the event, which is a $45 value.

Perhaps some of the performers will be staying at the hotel, and will hear me play, and invite me into the studio, or on an international tour. If it is Mary J. Blige (left and right) who does this, I will seriously consider it.
"You can play that piano?"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Worry Therefore, I Am

I Am Jailed
I am sitting here, worried about my Jasmine and my bag. I have hidded them in a different spot, as, The Captain on duty at the fire station had removed them from where they were secreted amongst the axes and oxegen canisters in a storage area at the same station. He threw them outside the station, on the hose drying platform, where the Jasmine was subject to being hit by direct sunlight. Luckily, I got out of jail at about the same time that he was doing this, and thus saved them from theft or destruction. Now, I worry about them where they are now.
I have spent the past 3 days in the Mobile Metro Jail, because I strayed onto the property of the Riverside Renaiassance Hotel, which is $280 per night, and I was profiled as a person who wasn't a "guest" there, probably because I picked a butt out of one of their ashtrays. After I picked the butt, a genuine guest saw me, and seeing the guitar on my back and profilling me as a struggling musician, offered me a real cigarette. The security personell, seeing this, concluded that I was asking their $275 guests for cigarettes, or else, why would the guy have handed me a cigarette. The Law was called, and, on Monday morning, after I had eaten my grits and hard boiled egg, the officers moved in and arrested me, based upon a warrant which was signed by someone working at the hotel, who had identified me as the "guy who carries a guitar around."
I spent 3 days in the Metro Jail. I slept most of the first day, got up and ate the second day, and stretched my sore knee and excercised the 3rd day. I came out feeling rested and (not to mention 2 hot showers) clean, and, now I am at the library, worrying only about my bag and my Jasmine, which should be hidden well enough, except for the fact that there are people with nothing better to do than to watch people who normally carry guitars, and to become aware of such an occurance of seeing said individual without guitar on back, and then mobilizing (not necessarily a pun upon Mobile, Al. but might as well be...) in a search of same g uitar and the resultant 20 dollar piece of crack.
So, I shorten this.
"God Hates You" Group Jailed
Saturday night the "God Hates You" group was arrested right in front of lme. They were chanting: "God hates gays," on that particular occasion, much to the vexation of a group of women, who looked very manly and dressed very manly, and had manly haircuts. The group of women were complaining to the police, along with the normal passersby, who were called "whoremongers," by the group, along with being told that God hates them.
I thought that I might see one of them in the jail, perhaps be one of their celllmates. Maybe I could have saved their souls, but, instead, I got some Cuban guy who talked to himself the whole time. Maybe he was trying to save my soul in some unorthodox way...
I am going now to get my stuff. I would be pretty hard prtessed to carry on without my guitar and my cheap AM radio, not to mention my mosquito repellent, and a data stick holding all of my lyrics of the past month.

Friday, September 17, 2010

13 Cents And No Sense

Yesterday, I was walking down Dauphin Street, after having eaten at The Salvation Army or, "The Sally," as it is called by some, who like brevity.
There are those who refer to it in public as merely "up Dauphin Street," as in: "Are you going to get lunch up Dauphin Street today?" This is done so that people within earshot will not know that they are talking about The Salvation Army.
People such as Rush Limbaugh call individuals who do so: "freegans," which is a play on the word "vegan," and is a label put upon anyone who eats a meal which is provided to them for "free."
He (Rush) paints with a broad brush, and, I think, hates them/us all.
But I digress.
I Run Into The Devil
Yesterday, after leaving "The Sally," freegan that I am, I ran into none other than Marshall, the guy from Pritchard. I had 13 cents on me, having been wiped out by a day at the hospital, and a second day, which found me playing for free at the Serda's Songwriter's Open Mic event.
The last time I ran into Marshall, (July 25th?) I was totally broke. I joked that he was the Devil, or rather, implied it.
Once again, he invited me, who had prpared myself for a rough night without beer or cigarettes, to go with him to drink beer. I did. He offered me cigarettes, just like the first time that I ran into him.
I think that he frequents the Sally, and bestows generosity upon certain individuals, who he sees as being indigent. Either that or he really is The Devil.
He dropped me off in town, on his way to work; giving me 15 bucks in the process.
I sat and tinkered with some music, but decided against playing, because the crowd was only trickling into town. People in Mobile are in the habit of waiting for the temperatures to drop to comfortable levels, before coming out. It is a summer thing.
I chose rest over trying to augment my 15 dollars (and 13 cents.)
Now, here it is Friday, the day that I can potentially make the most money, and here I am pecking away at my blog....
Off I go. I am going to try to play more like Dave Matthews tonight. I have listened to one of his discs a couple of times (this morning.)
I Am Dave Matthews!!
A girl asked (begged) me to play some Dave Matthews one night last weekend. I didn't know any at all, and I was remiss.
Dave lived in Charlottesville, Virginia, and even came into the gas station where I worked, late one night, and talked to me about Charlottesville. I didn't know it was him, untill after he had left and someone pointed out that they had seen his truck, and seen him talking to me, but couldn't do a U-turn fast enough to come back and hound him for an autograph or whatever.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Next Week I'll Try (Again) To Do Better

Nothing has happened yet today.
Last night, I played at Serda's, and did well. I did not intend to play, because I was in a cantankerous mood, and I know better than to play in that mood. I usually regret the ill will and negative energy which I exude.
My mood improved after sitting and listening to the rest; some of which had a lot more reason to feel embarrassed by their performances, than I ever could, even after delivering myself of my worst effort.
I went on last and improvised a song about homeless people who pretend to be my friends, but are only interested in my egg yolk every morning.
I don't eat the yolk, I squeeze it out, and then consume the white part.
There's a certain kind of folk, who'll only use you for your yolk... -The Yolk Song

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Saturday Through Tuesday

It has been said, by someone, something like: "If you take the same actions, you will get the same results," or stated with a different slant: "Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results."
Just to play the Devil's advocate, what if you draw a card from a deck and it is the 3 of hearts? If you take the same action, and draw again, I would hope that you would expect different results, or would have a bone to pick with whoever shuffled...
That being said, I pretty much had the same Saturday and Sunday, which I have been having lately, with the exception of a couple of anecdotes, which I will elucidate upon.
Friday night, I did pretty well, money-wise; enough to plan a trip to the music store on Saturday.
"God Hates You"
Friday night, there were a group of youths in bright green shirts, standing on the sidewalk, near where I play, who were telling every passerby "God hates you."
This stirred a lot of reactions from the people, many of whom were not un-hostile.
It eventually became apparent that the group were relying upon shock value in order to gain the attention of the multitudes, and as a vehicle to engage them in a religious discussion, which they would steer towards the necessity of relying upon Jesus, as a means of assuaging this hatred, which God has for all of us passersby.
I suppose that, if "in Adam," we were all born in sin, then their argument could have merit, yet, "it is also written" (to quote their Hero) that "God so loved the world etc," something which I wasted no time, after my fourth shot of brandy, in getting in their faces and apprising them of.
I Go Ballistic
I wound up getting pretty drunk, and escalated my verbal attacks upon them, trying to match them in shock value. I told them that "Yes, God hates me, because I'm a Satanist! I murder children and eat their livers!" and any other thing that myself and Paul Mason could think of to throw at them.
At one point, I literally threw an empty miniature bottle of Paul Mason Brandy at them, narrowly missing one girl's head. Pretty childish, and regrettable the next morning, but I was caught up in the religious fervor.
They were causing quite a commotion amongst the good citizens. When I was in the store getting more brandy, I heard one group of youngsters saying "Did you hear those 'God hates you' dudes, up the street? I couldn't believe it, they called me a whore monger and told my girlfriend to cover her breasts!"
Then, one of them, an older woman who wore a brown sun dress rather than a bright green tee shirt, drifted over towards me and told me to stop making "that horrible noise." I guess she referred to my music.
My mom used to use a certain expression when, as a youth I would complain frivolously. It went something like "Shut up, or I'll give you something to complain about!"
I then composed "God Hates You More, You Heretics," which drew smiles and a whole bunch of change from the good people, who, after walking past them and being accosted, saw me as a return to sanity, I guess. Imagine that.
The fifth or sixth shot of brandy (whichever one it was which, when empty, became a missile, launched during this Holy War) having been consumed, I approached them again at close range, for some more mouth-to-mouth combat. They were now showing signs of fear. I noticed then, that they were merely teenagers, and all members of a "Christian Church." The police had positioned an officer nearby, who seemed to be preserving the peace in that particular area. Admittedly, it had crossed my mind to lay one or two of them out, with a punch to the face.
I could feel a strong force moving within me, as I professed my faith. I told them that I could, with faith the size of a mustard seed, clap my hands and bring down lightning upon them. (I really believe this, but would not test it, unless in a more crucial situation.) Eventually, they scattered whenever I came near, and half-heartily murmured their "God hates you," out of half turned faces, as they fled from me.
I had visions of attacking them with a knife, even though I should have been in a good mood, with my case brimming with money. Something was "posessing" me.
A Tip Of A Knife
Saturday morning, I woke up in time for breakfast at 15 Place.
I carried my guitar, which felt inordinately heavy. I had placed the guitar on top of all my tip money and quickly zipped it closed, as I left my spot that morning. I didn't know what was in it.
There had been some potential muggers standing a few feet from me, by a lamp post with no apparent reason for being there. They had lingered until after the throngs of revelers thinned out, and the "God hates you" kids had done the same.
I profited then, from the adage of Kenny Rogers: "You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table," and so, by abruptly closing my case and taking off, I left them little time to formulate any strategies, to mug me.
So, after breakfast, which was just coffee,  I carried my case (which I have already stated, seemed a little heavy) to a spot away from prying, begging eyes, and opened it to count the money.
Underneath the layers of one dollar bills, embedded in the coins, was a knife; one which I hadn't seen put there, and one which may have already been there, at the time I was imagining stabbing the "church" group.
My Arms Supplier?
I recalled a young man saying "God bless you," as he bent down and placed what I thought was a large handful of change in my case. He may have been my weapons supplier, and would have come by right around the time of my reverie about going "Daniel The Ripper" on the "God hates you" youth group.
Sometimes life is interesting in that way; (although you readers who have already dozed off, or clicked to another page, might be proof against that statement.)
I have the knife now, in my back pocket. It is about a 14 dollar knife; 5 inch tungsten steel blade, and mercilessly deadly. I priced them at the Shell station in the ghetto.
I have already opened 2 cans of mackerel with it -sliced them open quite effortlessly. It is New Orleans-ready.
Jasmine Gets Clean Bill Of Health

The next morning, I lit out for The Guitar Center, to get some well-needed strings. I got the 8 dollar set, after my disappointment with the 16 dollar Elixir's, 4 of 6 of which had broken, and needed to be repaired on the spot, affecting the intonation of the instrument and leaving me wondering if it was the strings or the Jasmine, to which I owed the problem.

Thankfully, the technician put the Jasmine on his meters and found it to be an almost perfect instrument -probably the most important news of this whole post.

Sunday In The Park
Sunday morning, after 3 hours of sleep, at best, and after evacuating the church spot before the early worshipper's arrival, I moved to the gazebo in the park to "finish" sleeping.
There, I found none other than Thomas, reposed upon the same concrete, shielded from outside view by the octagonal walls of that structure.
The gazebo has it's gates locked on Sundays, but those gates can be hurdled by those with enough agility. This keeps most of the homeless from disturbing a sleeper, as, even if they could jump the gate to beg a cigarette or a dollar, they would not suffer to be seen doing so, out of fear that their case worker from the Social Security Administration, might view that particular feat of dexterity as grounds to dismiss their claims of physical disability, and cut off their checks, along with the accompanying pain-killing narcotics, upon which they depend for a good portion of their "income;" -more or less, depending upon the current street value of the drugs.
I slept, therefore, pretty peacefully, and woke in time to flip my cheap AM radio on and catch a broadcast of the game between The Colts, and The Texans. And that was how Sunday was mostly spent. I think I had three beers the whole day, and was asleep pretty early. I played for a short while, and came up some, enough to pay for the beer, at least.
I Wind Up In The Hospital
Monday, I played a little bit at the big clock spot, happy with the sound of the brand new strings on the Jasmine. I made enough money to "tread water," or simply put, "break even," which is acceptable for a Monday (even though I could be a lot more ambitious, I would rather diversify my investment of time, to include amongst other things, this blog)
Then, I retired to the Christ Church spot, to listen to Monday Night Football. There were no intruders asleep on the front porch, so I waived the ringing of the huge bell. The bell was made for them, and they were made for the bell. If I ring the huge bell and there is nobody on the porch to be startled by it, does it really make a sound??
At a point during the first half of the game, appeared the other guy who sleeps on the side of the church.
I Ran For Bran
We listened to the game and, at halftime, I decided to run up to the Save-A-Lot, to get, of all things, Raisin Bran. I was craving Raising Bran, the store was to close soon, and so I set out jogging.
I had left my bag and guitar under the guard of the-other-guy-who-sleeps-on-the-side-of-the-church, after arming him with my knife.
I set out to break the world's record for the one-mile-run-carrying-a-box-of-Raisin Bran.
I hadn't gotten 100 feet when my left knee; my "bad" knee, (the one that I broke in a motorcycle wreck when I was 24,) started to hurt increasingly with each stride. I soon had to stop running, because the pain was so intense, especially when my foot came down upon the concrete.
I continued, at a walk, to the Save-A-Lot. I was limping badly; still determined to get the Raisin Bran.
By the time I got back to the sleeping spot, I was "favoring" my left knee, and it was "killing me," in return for the favor.
I offered the "other guy" some of the Raisin Bran, who eagerly accepted, and began to greedily dig his hand into the box (why couldn't he have poured out handfuls, like I did, did he think I would let him have the rest of the box once he had "touched it?") and began to stuff his mouth ravenously.
As he did this, I related the details of my knee injury. I told him about all the pain I was in, and why I hadn't returned sooner. All he said was "Yeah." 
He crunched away at handful after handful, rejoining everything I said with "Yeah."
He ultimately provoked me to anger, after I had said; "That's the knee I had surgery on, when I was younger,' and was answered by yet another "Yeah," as if he could have had preknowledge of that fact. He thus made it apparent that he was not even listening to me, didn't care about anything except my Raisin Bran, or perhaps couldn't hear me over the crunching in his mouth.
After one final "Yeah," I lost my temper and snatched the box of Raisin Bran away and said "Anything I say, huh?"
I then retrieved my knife and went back to the game, and the throbbing pain in my knee, which I endured all night in solitude. I didn't want his hand in my cereal box, anyway.
15 Place No Help At All
In the morning, I could hardly walk. After trying 15 Place, and being told again that I didn't qualify to be homeless, I limped to the fire station, where Porsha was the attending medic, who called an ambulance; and I was taken to USA Hospital, which is affiliated with the University of South Alabama, and not the nation where we live.
I spent the whole day there, in the waiting room, reading Henry Fielding. I guess the idea is that if homeless people are going to fake maladies, in order to get free pain medicine, (not my case, but, how would they know?) they were going to have to suffer for it. After 14 hours of "waiting," I was given an anti-inflammatory shot, and told that my knee would get better on its own.
The only way I will ever go back to that emergency room, is if I am dead.
Doctor Sarah Gore was very nice; she laughed at my joke about her opening a practice with a Doctor Blood, (because of the cool shingle that they could hang.) She reminded me of a slightly younger Porsha.
She probably had little to do with my 14 hour wait, and the fact that I was released at 11pm., to limp through the worst ghetto in Mobile. I could tell by Dr. Gore's enthusiasm, that she hasn't been jaded yet by encountering bums day ini and out.
There was a certain other nurse who kept sighing and was very curt in her responses to the "patients." I could see in her eyes that she was "bummed out," (worse than being "burned out") and in need of a vacation.

Friday, September 10, 2010

All I Can Stomach

Saint Happening
I am listening to Ringo Starr sing "Octopus's Garden." I can hear his shnozzola vibrating into the microphone.
Yesterday, was a pretty chaotic day.
It ended poorly. I fell asleep while listening to the Saints game on my cheap AM radio, on the steps of the Convention Center.
I had run into no less than 3 people, all of whom had offered me Earthquake, or beer, or Thunder bird wine. I finally used the excuse of listening to the game to escape one new acquaintance, who seemed to want to sit next to me while I played, and sing along loudly, and in a tone of voice which struck apprehention into would-be tippers.
I then dragged myself to the sleeping spot, even though I could have gone and played, and would probably have some money now. I was too groggy, having woken up during the post-game summary, and learning that the Saints had won. I was too tired to even want to ring the big bell around the front of the church.
Thomas was asleep on the same spot where he had slept last night. He either likes the spot, or was hoping to meet up with me there, or both.
One of the two guys who sleep there, the other one, was sleeping on the ledge below Thomas.
The first of the two guys who sleep there, no longer sleeps there, and the other of the two said that he had left town, after hearing of his mother's demise, somewhere else in the nation.
I took the third spot, which is going to be a good winter spot, and slept.
I woke up at 6:50 am. and Thomas and the other guy were already up and out.
Thomas must have gone to work. He has a job. He is pretty unique in that regard.
I now listen to Jeff Beck, as I prepare to make the best of this Friday, by going into town and playing as much as I can stomach, and hoping that the strings hold out, and that I make enough money, so that I can do whatever I want tomorrow.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Break My Routine

I decided to switch things up a bit this morning.
After I ate my egg at the Presbyterian, and went for my energy drink at the Shell, I sat in the park and played the guitar, instead of coming to the library.
I have thus broken the monotony.
Only time will tell if this was a wise move.
Last night, I went by Serda's and was invited to chill with a few young folks, who were there for the open mic. I was with my friend, Thomas, and we were on our way to The Christ Church, to ring their huge bell as loud as we could, to rattle the people who sleep on that porch. I told the young guy this, as I declined his offer to hang out.
I said that they, who sleep there, bother us, so, we were going to bother them.
We went to the church, and I grabbed the rope (the bell is as big as a refrigerator) and pulled with all my might. The bell is so heavy that it hardly moved, but it was so loud that I couldn't help laughing out loud, or LOL for some of you. We, of course, ran like hell, or like childish pranksters, if you will.
Then I slept, and had a dream, and in the dream I was laying there dreaming...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Earn Up To $6, Making Music!

In the wake of the Labor Day Weekend, here it is Wednesday.

Some Kind Of Christian Group

Last night "ended" with Thomas and I, in the park (but it could have been by the ocean,) listening to some kind of group of young Christians, who were singing hymns, to the accompaniment of one of them, who played a Taylor guitar. Taylor guitars sell for at least a thousand dollars.

I initially thought that they were singing: "God we thank you for our parent's houses, the cars we've gotten as graduation gifts, and the fact that our only responsibility is the handling of a few college courses, and the fact that we can spend all the money that we make at our part-time jobs on Taylor guitars." (Isn't that how "Kumbaya" translates?)

Thomas and I sat on a nearby bench, sipping Budweiser Ice, and smoking Pall Mall cigarettes, while we listened.

To the credit of those youths, they shunned us not, nor looked at us askance, neither did they eschew us, and they were apparently not taken aback at our openly displayed sins of the flesh, perhaps believing the scripture which, paraphrased, states that it is not what goes into a man's mouth which causes him to be unclean, but rather, what comes out of a man's mouth. They gave us each a couple of sandwiches and some spring water, to put into our mouths.

We ultimately got buzzed enough off the beer to forsake not the gathering with them in a circle, where hands were held, and out of their mouths came prayers and supplications.

I bowed my head, and contemplated whether or not the young woman holding my left hand with her soft right hand, thought that I smelled homeless.

Thomas had my right hand, and "held his own," as the circle began producing a cacophony of simultaneously uttered prayers, which rose in volume and could probably have been heard all the way at the beer store.

Each individual voice was lost in the blend, and I could only pick out an occasional word, like "Jesus" or "Lord" from out of the fray.

I had never been in such a "church" before.

Thomas may have been, for, he was "right there" with the rest, adding to the decibels. I could only tell this because he was standing a foot away, and I could distinguish his voice in the din.

I was eventually moved to mutter something like "Lord, don't let the pretty girl next to me smell my armpits, please..." because I wanted to participate somehow, and nobody could hear me anyways...

Some Kind Of Water Testing?

Before being drawn there, by the sound of the Taylor, I had been on my playing spot, using the strings which aren't quite right, due to having been unduly stretched and un-stretched, as they were transplanted to three different guitars.

There were people walking by.

Most of them, though, were employees of a place near my spot. They seem to work around the clock. They do some kind of water testing, and are probably funded by BP, in order to do tests, and report upon the condition of the water in Mobile Bay. They may be getting kickbacks for saying that the water is fine, go ahead and eat the blue crabs, who knows.

They never tip me a cent. They pass by me constantly, carrying coolers full of what are popularly believed to be water samples from out there in the bay.

Sometimes, I try to penetrate their obliviousness towards me, by purposely including provokative lyrics in my songs.

I have succeeded on occasion. The one verse I sang about "kickbacks from BP," had a few of their ears perked...

Some Kind Of Unwritten Code?

The rest of the pedestrians were the bums from the park, who were on their missions of picking ashtrays, or trying to catch restaurant employees as they stepped out a back door for a cigarette, and beg food of them.

A homeless guy, who re-enters the park, carrying such a white-Styrofoam-contained prize, becomes the immediate center of attention, and is converged upon by the others, who, assuming that the food was gotten freely, think that the person with the food has no right to claim all of it for himself. Some kind of unwritten code of karma-based honor mandates that he share with everyone. I wonder why they go back to the park with it, unless it is a status symbol to them.

Some Kind Of Cheap Bastard ?

My tip hat is fodder for a debate in which this karma based issue is the center of the discussion. There are those who feel that everything in my hat was freely given, and is therefore subject to being divided up amongst the poor and unfortunate; those too poor to buy their next beer, and who "unfortunate"ly never spent hours practicing on an instrument, and are thus unable to partake of this bounty, which rains down freely upon me, as if heaven-sent.

This should spawn in me a desire to gather with them all in the spirit of generosity, which I have been imbued with by The Wealthy, and share; share!; -unless I'm some kind of cheap bastard.

I should at least be able to part with a dollar (for each one of them,) as a token of gratitude, is the summation of their argument.

The Other School Of Thought

A few, of the other school of thought, on "the other hand," have told me: "You play your butt off for that money; tell them all to go to hell!"