Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Duet With Becca Possible Tonight

The Beggar's Prayer
Yesterday, I left here, stopped to get a shot of moonshine, then to another store for a hard ice tea, to which I intended to add the moonshine, and "boost it up," some.
The Atmosphere Will Be Electric At Serda's
There were three guys sitting around the back of the store. I almost hesitated to join them, when I saw that Richard was one of them. He is an inveterate beggar.
I sat down. Richard immediately asked me for a cigarette. I only had one, and I told him so.
"It's always just one," he said, before walking off, looking disgusted.
That left two other guys, who were ex military and talked almost exclusively about being "squids" and Marines.
I added the moonshine to the hard iced tea. One of the guys, upon witnessing that; asked me for some of it. "I saw you putting vodka in it; that's what we need; vodka," he said, apparently speaking for both of them.
It was all I could do to refrain from making a sarcastic remark, like. "Sure, after all, I'm out there playing for hours each night just so I can keep you in vodka."
The Marine suddenly (after finishing a beer), became very spiritual.
He wanted to pray, and we held hands and he did so. He mentioned that when two or more are gathered in His name, He is in their midst. He prayed that we would all get what we "need." I couldn't help wondering if that was The Beggar's Prayer that he recited...
Then, some time went by. I was about done with my concoction. The Marine asked the other guy for a dollar. The other guy refused it. The Marine then told the other guy that he knew that the other guy had "4 dollars," and reiterated his demand.
The other guy refused again. The Marine stood up and got to within an inch of the other guy's face and told him that, if he wanted to, he could kick him in the head and take the four dollars. Whether or not the Lord was still in our midst at that point, is debatable.
How Can I Worry About Bums When I Might Be Singing With Becca Tonight?
I got downtown and played for a good two hours. I thought I sounded good. I think I'm getting better. I counted about 20 bucks, after I knocked off at 9pm., just as the little dweeb was locking the door to the beer store...
I went to sleep on one of the pair of trolleys, which were relocated during Mardi Gras. It is right behind The Garage club. I'm pretty sure that the property owner is aware of my presence, but, his property happens to be the one that I cleaned during Mardi Gras. He usually waves when he sees me.
It rained all night, and the roof of the trolley was a blessing.
Tonight, I may practice a song with Becca, and then perform it with her at Serda's. I am off to practice and maybe put on new strings.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Keep Playing

Downtown Fairhope (left).
It took so long to download this photo; I'm not going to delete it now.
This is where I will attempt to sit on a milk crate and play, later on this week.
The average value of the cars seen, is up around $50k, wouldn't you say?
This could be a great place to play, or a great place to be run off by The Law.
Last night, I played the open mic at The Garage. It was not hosted by the usual blues-playing guy.
I did about 3 songs, and after the second one, a guy came and put 5 bucks in the empty cupholder, attached to the mic stand, saying "keep playing," as he did.
I think I was the only performer to get tipped.
For now, I guess I'll keep playing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trekking Up The East Coast

It is Monday, already.
Today is to be laundry day. This will mean walking up Spring Hill Road, past the store where they sell crack, and to the laundromat staffed by a very skinny black guy, called "Slim."
Thanks to whomever stole my bag of clothes, I can now use the smaller washer and save myself $1.25.
I am looking to get a duffel bag (a new one is about 20 bucks) and then, there will be nothing to stop me from what I feel is my destiny, specifically, trekking up the east coast, playing music from town to town.
I will begin in Fairhope, Alabama.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Collision Course With Thomas

Doubts surrounding Thomas
I thought that I played well at the acoustically superior spot. One group of girls came by, one of them telling me that if I moved up the street, closer to Hop Jacks, I would make a lot more money.
I told her that I liked the acoustics where I was.
She said "Well, I like dollar bills, myself."
I tried to explain that, by sounding good in a quieter spot, even though the traffic is lighter, one stands a better chance of getting large tips. At Hop Jacks, I would be tossed a lot of ones, maybe even 23 of them. At the acoustically superior spot, there is often a ten or a twenty, amongst the fewer ones, which makes the total comparable. Plus, I have more fun playing with the superior acoustics, pretending I'm Roger Waters or someone.
The girls threw me a few bucks. Someone else threw me a five, and I left there about 25 bucks richer, and on a collision course with Thomas.
Roger Waters, or someone
I ran into Thomas at the Shell station. He handed me a beer. I sat with him and ate the chicken and dumplings which I had heated up in the store.
 Thomas was trying to hatch a plot to steal something from someone, somewhere; something that he seems to do when he's drinking.
We agreed that robbing the credit union across the street would be risky business, as there is usually a cop within the immediate area, because there are usually people like Thomas in the immediate area.
Then, he asked for a cigarette, begged me to buy him a beer, and then another; then some food off of my card and later, to smoke some of my botanical insence. Apart from the shirt off my back, that about covers everything I had to offer Thomas.
He kept insisting that the 30 dollars, which he promised one night in exchange of me buying him two beers, which brought the total to five beers, at that point, will be delivered.
On April 18th, according to him, it will be a bird in hand for me. But, when it comes to Thomas, I have my doubts.
The capo worked well, with my strings tuned down one half step.
I still have new strings, purchased with the Fairhope arts festival money. I managed to get them, a lock for the bike, a capo and some clothing.The bike was stolen anyways, and a piece of the capo flew off into the tall grass, making me wonder if the Fairhope money was cursed.
It's as if some people can smell money. I've never had so many people trying to bum off me, or offering to sell me everything from pain pills to bags of pot. Maybe I need to change my stride and walk more like a penniless man.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bummer of a Thyme

Sherrelle Gets Me A Capo
I had only had my capo for less than a day when I lost the rubber part, which touches the strings. I was taking it off the neck, when it snapped off, sending the rubber piece into the tall grass, where it is probably still.
But, Sherrelle was going to the music store anyways and she bought me a capo. I used it last night at my spot where I also worked on my latest song.
A guy came by and threw 5 bills in my case. On top was a ten dollar bill, the rest were ones. I played another half hour or so, half expecting him to come back and inform me of the mistake that he made, which he didn't notice until he got all the way to a gas station or something, and found that he was 10 dollars short.
He never came back, and I wound up making a total of less than 20 bucks, with his 14 included.
Something is telling me to move around and play different parts of the country, perhaps following Arts and Crafts Fairs.
I went to Island Thyme for the open mic night. The usual crew was there, none of which even said hello. Elizabeth Elliot appeared to give me a dirty look, and turned away from me. I left without playing. I had the impression that none of them were in the mood for my music...maybe I was visibly drunk and they feared a sloppy performance. I don't know. It was slightly depressing.
They have gone from approaching me and asking me if I am going to play, to ignoring me. Maybe it has something to do with my blog post about the guy with the guitar and the girl with the saw. Everybody seems to love them.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


The Stand Down
I am at the library; I came from Save-A-Lot, where I changed into the new clothes, which I got this morning, at a Recreational Center, on Spring Hill Rd, across the street from the strore where they sell drugs. They hold an event which I believe is called a "stand down" where they offer clothing to the homeless; clothing which has somehow found its way there, along with hygeine products.
The only stipulations are, first, passing a registration screening, and then having one's blood pressure checked (this was required before one was allowed to escape the premises with their items.
I was asked where I "stayed." After detailing my living arrangements to their satisfaction, they handed me a card, which had check boxes next to different categories of items.
I told the blood pressure checker that mine would be high because I was afraid that I was going to have high blood pressure and was stressing out. 
I got some khaki type pants which are only 2 inches large in the waist, and a bunch of socks and tee shirts etc., also a bag with toothpaste, soap, conditioner, talcum powder and a few more items. (Please hold your applause until all the items are anounced).
The Mic Stand
Last night, I went to Serda's, but decided that the atmosphere wasn't quite supportive enough of me coming up with a great performance. Maybe it was, but I wasn't recognizing it.
My latest song, I worked on all day, but forgot my sheet with the words and chords at the Dauphin Store, during my trip there for a beer. By the time I retrieved it, by backtracking there for another beer, it was almost Serda's time, and actually was; being 9 pm.
I went there as Green Headed Man, but, tired of keeping up the ruse, as the character hasn't been "fleshed out" yet. Very little is known about Green Headed Man, and even less comedic material has been written for him.
I decided not to go up and try to give him any new angles, and not to try to do the song, which I only half knew. I think that it was a good decision, as, this morning, I still struggled a little with the new song...
Becca wasn't there. If she had been there, I might have gone on and tried the Green Headed Man theme song, at least, and then hoped that inspiration would strike.
Joelle (Miss Underhill) was there, and looking intimidating in a red dress. She performed with another guy from The Underhill Family, apparently next to last, as, I was the only remaining superhero or other who hadn't performed.
In a sense, it was chickening out, but, to put a positive spin on it; I was wise enough not to go up and be sloppy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bike Stolen

I Think Mr. Thomas Antione, Here, has something to say...
The bike, which I had had for about one week was stolen from the spot where I leaned, but didn't lock it.
It cost me 5 dollars, plus about 2.50 for the lock.
I rode for about a dollar per day.
This puts a restraint upon my intentions to save $2.50 in bus fare everytime I ride out to the music store, or Wal-Mart, and my plan to take the BRATS bus to Daphne, then ride the rest of the way to Fairhope, to play on the street and then at an open mic night.
I still plan upon getting to Fairhope, though, by finding out the right connection.
This morning, after finding the bike gone, I walked over to the Presbyterian and circled the building, checking hiding spots. I thought that if someone found it early in the morning, they might not have had time to hide it far from the church, and still make it back in time to (say grace and then) eat their hard boiled egg. I found some other bike, but left it there, of course.
Then, I (walked) to the Shell, got and energy drink, and then sat in front of Save-A-Lot and worked on my secret project, to be unveiled tonight at Serda's.
A lady came over and gave me 5 dollars, saying that it sounded "good."
If I can pull off the secret project, it should sound "great," since it aspires to such magnificent heights.
Now, I cut this short, so that I can go work on it some more. I will need to run through this one about 20 times and possibly change the key.
I will be able to buy another bike, if I can make some more "Fairhope" kind of money.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Secret Project Underway...

Monday I got off the bus in downtown Mobile at 7:45 am.
That was right in the middle of hard boiled egg season, and so, I went to that function, at the Presbyterian Church.
I then focused upon getting a lock for the bike. I had made over 80 bucks in two afternoons, and it suddenly seemed silly to jeoperdise the full value of the bike rather than spend a few bucks to protect it.
I began to ride around, looking for hardware stores. This took me all the way out Airport Road, by where the music store is.
While I rode, I worked a little on a song about getting a bike lock. It will be in the style of Bob Dylan, during his "born again" phase of career.
I'm getting a bike lock; not because I have a general distrust of others
I'm getting a bike lock because I don't want to tempt my brother....

I got a lock and chain for the bike, then guitar strings and a capo, along with a couple of picks.
Sung in the style of "Blood On The Tracks."

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Fair Amount Of Hope

Friday night, I was on Dauphin Street at the "hot dog cart" spot. I was almost broke.
I knew that there was an Arts and Crafts Festival going on in Fairhope, which is across the bay; and across the economic gap, from Mobile.
I had only made a couple bucks when a guy came along and told me that he had an apartment right above where I was playing, and asked me if I would stop. He added that he didn't want to have to call the police.
At that point, I just put my guitar back in the case and was sitting there with my chin resting on my hands with my eyes closed, feeling anger and darkness closing around my heart like a black fog.
I prayed for a couple of seconds, and then heard a voice to my right and opened my eyes to see Chris, the guy who walks around all day for no apparent reason, beside me, asking me if I was alright.
I told him about the guy in the apartment, and said that I had a good mind to start playing as loud as I could.
Chris uttered something as nonsensical as walking around all day for no reason.
It was then that I decided that I would ride my bike from where I was to Fairhope for the Arts and Crafts Festival.

View Larger Map
I stopped and got directions at the Exxon, where I spent my last couple of dollars on beer, also. I guess I wanted the excursion to be a total gambit.
I rode through the night, having to backtrack a couple of times, like when I was headed towards Florida at one point.
I rode over a long bridge. I eventually got to Daphne on the other side of it, where I went to sleep behind a seafood restaurant which overlooked the bay. The sky was just lightening.
I got up around noon, when the temperature was up to about 80 degrees, walked past the mildly curious people who had populated the tables on the back porch of the place, and rode the last 7 miles of the trip after stopping at Publix for some energy fuel.
I got into Fairhope at about 1 pm., to see crowds of people, like the ones in the photo, crowding the festival.
I ran into none other than Leigh, daughter of Jeff the Potter, who I told of my excursion as a means of excusing my condition of being red faced, sweating and sleep deprived.
I sat and cooled off. I had about 15 cents on me, total.
I must have played from about 1:30 till about 3:30 and made 28 bucks. I was sounding good to myself, which was surprising, given the ordeal I'd been through.
The people were friendly. They were about 3 times more friendly than people in downtown Mobile, I would estimate on the affability scale. A lawyer, whose office was right by the fair site, let me put my bike on the inside of his fence, where he promised that it would be alright. One of the vendors let me stash my backpack in a compartment on his trailor which he was leaving unlocked. There were some valuable things in the same compartment, but he seemed to trust me, after only having a brief conversation. The storekeepers were friendly also.
After the fair closed for the day, I found a place off of a sidewalk, which was part of the Faulkner College campus. It was between a couple stands of bushes, and there was a small pile of straw, which I spread out and slept pretty well upon.
I was up with the sun, went to Publix for more health food while the temperature was still cool, and then returned to my playing spot for the last day of the festival, Sunday. I made another 50 bucks or so, including 20 for helping a lady break down her display.
Then, I found out that there is a busline which runs between Mobile and Fairhope. It costs $2.50. I could have skipped the bikeride through the night and into the morning afterall.
I slept on the same spot Saturday night.
While I was laying there, it occurred to me that Fairhope was where Becca lives. It wouldn't surprise me if she had put the pile of straw there.
I loved Fairhope and plan upon returning on the $2.50 bus, perhaps to busk and play open mic nights.

Friday, March 18, 2011

August, 2006. The last time I had a haircut.
Last night, I wound up at Island Thyme for the open mic.
When I got there, none other than the guy with the guitar and the girl with the saw were playing.
Elizabeth Elliot and Skye Johansen and her boyfriend were there.
It was a pretty good time.
The guy without the girl with the saw
I have changed my opinion of the guy and the girl with the saw. I think that the guy's name is Sampson.
Their music is very charming, especially as the girl sings along and plays her saw. She harmonises just about every syllable, and leaves no doubt that they have their songs down pat. It's hard not to like their stuff. I wish I had a girl with a saw, now.
I appeared as Green Headed Man, and ran through some of my stuff, despite tuning problems. I did a pretty decent version of Hubert's Trip.
I went around the side of the building and removed my green mask, then returned and asked if I had missed Green Headed Man.
"He just left a minute ago, he went that way," someone said, pointing to the side of the building.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...

Sunday began ospiciously when I woke up. I still had a decent amount of money left over from the mardi gras. It was too late to go to church. I went into town, instead.
I Am Burglarized
That was not before discovering that a bag, which contained all of the stuff that I don't carry around with me, had been torn open and the contents splayed out in a corner of a parking lot. A laundry bag full of my clean clothes was missing, along with my bible. Yes, they stole my bible.
It seems that there is some law in the universe whereby, if you gain something, like the money I made during mardi gras, you will have to lose something. I stuffed what remained back into the bag and "hid" it back where it was.
I Play A Saw; I Conquer
Once in town, I ran into the guy who plays guitar and the girl who plays the saw.
I had sat down at my "hot dog cart" spot and was tuning up and warming up, when I heard the sound of a couple singing, a guitar and a saw.
They were parked by a tree near the outdoor tables that Spot Of Tea has set up along the sidewalk.
This is a good idea. Someone once told me of a guy who used to play there for the people that ate breakfast at the tables. The person said that several people threw lots of money in his hat, because they liked being serenaded over eggs and toast. I haven't played there because I prefer better acoustics than the open air there offers, but I actually thought seriously about it, before going across the street.
The guy and girl played their particular style very well. She is an excellent saw player, and, I suppose, can do a little carpentry work on the side if the music business is slow.
They were dressed like hobos. Not actual hobos, but the kind of hobo that you would see in a play. They had hobo hats and the kind of jeans that come with holes already in them. The girl had died her hair orange and looked like Raggedy Ann come to life. It looked like she had put makeup on her face to similate brake dust from the train which they purportedly rode into town on.
I heard the guy say, as they were taking a break, that they had made 50 dollars. I had the sense that he wanted me to hear him say that. He definitely had a bit of arrogance about him.
He might have thought that I was there to mock, as if I might play gigs in clubs and hence, think that I was superior to them.
They took every opportunity to boast of their accomplishments, which include playing in some large band which wasn't enguaged at the time, and selling CDs, which they burn at The Blind Mule. The Blind Mule staff are in their corner (because they know excellent guitar and saw music when they hear it), and are willing to help them out by letting them use their CD burning equipment, as a way to further The Arts.
I Get A Bike
I think that was the night that Thomas sold me a bike for 5 dollars.
He then turned around and bought me a beer, out of the 5 dollars. We were near the store and he suddenly seemed to recall that he had money. I think he was too drunk already to remember where the money came from. "Hey, I just remembered, I got like five bucks. You want a beer?" type of thing...
Monday was forgettable, as evidenced by the fact that I don't remember it. I just remember that The Garage was silent that night- no blues to sleep under a trolley to.
Tuesday night, the guy and the saw girl were playing at the same spot.
It looked like they had only a few dollars in their tip jar, which is made of transparent plastic, so that people can see how well appreciated they are.
I went down to my acoustically superior spot and played for about an hour. I was playing "The Man Who Couldn't Decide What Flavor He Wanted," when one of the few groups of pedestrians out, paused a little ways down the sidewalk.
One of them came back and told me that I sounded excellent and threw what turned out to be a twenty in my case, which, coincidentally was the same amount that I made the entire evening.
I played a little longer, spurred to do better music by the comforting thought of the twenty sitting in my case.
When I finally knocked off, I walked up the street to see the guy and the girl with the saw still playing. It looked like they had about 20 bucks on display in their jar. I was tempted to say "It looks like we did about the same," but held my tongue.
I actually did better, considering that they have to split theirs two ways, plus keep the saw oiled.
I found this on Google, but it might as well be her...
They were in the same hobo costumes. I guess when something works for you, you stick with it; plus, those costumes were probably pretty expensive at some costume shop. Quality clothes (that look like they are falling apart) aren't cheap.
Wednesday I was on a mission.
I went to CVS and bought a bottle of conditioner for 85 cents. Then, I went to the graveyard to retrieve my Dawn dishwashing liquid from a tomb. Then, to a construction site on Royal Street attempting to get a 5 gallon bucket to use as a washing machine. They weren't parting with any.
I spent the next hour in Cooper's Park, conditioning and brushing out my hair.
I washed what little clothing that I own, and hung them by the tracks.
Green Headed Man
I found a green halloween mask in the corner of my backpack. I decided to become "Green Headed Man." I composed a theme song for him, and was at Serda's by 9pm, ready to entertain.
The guy and the girl with the saw were onstage when I got there.
Jimmy Lee said that he hated the fact that the guy was "the best guitar player I've ever seen, and younger than me," as he put it.
I was going to argue that he wasn't "that" good, but didn't because I hadn't heard what he did before I had gotten there. Maybe he played like the best guitarist that Jimmy Lee had ever heard. I wonder if he's ever heard a better saw player.
Green Headed Man supposedly had just gotten into town, and to keep his private life and his show business life seperate, played incognito.
Of course, everyone knew that it was me, but I kept the ruse up, to their apparent amusement.
Elizabeth Elliot dedicated one of her poems to Green Headed Man.
But, the guy with the guitar and the girl with the saw were the buzz, on this particular evening. It seems that they are kind of "from" Mobile and knew a lot of the people there.
I saw the girl walk over to a well dressed man, at one point, and say something to him, whereupon the man pulled out his wallet and handed her something. I think it should be up to people to voluntarily give you money if they think that you are an excellent saw player. But, maybe it doesn't cross a lot of people's mind's that one might need money...despite hobo costumes...
Tonight is the open mic at Island Thyme, and I think Green Headed Man is going to be there.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Art Walk

Your Art Walk Correspondent
The Art Walk
The Art Walk took place last night. I was in town before sundown, and sat in Cathedral Park for a while, untill I heard the strains of a female vocalist on an acoustic guitar who seemed to be playing simple chords.
I walked down to the Dauphin Store.
She was right across the street, and loud enough to be bleeding into my acoustically superior spot, which was a concern, but I went to check her out.
I listened to a couple of songs. Throughout the first song, her guitar was quite out of tune. She had adjusted her capo, and I think she had it a little uneven. She was probably only of about 17 or 18 years of age. Making sure that a capo is seated evenly is something that has to come with experience.
Feeling like a father figure, I approached her and complimented her on the song, and then asked her if she was in an "alternate tuning." That's a tuning which isn't "standard," like the way the guitar comes tuned from the factory.
This brought her attention to the strings, and her guitar's built in tuner.
She fixed her tuning and then did a much better rendition of a song. But not before some guy in a suit told me something like "Let her finish her set, then you can talk to her," and then added a snide remark like "Would that be alright with you?!!" uttered sarcastically.
"Would that be alright with you?"

I shot a glance at the girl who was playing. She shook her head as if to say "I didn't tell him to do that."
She played "I Want To Hold Your Hand," by the Beatles; and played it very slowly. That was pretty neat.
Then, as I was leaving to go try my acoustically superior spot, she sang something about walking away and playing guitar, and I wondered if she "freestyled" and was singing about me...
She was somewhat audible, and so was a DJ, who has been set up at a sushi place near my spot the past two Art Walks.
I played, had a glass of wine at the Investment Firm, which is also a stop on the Art Walk.
The place had on display some guy's photographs. They were alright. He seemed to be the one serving (translated: guarding) the wine. He graciously poured me about half a glass. He then poured another half glass and set it on the table, as if to communicate to me that everybody gets a half a glass, or at least that the next person to get a glass will.
His photographs were of "nature." One of them had a white bird, the kind with a very long, skinny neck almost like a snake, walking in a big field of some kind of tall grass. I didn't understand that one. The price tag on it was like 350 dollars, confusing me even more.
Going Mobile?

"Why Don't You Try Mobile; there are a lot of cool people there."

Somebody else asked me (It was Sherelle) if I am really thinking of "leaving" Mobile.
I guess, well, I actually am.
I would love to return at certain times of the year, like a migratory bird, maybe the kind with a long skinny neck.
Mobile has been the most excellent place, in at least one category, and that is the "has a lot of really cool people" category.
The Rainbow Child guy (above) whom I met in Jacksonville, when he was sitting in the shade under some palmettos and drinking from a gallon jug of vodka; that guy; he had told me that Mobile has "a lot of really cool people."
My Tribute To The People Of Mobile
I will now pay tribute to some of the cool people of mobile. These are in the chronological order in which I encounter them, during my day. If your name is near the end of the list, it doesn't mean that you're less cool, just that I run into you later in the day.
The first people that I usually see are the people at Save-A-Lot, as that is where I leave my bags, so that I can get into this here library. They are cool for letting me leave my stuff there, in an out of the way place where someone would be visible trying to steal it.
I think that was Amber's mastermind, but Jennifer had a hand in it.
Amber has ranked me as her favorite homeless person, and has been very helpful. She was ready to call some heavyweights in on 15 Place, after they refused me a membership, claiming that I wasn't making a sincere effort to get off the streets, as evidenced by the fact that I play street music till all hours of the morning. No soap for me.
Amber was going to call some important figure that she knows, who I can't mention, and heads were going to roll down at 15 Place if they didn't let me become a "member," be entitled to toiletries, mail, laundry services (one outfit per day) as well as medical services from the Catholic Social Service place.
I decided that I really didn't need 15 Place to help me get into Section 8 housing, and off the streets. Soap isn't prohibitively expensive if you can stand the scent of Ivory; and I don't have the patience to fake a neck injury to get narcotics out of the Catholic place.
Amber used to be homeless, I think. I was very happy for her when she got a vehicle on the road, after not having one for like a year or something.
Sometimes when I am out of cigarettes, she will give me one, refusing the 25 cents that I offer for it. She smokes Pall Mall regular flavor, which makes her that much cooler.
Sherrelle is cool and reads this blog sometimes. She was at the party that Dennis threw on Joe Cain Sunday. Dennis cooked some of the best food I have ever eaten, and Sherrelle mixed me a cranberry and vodka, which came out the color of pink zinfindel.

The Save-A-Lot people have been "the bomb." I even get to "throw water on my head" in the restroom before coming to the library.
They have recently put a heavy duty gate around their dumpster in back of the store (the dumpster that I call the "Save-Even-More"). It sits just high enough off the ground so that I can squeeze under it, like a snake, while more corpulent individuals can't get through. (They don't need to be in there, anyways, they need to be doing sit-ups.)
I think they intentionally designed the gate that way, taking the diameter of my rib cage into consideration, so that I could get through and get the perfectly unspoiled stuff that sometimes gets thrown away. Not that I've been in there more than twice in the past month...
I just have to be careful not to eat too much while in there, so I don't get stuck inside.
Arielle, Mike, Julian and Todd, are all cool.
From there I come to the library. There aren't really the coolest people at the library. The library doubles as a Day Center For The Homeless, and the staff are a little bit standoff-ish.
Corey and Mike are about the only two homeless guys that I associate with at the library.
Corey is one of the few others that sleep in the graveyard. I think a lot of people have aversions to sleeping in graveyards, which is fine with us.
He has to clean up after a sloppy guy who has no such aversion and who leaves big messes around his grave.

Joelle, how she would look if she was homeless and slept on straw,
and (right) in action onstage with tambourine.
Corey is smart enough to know that the quickest way to get run out of an historic cemetary is to leave bags of half eaten Happy Meals around the tombs. He has a college education, like myself. I guess the slob doesn't.
Mike used to sleep at the Christ Church spot, where I slept last summer. That was the church that layed straw down on the spot where we slept, around Christmas time.
Mike has an excellent sense of humor, keeps to himself pretty much, isn't a chronic beggar; and gets all my jokes. I used to see him at the Presbyterian church in the mornings, getting his hard boiled egg.
The Presbyterian church people are pretty cool. They cheerfully spoon out bread, grits, egg and coffee. I don't really have a lot of friends that go there. Most of them will stop talking to you altogether after you deny them a cigarette a few times...
Ben, the ambulance driver, along with Porsha and Bubba and Scott, the Captain of the station etc. have been really supportive. They see me walking past the station a lot.

Ben calls me "The Anti-Homeless Guy," because I'm "not like 99% of them." He was the first person in Mobile to pull up in an ambulance and ask me about my guitar and my music. I realise that very few people drive ambulances, but still...

He has visited me at my playing spot, shown me some stuff on the guitar, -he's an excellent player- and brought strings to me after I had broken them.
He's usually with his partner, Bubba.
Ben and I hung out once at a music bar, which I won't mention because he wasn't supposed to be there.
Porsha is another of the firemedics, a lot prettier than the others, by a long shot. She gave me a bag of clothes (which she assured me were "trendy"), a guitar case, a few bucks once, gave me her old glasses which were almost my prescription, told me where a good church was, and has been very helpful, as have the firemedics in general. The captain even gave me a writing tablet once.
A lot of times, I will be walking about and one of the ambulance drivers will see me and honk the horn, or get on the PA and tell me something like: "Leave the Earthquakes alone!!"
The Knightons have been very good friends. Jeff, the potter is a fellow artist and has offered to bring me to church when he and his family went. He has helped me out with numerous clothing items and whatever else he thought I might need. He is almost like a brother. He and his wife, Jennie have given me every opportunity to stay close to "the word" which, to them is like offering something better than food and clothing and the other things.

His family is awesome.
His daughter's are still close to him, even though they are teenagers and at an age where a lot of kids might think that it was "square" to hang out with dad. Jeff has appeared at Serda's open mic night, with each one of them. When I see Taylor on the street, she is always friendly and interested in talking about artistic things.
Erin, the middle daughter, was with us when we went to Dauphin Island to play frisbee.
Leigh, the youngest girl is one of the most artistic-minded people I've ever met. She writes poems and draws, and comes up with very clever plays upon words and also puns.
Jared, the young boy, is already making drawings that have impressed the likes of Mike Feeney (a guy I went to high school with, who is an artist now, by profession).
Hanging out with their family has been like a grounding experience. I know they are probably praying that I have a nice family some day, and of course a job and a home. My parents used to say "All we want for you is for you to have a life." That's a pretty broad wish.
Becca is of a race of angels who are on earth using their powers to help struggling street musicians.
She just turned 23 and is a youth minister, musician, songwriter and one of the first people to like the songs that I played at Serda's. She is very pretty and a living suggestion that life could possibly be better.
She has friends, like Hannah and Lauren, who may have come on the same starship.
I also need to add Corrie, who I danced with on an October night, while Clay Walket played in the parking lot across the street. Priceless.
Anyone whom I left out, well, you'll just have to be cooler; I can't do it for you.
The Rainbow Child guy was right.
I would be remiss if I left out the fine group of local musicians, and one poet, Elizabeth Elliot.
Send Us Your Huddled Masses; Your Angels etc.
The Underhill Family Orchestra have been really cool. Jimmy Lee hosts the open mic at Serda's, and Joelle (Miss Underhill) brews coffee there. She sometimes goes up and performs, playing a tambourine and singing along with Jimmy Lee.
They have been supportive, along with a lot of other musicians, whose names I don't know.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Data Retrieved

Pulled Like Taffy
So, three days after losing my 1 gigabyte data traveller thing, and having thought that I had tossed it away into the trash can of the Panda Express, along with the bag that a turkey sandwich (without mayonnaise) came in, a guy walks up to me at the Dauphin Store, asks me if I'm "Daniel McKenna," and upon my answering in the affirmative; hands me my green wallet type thing with my cards and my data traveller thing still in it.
He had identified me by looking at my jail ID, which I carry around as a souvenir from that institution, gotten after I trespassed upon the Riverfront, or Riverview, or Riverside Hotel property.
The picture is stretched verticly as if I am made of taffy and was pulled, and it amazed me that the guy, who I will call "Colorado," recognized me from it.
But he did, and I got back all my lyrics, some pictures and a lot of writings. He found it on Dauphin Street, not in the Panda Express' trash.
I gave him a dollar. It was on one of those nights when I made only about 10 bucks, but, He had 0 dollars, on that night.
He is from Colorado Springs, or Golden Springs, Golden, or somewhere in Colorado. He made it sound like a guy on the street with a guitar could do mighty well in somewhere in Colorado, from the way he talked. Lots of people with money, or something like that...
Laundry First; Then Serda's
Was There
Last night at Serda's was a glorious event, with a new guy, who plays saxophone, playing that instrument, accompanied by Jimmy Lee, at one point, and the guy who plays very fast and taps notes and harmonics, at another point. The sax guy eventually hit his groove, or the guy accompanying him hit his groove, and, there was some righteous gigging.
Then a comedian performed, for about as long as it took me to smoke a cigarette. I missed his entire act doing just that, going back inside in time to hear him say "Thank you," to the people.
Becca was there. She got there early enough to be destined to have a couple of hours of before I would go on, due to the organization of the sign up list. I think I got bumped in favor of the new guy with the sax, but that is understandable, in light of the fact that it just seems natural to let a new guy go on right away, I guess.
I snuck around to the side of the building where I had stashed a $1.20 beer, so that I didn't have to buy too many @$2.50 inside. I feel slightly guilty when I do that, like I'm not supporting the venue which is allowing me to get my music "out there," to "the people." I rationalize that I am helping to support them if people enjoy my music. Upon my return to the venue, it was just time for me to go on.
9/16th-Assed Music
I borrowed a pick from Jimmy Lee.
Was Brewing Coffee
Joelle (Miss Underhill) was behind the bar. I couldn't see Becca in the spot where she had been sitting. I figured that I might have missed her. It turns out that she was "in the back," and could hardly hear me, but she was there. I probably would have put a little more into my performance if I thought that she was still there, but, I went up and gave it my "all," which usually amounts to about 89% of me. I put all my water content into it, if you will.
I like to think that, through playing and practicing and honing my skills on the street, I have improved from doing half-assed music, to doing nine sixteenthed-assed music.
I don't know why, in thinking back, that I didn't go sit and talk with Becca some. I could have squeezed it in, between runs to the back of the building for $1.20 beer, smoking out front, etc.
I guess I have the excuse that I was nervous before performing and distracted by trying to come up with a novel idea for a song.
Laundry Done
I was going to improvise one about the laundromat guy, who wouldn't let me go into the restroom to change into my newly cleaned clothes, after I had spent about 6 bucks in his establishment newly cleaning them. Words were exchanged, and I made it clear to him that I would NEVER again patronize his business in the "hood," and use his raggedy-assed, half broken, dirty washers.
I ran into him later and he apologized. He said that if people saw me doing it, they would all want to do it. He was probably worried about me taking a bath in the restroom before changing into my newly cleaned clothes, and leaving hair in the sink. The raggedy assed sink.
I almost tried to do The Laundry Blues, or something, but wound up sticking to previously done stuff, adhering to my new axiom about one time a week being short of the saturation point of people's song hearing capacity. They didn't hear the song every one of the past 7 nights, sometimes two or three times, and aren't as prone to be as tired of it as you, the performer. That's the axiom.
There were some pretty good moments. The low point was when, in the middle of Hubert's Trip, I ran out of gas, in a sense, before I even got him to Las Vegas, which I think is one of the best parts of the song. It can be a 12 minute song, and I was 5 minutes into it, and had only gotten Hubert to the West Coast.
The Man Who Couldn't Decide What Flavor He Wanted is getting easier to play, now that I have dropped the key one step to B, and, easier to play means easier to come up extra lyrics "on the fly" to add and hopefully make the song longer, stronger, faster and better each time its played.
The Carcass Song is still being somewhat of a struggle, as I haven't settled upon the riff which is to be the recurring motif, played under the main verse. Obviously, it has to be one that I can sing and play at the same time, but, to me that means embellishing it to the point where I couldn't sing it and play it at the same time if I tried to embellish it more. That's when it takes a level of concentration where you have to be in "the zone," to negotiate. In my opinion.
Musically, I was happy to see that, when I made the effort, people seemed to be actually paying attention. I was given a sample of ice cream, after doing The Man Who Couldn't Decide What Flavor He Wanted, which is about ice cream.
After I was done, Joelle said "Good job," as she walked past.

The new guy with the sax seemed to have his jury out on me. I think he was sitting there thinking "What kind of saxophone line would I play over this??" during some of my less saxophone friendly stuff, oh, like The Carcass Song...
Then Becca emerged from the parlor, where she had been stationed while I played. She gave me a hug (an excellent Christian one) and told me how she had been in the back and couldn't hear me that well. I would have done more songs with screaming and shouting in them, had I been aware of Becca's plight. Hopefully she wasn't offended that I didn't go back there and talk to her. I could have, I mean, I had on newly cleaned clothes...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Saturday Through Tuesday

Played A Washboard On Fat Tuesday
The Mardi Gras ended last night, along with "fat" Tuesday.
I did alright, all things considered.
There was a 20 dollar tip, after I played my butt off for a group of about 5 people, who each threw me about a dollar. One of the group came back as they were walking away and handed me the twenty and said "That was awesome." I can't imagine what I was playing.
The night before, someone whom I never saw threw 10 bucks, as I was playing Grateful Dead stuff.
Then, I got a job cleaning a parking lot. I was walking by Monday morning, and, seeing the condition of the lot, told the lady in the "chicken on a stick" cart that I would rake up all the trash and bag it up for "four dollars." I kind of meant that as a symbolic amount, but was willing to work 45 minutes for 4 dollars.
Some of the other girls gave me 5 bucks, the lady returned and gave me 10 more, and then sent me to another lot, where I made another 10 bucks.
She told me to return last night, which I did and got another 20 bucks, this after playing on the street and making at least the 20 dollar tip, and a five and a bunch of ones.
Someone threw a new set of strings in my case, also. Shortly after, I broke 2 strings in quick succession, replaced them, and kept going.
Jimmy Lee and Joelle (Miss Underhill) were playing at a couple of spots when I walked by. He had his guitar, and she, a washboard.
I haven't counted my money yet, but, this is the time for me to make my break and travel to somewhere else that has something like a mardi gras going on; perhaps Spring Break in Panama City...
After yesterday's Fat Tuesday, I think the Tuesdays are going to start dieting and become much thinner around here.
I can always come back here for Bayfest (in October) and maybe next year's mardi gras, if I'm not in a band and working regularly.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday The Fourth

Yesterday was kind of a farce. 
Upon returning to my sleeping spot, after making hardly any money, I noticed that two of the four trolleys had been removed from the yard. They were not the one I sleep under, yet, I spent a great part of today moving all my stuff to a new location, in case they try to move the one that I do.
I came pretty close to being reduced to the clothes on my back, had they decided to move the one I sleep under, and been vindictive enough to make my stuff disappear.
They are trying to free up space to park cars during the final stages of Mardi Gras.
The festival has been a disappointment, for the most part, as could have been predicted. 
I went to Wings of Life to eat at noon, since I have no food card, and only made about 4 bucks last night.
The guy who hands out the "tickets" for the meal, walked past me, handing out tickets to everyone else around me. He didn't give me one.
I wasn't going to beg him for one.
I left, deciding that I would go and immediately begin drinking on an empty stomach, just to punish them for not feeding me, and then probably walk out in front of a moving car, to make them feel worse.
I don't need the Wings of Life and their food.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Data Bytes The Dust

A Grievous Loss
Somehow I managed to lose my little change holder type thing. In it were my food card, my jail ID, my Starbucks card, and the little 1 Gigabyte "data traveller," which held hundreds of pages of my writings, including the lyrics to about 30 of my songs, many of which were in progress and had recently added lyrics which will be hard to recall.
I think, after buying a sandwich at Pollman's Bakery, I put my change holder type thing in the bag with the sandwich, because my hands were full at the time. I then threw the bag away, after eating the sandwich, and I guess not becoming alerted by the bag's weight being off by about the weight of a change holder type thing.
I suppose I have done well in hanging on to the thing for so long. I just recently pondered trying to back up all the data from it to an online storage type place, in the event of the event above.
The food card will take a good 3 to 5 days to be replaced, limiting my diet somewhat.
After noticing the thing missing, I wasn't even very enthused about playing at Serda's. I thought that it would weigh on my mind, along with the burden of having to come up with another paper to help the Bangladeshi guy with.
I Recognized Her At Once From Seeing Her On Facebook
A Glorious Gain
Then, I decided to go to Serda's, where I observed a rapper named Venom, rapping.
Then, in walked no one else than Becca, and her friend Hannah.
Jimmy Lee then let me go up to play, while Becca was getting me a Flying Dog. She got my favorite flavor, "golden ale."
I then began to play, on Jimmy Lee's guitar, which is expensive.
I played a long intro into "The Carcass Song" and sang half of it, before going off in another direction.
I thought I saw a look of disappointment cross Becca's face, and realised that, even if I am tired of hearing some of my own stuff, there are people that only hear it once a week, or less often. I jumped to "The Bum Song," which I about completed.
Only Heard Half A Carcass Song
I then did "Crazy About a Crazy Girl," and then "The Man Who Couldn't Decide What Flavor He Wanted," took a sip off of my Flying Dog (my favorite flavor,) and then improvised something that I have been writing in my head for several weeks, and at certain times think that I come up with some pretty funny lines for. It is "The Funk Song (in E)" and will be called that until further notice.
It is one of the only songs that had lyrics which weren't on the data traveller stick thing that I probably threw away into the Panda Express' trash.
I was so happy to have Becca and her friend in the audience, as I didn't have to put a bridle on ideas that I might otherwise have thought that nobody was going to get. Everything went pretty well.
A couple of people commended me afterwards, and I gave Becca one of the teddy bears which I caught at a Mardi Gras parade. I think it came from Venus (the character on the float, not the planet.) It was the least I could do in return for her company, a Flying Dog, and a chance to hear her perform one of her songs.
She forgot the lyrics to it, but I told her that that was a good sign, which means that she is growing, and changing the way she looks at the world and that the lyrics probably don't mean the same thing to her now; so she forgot them.
Burden Removed
I had been struggling mightily for an idea to use on the Bangladeshi Guy's paper. He had rejected my best ones, like a program to issue certain counterfeit money to the citizens to give to the bums; or tattooing the bums yellow in the face, after a third offence.
He wanted me to do it on some subject like parking in downtown Mobile. I was asking him for information about the parking problem when he seemed to realise that he could write the paper himself. That was kind of a relief because this one wouldn't have been worth the money for the aggravation.