Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Simple Life

Yesterday, my needs were simple.
I was to find some kind of fuel to burn in the little stove, not much larger than an ashtray, which Alex from California sent in one of his "goodie" packages from there.
I feel like I am living in a third world country (Downtown New Orleans) and am getting humanitarian aid from a wealthy nation (Bay Area, California) sometimes.
A trip to Rouse's Market (the big new one) produced no Sue sighting, and no fuel for the stove, either.
I don't want to risk Kerosene fume poisoning, a campsite gasoline explosion, or losing the stove when it shoots off like a rocket and lands on the roof of the Roosevelt Hotel, by experimenting with flammables in the little stove not much larger than an ashtray.
Sue has been missing out on some good food, lately, in my opinion.
My Latest Brainstorms
Could have thousands of One Man Bands
working "under" him, using
"Mr. Jojangles" licenced gear, but
fears the competition that it would create!
Brainstorm #1. Dress up like Sony Bono. Find a competent female singer, who is willing to dress like Cher. Then learn "I Got You, Babe," but with her singing Sony's part, and myself doing my, servicable in my opinion; Cher impression.
Brainstorm #2. Take detailed espionage-ish photos of Mr. Joejangles, the One Man Band's apparatus, and make figures and diagrams and patent them, and by showing a video of Joe (with his tip jar within the frame, of course) playing the thing, try to get a bank to lend money and a shop willing to assemble the things.
Joe wouldnt' even have to recognise it as his design if it were "modified" a bit...hmmm.
Joe hasn't really expressed any interest in anything beyond the scope of himself just travelling around and playing the thing. He doesn't want competition where he goes, from another One Man Band, playing a similar rig, and that is what he fears would happen, if he were to go into the same business, himself.
That might happen anyway, to poor Joe. Even if he doesn't patent the idea and/or the exact design of his rig, what is to stop from someone else (me?) from doing it. Joe could find himself competing with a One Man Band on every corner, and every one of them playing a "Daniel" brand apparatus LOL!!!
Other than that, it has been quiet.
Today, I will try again to get fuel for the little stove.
I will also try to get a strap for the Jasmine.
Humanitarian Aid
Alex from California is sparing me from having to deal with Mr. Joejangles on a neck brace type holder thing for a harmonica. He has informed me that he is sending one, along with a harmonica which fits in it. The first harmonica that he sent is of an unorthidox shape and will not fit into just any neck brace holder type thing...

Monday, January 30, 2012

In The Hands of One Man

About three weeks ago, when I ran into Sue, she was reading a book entitled "Human Sacrifice," and as that title might suggest, the book was an historical overview of the practice.
I thought it cute that Sue was using the book to put herself to sleep, and I would have taken a picture of her zonked out with "Human Sacrifice" next to her head and labelled it "Sue's taste in bedtime stories..." if the Sprint LG was charging up.
Another Free Recipe
Then, I started developing a mysterious craving for a special coconut milk based dish that I once created, and started to eat a lot more coconut, ginger, rice noodles etc. This was when Sue and I were "together."
We are "off again" right now, but even last night, I poured coconut milk into a bowl, added a lot of ginger, some black pepper and some sesame oil; crumbled in some cornflour burrito-shell type bread, and then added the "crowning" touch by inserting KA-ME gluten-free Brown Rice Crisps (teriyake), and a pinch of garlic salt.
I then let the concoction "stand" to allow the crisps to soften for as long as I could stand it, myself, and had one of the best gourmet meals since the night before, when it came out splendidly, but not quite as excellently, as last night.
Then, Sue and I split up, as I recall, and I found a book in the free book rack at the Rebuild Center, entitled "Hawaii," and as that title might suggest, it is about that island. It is by James Mitchner, I believe and is based upon the actual history, at least as it has been recorded.
So, I am reading about Hawaii, and about how coconuts floated thousands of miles to beach themselves there, but couldn't grow for thousands of years because the soil, while having plenty of iron, lacked other nutrients etc., when, soon the book is focusing upon the first inhabitants, who came from places like Bora Bora, and who were ardent practicioners of, you guessed it; human sacrifice!
And so, I have concluded that Sue might be doing some kind of "voodu hex" thing where she is trying to re-order the universe so that I can't escape thinking of her. The connection between her reading about the history of human sacrifice, and then the coconuts, then the book about Hawaii, which starts with human sacrifice as a main theme is just too uncanny.
I set about yesterday,
to find a harmonica holding neck brace type thing.
After discovering that the Guitar Bar on Decatur Street was out of that product, and remembering vaguely seeing a pretty expensive price upon one, the last time they had it in stock, I decided to take a grass roots approach and walk around informing every street musician who plays a harp, that I am in the market for a harp holding neck brace type thing, in hopes that one of them would have an extra one which he might be willing to part with.
The first one that I encountered was Joe, "Mr. Joejangles," The One Man Band, who told me that he had an old neck brace type thing, somewhere in his van, and offered to retrieve it for me and sell it to me for 10 bucks, as soon as he took a break.
I was excited at the prospect of adding a harp to my sound as soon as that evening.
Upon further introspection, Joe thought about times when he had attracted the attention of the law, by rummaging through is own van, dressed as he does, and in the interest of avoiding a similar irritation told me that it may be a while before he has a chance to do his rummaging at a car wash or some place less suspicious than the French Quarter.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In Sue's Defense

  • Sue Matters
  • Friday night
  • Sue, alone, and awash in confusion and worry...
  • Saturday Morning Blessing
I saw Sue twice yesterday.
Once, as she was exiting the library, and again that evening, as she was sitting in front of the Supreme Court building, flanked on all sides by her belongings.
Both times, I greeted her and got no real response.
As I walked past her on Royal Street, I was in good spirits and said "Guitar lessons, 25 bucks and hour!" and she may have been thinking about smiling, but didn't.
She is a different animal after she drinks, or, maybe it could be argued that she is truer to the real animal that she is after she drinks.
Her main complaint about me is that she doesn't like me as much when I drink "a lot." Neither do I.
The first time I drank with her, I was mildly shocked to hear her say things like "I should go into that restaurant and grab the waitress' tips off the tables," and "I hope I find a wallet."
The fact that she added to the first arguement: "They won't even see me, if I do it quick (sic)!" made me wonder just how serious she was.
About the "wallet," I told her about a time when I found a wallet with over 900 dollars in it; called what I gathered was his place of employment, based upon recent pay stubs within, and returned it to the guy (even though he was Mexican, Sue) and felt good about doing it, reasoning that I couldn't miss money that I never expected to have beforehand.
She acted as if that was the most incomprehensible thing that she had ever heard of. "No way, I'm keeping it!"
"You could at least drop the empty wallet in a mailbox, so they would get their licence back, and their pictures of their kids."
"No, that goes in the trash. I don't have time for that s***!"
Sue packs her bag, purple shirt and all, similar to
the way she did
Sunday morning, after she threw the
"at least a hundred dollars" at me.
Somewhere way in the back of my mind, I reserve the possibility of someday introducing these (present and former girlfriends) to my mother. I could save the 1,300 mile journey for two, and just give her my mom's disapproval in person.
Last Saturday night she reiterated her wish to "find a wallet" at one point in the evening, before we had run into the wealthy couple and the wealthy Russians, who had given "us at least a hundred bucks."
In Sue's defense, I think she is probably joking, or rather, testing me to see my reaction.
As I have said before, I believe that running into Sue twice in one day means that she had masterminded a plot to have me run into her twice upon that particular day. We are both creatures of habit.
Friday Night
Last night, I hit the streets at about 6 p.m., after coming back from the courthouse with my charges having been dismissed.
I went to Decatur Street, taking the Royal Street route, observing that latter street to be becoming increasingly populated by street performers. I think it is a prelude to Mardi Gras; musicians are claiming spots and are coming out now, more to mark their territory than to necessarily make good money.
I play in the doorway to the left, in the center of
the concrete portion of the sidewalk
(which seems out of place, juxtaposed to the historical
tiles, layed by the French).
I am playing well lately, bolstered by the knowledge that the Jasmine has been fixed with a new tuning machine for the "g" string, and that I have a new set of (the expensive kind of) strings as backups to any that I might break, should I decide to "all out go for it" on any song. Playing without regard for snapping a string is liberating, and, I find that I break less strings that way...
It was a slow night, but I did better than any of the others on Decatur, based upon my conversations. They all had made less than 12 bucks. I had been on my spot for two hours.
I knocked off 45 minutes past "curfew," then moved to the Bourbon Street spot, where I had continued modestly good luck.
The highlight of the Bourbon Street experience occured when a well dressed man walked past. He was alone and the only one within earshot at the time.
He looked straight ahead and gave no indication of having even seen me.
I decided to try to play my absolute best. I focused in and played "Norweigian Wood," by the Beatles, nailing all the subtle melody notes. He stopped about 20 feet past me, came back and put three bucks in my case, to go along with the about twenty that I would make for the night.
I am almost ready to begin...
Then, this morning, as Howard and I sat reading under the sign, a car stopped and out got a lady, who walked over and gave Howard two 100 dollar bills and said "This is for you two to share."
And that's the way it is, Saturday, January 28, 2012.
I will get some fuel for the little stove that Alex from California sent, and a little stainless steel cup, to save about 2 bucks per day on morning tea and coffee.
Oh, and a neckstrap for my harmonica, which I might debut tonight, so that I can double my income -can't forget that.
I am trying to find out if I can plug a mic into my mp3 player (where it is labelled "mic") and get a decent enough quality recording so that I can start posting little audio snippets here.
Off to work....

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Mulch Bed

Stoker, on Royal Street, making about 4 times as much as I,
on any given night....
Some new mulch
was laying upon the ground where Howard and I, and formerly Sue, sleep.
All of our stuff was still hanging in the branches of the trees, out of sight of those passing at a distance, but probably not to those laborers, whose job it is to spread mulch on city owned property. This is at least a good portent to use being able to stay there a little while longer.
Heavy Things of Value
I have a bag of "items that have monetary value, but are heavy," wedged between two saplings about 7 feet off the ground.
One such item is a really nice flashlight, made by Coleman, which I found laying in the grass in the exact spot where Howard and I were waiting for a train to hop out of  Mobile, Alabama. It flashes a bright white, red or blue. It just may be a railroad worker related tool, used by switchmen; or the different colored lights may be intended to be used by lost hikers, in lieau of a flaregun. Either way, it looks like it would be about 20 bucks at Wal-Mart. It is solid and sturdy and hence, weighs about 2 pounds. It was left it in that bag, along with a large bottle of sesame oil, which cost me 10 bucks and weighs about 2 pounds, and other heavy things of value.
Stoker's House
As I was walking about a week ago, towards a certain cell phone store, which was offering free phones to come with 250 free minutes, I passed by Stoker, who was working on his motorcycle in front of a house, which seemed to be two storied and was painted black with white trim.
The house was nesteled between two other houses, each of which were boarded up at the windows and doors, but it was on a busy street, and there was a little convenience store not far away, so, it didn't feel too "abandoned."
Stoker invited me to crash there, if I "needed" a place to.
I am investigating the distance of this house from my playing spot on Decatur Street. It is prohibitively far from the library where I am now, and from our "sign" sleeping spot. I would never want to walk that distance twice daily.
However, the sign sleeping spot is a good 15 minute walk from my playing spot on Decatur, itself.
I am going to see what the distance from the playing spot to the house is, and then consider at least stashing some of my stuff there, and getting it out of the trees. We can discuss me camping in the back yard later.
"I'm not going to have any trouble from your
roommate, am I? "
Stoker is the guy who uses his motorcycle's seat as a seat when he plugs into his amp and plays a certain style of blues slide guitar over an alternate tuning, using a harmonica and singing through a microphone which is integrated into the neck strap device which holds the harmonica in place. I think I could make over 50 bucks a night with that setup, but credit Stoker with actually having acquired it...
He is the guy whom Helen (the girl with the shaved head who plays the mandolin) referred to as her "roommate" and claimed to have beaten up, citing his being "a mysogenist racist bitch" as a motive for taking that action.
Judge Awaits Me
I actually missed my courtdate yesterday afternoon at 3 p.m., after running into some people, the clean guy, for example, and losing track of time up to the point where I decided not to try to rush up to the courthouse, arriving right before their closing time, and being told the exact same thing as I was the first time I was late: "Come back tomorrow morning, but be careful, you'll have an attachment on you, until then."
That is what I was sure that I would get in exchange for the bus fare and the sweat that I broke, dashing to get there before they stopped meting out justice for the day.
So, this morning, I went up there.
The clerk told me the above, word for word, and now I kill the time before 3 p.m. by updating this blog.

  • Sue Sightings Continue
  • Jasmine Fixed
  • Blessings in addition to the above two, continue...
  • Second Charge Dismissed
I have seen Sue twice, since she handed me back my mp3 player, after dropping her demand for the Sprint LG phone, which she had given me about 6 months ago, in exchange for it.
She acted, it seemed to me on that night on Bourbon Street, as if we had stumbled into an extremely rare and fortuitous windfall, the likes of which might only befall, especially me, "once in a blue moon.
I think now she realises that it is a more common occurance to run into wealthy, imbibing folks, who wind up bestowing gifts of money, food, drink and other things upon the lowly street musician, than she might have previously thought. She didn't frequent Bourbon Street, as far as I know.
I helped propagate this belief by telling her the little white lie of "I ran into those same Russians the next night, too, I'll have you know."
While it is true that I had, it was at the Unique Store and they were at the counter, protesting over the cost of what looked like 4 large bags of potato chip type snacks. I don't think they even noticed me.
I think the reason that I said it was to inflame Sue with torturing imaginings of yet another "we must have made about a hundred bucks off them," experience, with the "we" changed to "I." If she indeed had materialistic motives, that information must have driven her crazy. I also intended to imply that I could run into imbibing Russians and make 50 bucks, along with good wine, good tobacco and good champagne, playing a Lennon song 5 times, without her assistance (thank you very much), and could even hold my own money while doing it.
"I had no qualms about making concessions in the distribution of the 76 bucks or so, which was the actual substance of the 'at least a hundred bucks,' which I had made that night."
I realise that, in perceiving us to be partners of some kind, some people are prone to double the amount that they throw to "us," with the tacit understanding that we will wind up splitting it, ie. some of the money could be argued to have been earmarked for Sue.
However, this is not always the case, and the Russians were pretty much "all about" playing and listening to the guitar upon that particular "once in a blue moon" occasion. 
There are detrements to having a second person with the guy playing guitar, not the least of which is that it shatters the "poor, lonely trubador with only his art to give him solace," mystique, along with a few other mystiques. The drunken "let's go throw him some money and tease and flirt, and get him to sing love songs to us" college girls" account is non active in that scenario, also. 
However the argument should revolve around the fact that I care about Sue enough and would naturally bless her with some of the money, hopefully without having to even think about it, not around any sense of entitlement that she might harbour.
Courtroom 100
I showed up a day late at the courthouse, where the public defender told me that the second ticket, which I had gotten for "obstructing" a public passageway, has been dismissed.
I read a bit of "All Woman And Springtime," a novel by Brandon W. Jones, which is an "advanced reading" copy that I got from someone on Royal Street, which will not even be released until May 1st, 2012. So far; excellent!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"I'll Take It From Here"

The Guy At Lafitt's
Last night,
The stools were in about the same position last night,
as in this "stock" photo of Lafitt's
planning upon knocking off early, forgetting that my court appearance was not in the morning, but at 3 p.m., I played for a while on Decatur Street, thought I sounded pretty well, and scraped up about 6 bucks. This was 6 bucks more than I was expecting on a Wednesday night, well before Mardi Gras season is to start.
I then went up to Bourbon Street, just to see how busy it was, and just in time to run into a guy, who invited me for a beer at Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop, which is a falsely advertised bar (shown). (I didn't even see any horse shoing equipment in the place).
He bought us each a couple of Abita Amber beers, and told me, at one point in our conversation that he would be willing to invest in getting me a small amp, microphone and a pickup to go in my guitar, and a cart to pull it all around in, so that I could at least double my income, afford to live outside the downtown area, and eventually join the upper eschelon of street performers who actually make a "living" doing it.
"Mr. Joe Jangles," previously referred to here as "The
One Man Band," performing in Saint Augustine, which is
where I met him.
He will drive his van to Canada, for example, for a certain
festival, and come back a week later with almost a
thousand more American dollars than he left with,
for merely playing a 3 day stint.
He could teach me how to make a similar rig, and I
could make over 50K per year, just like him.
"A lot of people don't follow through after they realise
just how physically demanding it is," said the 58 year old
to me recently.
There are guy's who I am just as good a musician as, who sit and play right in the middle of Royal Street in the areas that are barricaded at each end, making the street like a "pedestrian mall,"on busy days, who reasonably expect to make about a hundred bucks for their efforts. They have little battery powered amps, microphones and harmonicas, if possible.
I was telling the guy this, when he suggested that I "sell stock" in myself, by coming up with a total dollar amount for the equipment I need and then dividing it into promisory notes of some kind which I could subsequently pay dividends upon. I don't know if he was speaking metaphorically.
It sounds a lot like borrowing money from whomever I can with the promise to pay it back.
I went out and played some more on Bourbon Street, taking my second Abita with me. The money was sparse and I went off around midnight, complaining that I had been "paid in beer" that night.
Harmonica Added
Yesterday, I tuned the guitar to the harmonica, which Alex from California had sent me, and managed to sound good using only the notes that my mouth was stuck upon. I hadn't tried playing it along with the guitar yet, for lack of a neck strap for it, but I got the notion that I could do something using only the left-most three holes as a simple accompaniment; and it worked!
I am really looking forward to adding it to my sound, the way a juggler might want to add bowling pins to his feat, to keep it challenging for himself, and to develope his abilities. And to make more money juggling...
Court This Afternoon
I go to court soon.
I'm going to make the 20 minute walk, in order to save the bus fare of $1.50.
I am hoping that I can pass the paperwork over to attorney Mary Howell, who will then tell me; "I'll take it from here, you won't even need to show up in court on the 29th of February."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One Less Egg To Fry

Sue's Colors Come Shining Through
Yesterday, instead of blogging,
I deviated from my routine, in an attempt to intercept Sue somewhere, so I could try to retrieve my mp3 player.
Turns Out To Be Sly And Cunning...
I had fallen into a routine, which allowed her to grab her stuff from the sign spot and make off with it, while I was here in the library.
I ran into her on Royal Street. She was talking to Grandpa Elliot. He may be the person who is harboring her, somewhere around Frenchman Street, near where I play.
I asked her for my mp3 player.
Her face started to say "I don't know what you're talking about," so I added "I know I gave it to you on Bourban Street 'that' night."
She stammered a  bit and then demanded that I give her the cell phone which she had given me months ago, in exchange for my mp3 player. I told her that I wouldn't do that because:
  1. She gave me the phone, but I never gave her the mp3 player, only let her borrow it, and she knew that it was valuable to me for the songs that I am able to learn off of it.
  2. I have all kinds of stuff stored on the phone.
She went on to argue that, if I didn't "like" her, then I had no right to accept a gift from her and she wanted the phone in exchange for the player.
I told her that she could meet me in a couple days at the library, after I had unloaded my song lyrics, photos, blog backups and things of that nature off of the phone, and I would trade.
I also threatened to call the police and report the theft of the mp3 player, supply them with a photo of her (from this blog) and told her that, even if the thing wasn't upon her person, they would arrest her and charge her and she might sit in jail for 21 days before they were to drop the charges.
She said "Go ahead!," but there was some shakiness in her voice.
I then told her that I would expose her on this blog as being a theif, if she didn't give it back.
I left and was at Rouse's Market about an hour later, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. She motioned for me to follow her and started walking down the street towards Bourbon Street. I didn't have the patience to follow her too far. "What?," I asked.
She gave me the mp3 player, and walked off, despite my trying to talk to her.
I was going to ask her what made her think that I wasn't going to share any of the money that I had gotten from the Russians with her.
She was mad because I didn't give her any of it, to go along with the food and drink that people bought for us that night.
I was the one who played a John Lennon song five times.
I suppose we both became pretty materialistic about the 75 bucks or so that I made that night. Myself, because I earned it; and Sue, because she happened to be with me that night and felt entitled to some of it, to go with the Starbucks stuff and the food that I had bought for her all that week.
So, I got my mp3 player back, and there is less stuff hanging in the trees at the sign sleeping spot.
Court Again
I have to go to court again tomorrow afternoon. I am hoping that my attorney can settle the matters without me even appearing in court. That would free me up to leave here and travel.
Howard has said that he wanted to be in California before March, which is as early as I myself could leave, should I have to be present in the courtroom.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fools Russian, Where Angels Fear To Tread

From Russia, With Love
  • It's Easy If You Try...
  • Jasmine in need of repair
  • Sue and mine's tumultuous relationship
  • Courtdate Set For 2/29
  • The Two Man Band
  • Goodies From Gilroy
Imagine making 50 bucks for playing one song, five times...
Well, that is just what happened Saturday night, into Sunday morning.
Sue had shown up in the middle of my set on Decatur Street, and feigned to grab my backpack and run off, like she has done before. My head was turned the other way at the time, and it caused my heart to skip a beat, when I saw it out of the corner of my eye. The transition from horror to bliss when I beheld her was pleasant, as I had thought that she made the 2 mile walk just to see me.
Soon, it became evident, as she pulled out a bowl of excellent "gumbo," that the Asian lady had encountered her, making me wonder which one of us she is actuallly trying to feed, if not both of us.
Sue had gotten there before me, on an errand to retrieve or stash stuff at her super secret hiding place near my spot, and I guess she turned it into a double errand by including her visit to me.
I made about 13 bucks, as she clapped along, and then decided to knock off at 11:30, three and a half hours past the "curfew" on street performance on that street. I have noticed that the cops only ticket us on Mondays and Tuesdays, when other heneous crimes are slow.
We went to Bourbon Street and I set up at my semi-quiet spot, a little ways from the circus which is on the Canal Street end.
Soon, a couple arrived.
He was from Alaska ($$$), very lonely, and tired of the -37 degree weather.
She was from here, a photographer, heavily tattooed and on disability for a drug addiction (yes, you can get paid here to be a junkie!)
They sat and talked. I played some music and there was soon a 10 dollar bill in my case to go with the 13 which were already there.
They invited us to go for drinks. We found a trendy, hip and happening bar, where shots of good vodka were $20.50; a little pricey (I thought the extra 50 cents was "over the top").
Even the guy from Alaska thought it was a little too much oil-pipeline money for one shot of booze.
We headed for another bar, but, before we got there, we were accosted by a group of what turned out to be Russians, sitting on the steps in front of a condo. One of them wanted to play my guitar.
What I saw were a group of bums that wanted to bang on my guitar for their own amusement. I figured that if they loved the guitar that much, they would own one.
What the tatooed photographer girl saw, and explained to me later was "money" ("They're staying in a condo on Bourbon Street, and they're drinking out of glasses which are tailored to the exact kind of wine which is in them; and, did you notice the Dom Perignon on the table inside?")
Before she could communicate this, I rudely said "Nobody touches my guitar, dude!," which played right into their Russian hands. Russians are customarily rude to each other, as I suppose they feel that it is more honest than false pleasantry...
"I'll give you 10 bucks, if I can play your guitar," said one.
"Mozna!" (you may), I said. (I lived with a Russian lady for over a year, once)
Soon, 10 bucks fell into my case, quickly scooped up by Sue "I'll be the money holder," who was leary of it being snatched by someone. Very considerate of her to look out for "my" money like that...
Then, one of them asked my if I could play "Imagine," by John Lennon, John Lennon!!
That being one of my masterpieces, I played it. Another 10 bucks went to Sue.
"Again!," said the same guy, when I was finished. I fought back the exasperation over repeating the same song and repeated the same song. 10 more bucks.
"We need to stay here untill six in the morning," whispered Sue in between renditions. "Keep playing!"
Easy for her to say...
"Imagine" was performed 5 times, for a total of 50 bucks. Glasses of Dom Perignon and red wine were had by all, even Sue, who doesn't usually drink, but knows when the value of something is commensurate with her lady hood and not below her dignity...
Then, the couple, who had gone off to eat and drink, returned, and invited us to eat and drink with them, just as the Russians were finally tiring of the music of John Lennon.
We were led to a bar, where we were each handed shots of bourbon in test tubes. Sue "accidently" dropped all 12 dollars worth of hers. "You don't know what they might have slipped in it, you can't trust people!"
The Spat
Sue and I are now batting about .500 when it comes to us argueing after we both drink.
The couple invited us to crash at their hotel room, rather than our usual bed of mulch. Sue didn't want to go.
I appologized for her skittishness and assured them that it had nothing to do with lack of appreciation for all they had done for us.
We walked back to the mulch bed.
"Can I have the money now?" I finally asked, after I became curious about its amount and had an unsettling feeling about Sue being the "keeper" of it. I envisioned it becoming "our" money and subject to being spent by committee. I also knew that Sue was prone to walk off at the slightest provokation, such as a comment that I might make, which would offend her. I can remember times when I thought that she was walking a step or two behind me, only to turn my head and see her a quarter mile off and heading in the opposite direction, after I said something which she misinterpreted.
"No," she said.
"Are you just going to steal it from me?" I asked, which turned into a very good illustration of the above.
She emptied her pockets and threw money at me and said "Here. Here's everything they gave you!" and then grabbed her stuff and walked off. "I'm not a thief!!"
I haven't seen her since.
She has my mp3 player. I guess I will find out how honest she actually is, by weather or not I get it back.
Jasmine Holding Up
Meanwhile, I wait for the guy at the music store to get in some tuning machines, so that I can fix the Jasmine guitar before the string which I can't adjust snaps. While I have the money to do so.
"Not Guilty"
I got up this morning, in time to catch the 8:30 bus to arrive at the courthouse only an hour late.
I was determined to be indigent and referred to a public defender, who had a pen out and a form used to plead "guilty," which outlined all the rights to be given up by doing so. He pushed the pen towards me and told me to sign.
I remembered what Mary Howell, the civil rights attorney had instructed me to do and I politely refused the council provided to me at no cost by the Public Defender's Office.
"Good!" said Attorney Howell when I went to her office afterwards and told her what had transpired.
My "trial" date has been set for February 29th. It seems like events are conspiring to keep me here at least through Mardi Gras. After that, any number of things may happen, including catching a ride with the One Man Band, Joe who has a van.
Goodies Picked Up
I am almost out of time and don't want to slight this portion, but, I got a box from Alex in California which contained the pleasant surprises of pepper spray and tea bags, along with the expected guitar strings of which I was notified were on the way.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Such Details

Last night, after I left here,
I went to the Decatur Street spot to play. I didn't have a strap, and I wasn't going to stand up, but I was going to crouch and lean on the wall behind me, so I wouldn't be technically sitting, and I did. I thought that I played pretty well and the nine dollars in my case agreed.
Sue chose not to go with me. I thought that it might be just as well.
Will he bring a snack...?
I was flat broke .
I started my case out with about 59 cents.
I was hoping that my "g" string wouldn't break, because the tuning machine attached to that string has totally stripped. I have to tune all my other strings to that one, because that one is frozen at one pitch.
I don't mind doing that, especially since, as that one string slowly drops in pitch, it help my singing voice.
However, if that string were to break, then I would have a seriously compromised guitar and would have to improvise things based upon having a missing "g" string, which is a "hit and miss" proposition; mostly "miss," I have found.
I started to walk to my spot, without Sue in tow.
I found an almost full and cold 24 oz. can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, sitting on the sidewalk, as if someone hadn't wanted to take it into their car; drank it; and then went to my spot and played and made about 9 bucks.
I knocked off about 9:45, which was about the time that I had told Sue that I would be back at the sleeping spot.
I was happy to have 9 bucks; it could have easily have been 0 bucks.
I got back.
Sue was there. She had her head covered with her blanket in a fashion which I had seen before and which before had meant "don't bother me."
I already had my shoes off and my sleeping bag unrolled when I touched her on the shoulder, intending to ask her how her evening had been. She gave me a quick glance and then rolled over, facing away from me and re-covered her head.
The last time she had done that, back at the Occupation site, my reaction was to leave and sleep elsewhere.
I rolled my sleeping bag up, put on my shoes and was just walking off when she called out and told me to "come here."
I told her that it seemed like she didn't want to be bothered and that I was leaving...I'm not going to kiss your ass just to share a bed with you....
The first thing she asked me was if I had brought any "snacks."
I hadn't, because I had been burned so many times after spending good money on things that she had refused to eat, so that I didn't feel like trying to divine what she may have been in the mood for.
She woke me this morning, in time to go to the Rebuild Center to do laundry. After cuddling a bit, we went and did just that, taking only 4 hours out of the day for it. I grabbed one of Howard's shirts and added it to the load.
Sue was hungry afterwards. I suggested that we grab some noodles at the nearest Walgreens and microwave them at the Tulane Medical School cafeteria. She seemed enthused about that idea and became adament about us hurrying, so as to not miss the closing of that place.
Then, I thought about how I had been craving a special meal that I had once created, consisting of coconut milk, rice noodles, vegetables and a lot of ginger and some sesame oil. I suggested that we go to the new Rouse's Market, the huge one with everything, because I knew that I could get the ingredients there.
Sue became the leader, rather than the follower at that point. She started walking very fast, mostly in front of me, towards Rouse's Market. When I told her that I wanted to stop for a beer, which was a little bit out of the way, she seemed annoyed. I wondered why she was so intent upon getting to the market when she supposedly had no money of her own.
It became somewhat of a farce.
Somehow she had lost the tupperware bowl, which I was going to use to heat up relatively cheap rice noodles in, which necessitated us purchasing the kind which come with a bowl at about 3 times the cost.
I couldn't open the coconut milk, because I had left my can opener at the library in all of the sudden fury over rushing to the market. Sue loves Rouse's because they have "everything," including free samples of cheese, crackers, sushi and other items, all of which Sue quickly found and began to spoil her appetite with.
So, we ate the more expensive noodles out of my food money, seasoned them with ginger which I could have probably gotten cheaper elsewhere, and sesame oil of which I bought a large bottle, which I will have to safeguard against its coming open in my backpack, like its predecessor did. 
At one point, Sue was begging me to buy her a can of iced tea or something because it had Bob Marley depicted on the front. I think someone spoiled her somewhere along the line. She seemed to think that we had the entire balance of my food card at our disposal upon this one day.
I am way over budget on it, with 28 days left in the "month."
Sue and I got back "together," coincidently, right around the time that my card got re charged, but I don't think she pays attention to such details...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Post

After getting half a night of sleep Monday night, Sue and I took the
Algiers ferry across the Mississippi and finished sleeping
in the relative quiet of the "other side."
The Cat Sympathiser Pity Dollar
Monday night, with Sue by my side,
I played and made the $4.78 which I reported in yesterday's post.
This was a test of my spiritual development, in a sense that I realised that the only reason that I would be reluctant to have Sue with me, is if I weren't to make any money. This would cause me embarrassment and open the door for Sue to make polite criticisms about the songs I was doing, or the manner in which I was doing them.
I had to crush the seeds of the anger which was already fomenting in me, and ask myself one of those searching questions like "Why am I feeling this way." I solved the problem by saying to Sue, as we approached the spot: "You know, I don't think I'll make anything at all," as I looked up and down the sidewalk at the sparse crowd. Then I asked her how long she thought I should play without having made anything. "At least one hour," she said, and I could tell by her tone of voice that she too had resigned herself to whatever fate the God, which I'm not sure she believes in, dealt us.
I felt better, after having removed that way, all expectations and promises and castles in the sky. In the past, I might have said something like "Hopefully I can come up with enough for us to get something to eat," and put pressure on myself. Neither one of us had eaten much that day.
It has been a while since Sue sat by me, in fact, and in that time I believe my music has evolved to where I am more cognizant of my inner voice directing me and less aware of the people walking past, as regarding my choice of music. I play what I want to hear, struggling at times, and the struggling has been rewarded with as much money or more than any other single guy with an acoustic guitar and no amp has reported making to me, in the same allotment of time...
Sue had to leave to retrieve her "stuff" from a very secret location, which was conveniently very near my playing spot on Decatur. "A couple blocks away," was all I could wring out of her about it, and the fact that she had to go there after dark.
This gave me a chance to play for about a half hour by myself, starting my case out with 6 pennies and some other assorted coins of no real monetary value, such as a game token for some amusement park, somewhere on earth, which was thrown to me by a smirking young black gentleman on Canal Street once. He might have thought that he was playing games with me, after I said "thank you," when he tossed it in my case. Sometimes in the past, the gold coin which I caught a glimpse of out of the corner of my eye, as it spun through the air (like those shiny metallic spoon lures that attract some fish) has turned out to be a gold dollar coin of the Susan B. Anthony or Poccahantis ilk.
I would have said "thank you," anyways, even if I had identified it as a token from some amusement park somewhere on the planet, because the coin is useful to me in situations like Monday nights, when I am just about broke (so broke that I can't even pay attention, yuk yuk..) and I want to give the passers by the impression that my music has found favor with other people enough so that they rewarded my, albeit with coins.
This makes them feel like they aren't the only freak on the street who actually likes the kind of stuff that the weird guy in the hat is "throwing down."
Coins attract more coins, and a trip to the beer store to exchange the first dollars worth for paper money is expedient. And why not grab a Samuel Adams Nobil Pils, why you're there...
I had a dollar neatly placed, standing up and leaning upon my sign which reads "Street Musician Stimulus Package," as if layed there in appreciation of that sign, especially (and hopefully the music wasn't too bad either).
Soon another dollar was layed on top of the first, in the same position, as if the second person was "seconding" the opinion that the sign was worth tipping.
By the time Sue returned, weighted down like a burro with more bags of stuff than I've ever seen her with, there was like three dollars and change, amongst the "worthless" coins.
So, there we sat with my bag and guitar case, and Sue's four or five bags, one of which contained a cat, until she let Kookie out, for the cat's sake and to fish for what I will coin the "cat sympathiser pity dollar."
Food Arrives
An Asian lady, wearing what looked like the "scrubs" that surgeons wear, came out of a doorway about fifty feet down the sidewalk, stopped and listened for a minute, left, returned, and without a word, handed us a tupperware bowl of what turned out to be excellent rice with celery and other things cooked in. We showed our appreciation by attacking it with our spoons and moaning with satisfaction.
Another lady placed a styrofoam container down next to my case a bit later, full of red beans and rice.
Then, a street person came by with a styrofoam container and handed it to us, saying that he was so full that he couldn't eat any more. It had pork chops, macaroni and cheese and asparagus. Kooky got most of the pork chops.
We carried all of our stuff to the sign spot, stopping to rest a couple times along the way. Howard was sound asleep but had laid the mornings newpaper by the head of our bed of mulch.
In the morning, I pursued my plans to accomplish much, but only got as far as the shower and the mailroom at Rebuild Center, and the phone store, where I was ignored.
The Same, Only Better
Tuesday (last) night, Sue decided not to walk the great distance with me to my playing spot with me. She asked me what time I was going to get "back." I told her "About the same time as last night." I added that I was hoping that night would be similar to the previous one, especially in terms of making at least 5 bucks and being handed food by people, but not excluding the cuddling in the sleeping bag with her which took place.
I bent my tracks towards Decatur. I found a bag containing three styrofoam containers, laid neatly by a trash can. One of them contained a rice dish with some kind of secret ingredient which may have been either potato based or tapioca. Another one contained salad, and the third, something which looked as though it had been "bitten into."
I combined the salad with the rice dish, threw away the third, and continued on to the spot, where I made about 11 bucks and was handed more food by the same Asian lady, who was wearing the same scrubs. She glanced expectantly at the spot where Sue had been sitting, as if looking for signs of her.
"You can stand here and play, but
you can't sit here and play."
"I'll see her later," I said, pointing at the same spot. The lady was probably intending that I would share it with Sue, and probably assumed that I would, after seeing us eat out of the same bowl the previous night.
Another Ticket
Then, a friendly, portly white cop pulled up and told me that I wasn't allowed to sit and play where I was. I could stand and play, but not sit and play, because "Some of these tourists are pretty drunk and might trip over you. You're harder to see, if you're sitting down..." That could have been the end of it, but he went to his car with my ID and returned with my second ticket this week, which I signed. "I know you probably think it's a stupid law, but..."
"But, I don't have a strap."
He had a "Don't worry about it; you're not in any trouble" look on his face and I thought he was going to wink at me as he further explained the ticket. After I told him that no, I didn't have an address, he kind of shrugged and said "OK." He surely knows what I now know about those tickets and the process of having them dismissed.
The previous night, Sue and I ran into a female clown, who told us about a house where musicians and artists were welcome to dwell for free, do their laundry, shower and sleep. When I told the clown about my ticket, she gave me the number of a "street lawyer," who "is actually a Civil Rights Attorney," named Mary Howell. She said that it was very important that I show up for court, but that I contact Attorney Howell in advance, who will have had the ticket dismissed before I even show up. She could do the same if I were to miss the courtdate, but I would have to turn myself in and spend time in jail, waiting for another courtdate, perhaps 21 days.
"Tie a string to it, or something..."
There is something going with the issuing of these tickets to the homeless. The Parish just got a huge sum of money from the government, to use in placing homeless people in jobs and apartments, and it seems like they are fishing for candidates.
Then, It Rained
I moved to the Bourbon Street spot, after telling the officer that I couldn't stand up because I didn't have a guitar strap.
As I packed up, I noticed that someone had thrown a bud of very potent pot into my case, alongside the 11 dollars and the worthless coins. I had been there the whole time that the officer was talking to me.
I played like the finest violinist in all of Europe on Bourbon Street, and added another few bucks to my case before deciding to knock off at about 9:30 p.m., and go share the food from the Asian lady with Sue.
But then the skies opened up and it poured very hard. I ducked under an overhang to wait it out, wondering if Howard and Sue were getting the same rain about 4 blocks away.
I didn't expect them to be there when I got back. I had no idea how long it would rain and prepared to sleep right there off of Bourbon Street under an overhang. I thought about how I had asked Sue about the red beans and rice before I went out to play. She told me she had eaten it. "What am I supposed to eat?!?" was her response.
Then I thought about how the food was given to me this time in a plastic bag, poured by the Asian lady out of another tupperware bowl, which she probably didn't want to part with. I wondered if Sue would question the origins of the food or maybe suspect that I had gotten it out of someone's trash, and then refuse to eat it.
Finally, I thought about how Sue had been riding me about the fact that I hadn't eated at all that previous day, telling me that I needed to start eating more.
So, as the rain poured down, I ate the food out of the plastic bag.
I think it may have been the best meal that I have ever tasted. It was a rice dish, but the rice was perfectly done and had vegetables, notably broccoli, which seemed to have been given their own special treatment in cooking, before the ingredients were combined. I could imagine things being soaked over night, others marinated over night, and everything slow cooked so as to preserve all of the nutrition and flavor.
It was so delicious that I wanted to save some for Sue, but then thought about all of the above arguments and ate the whole darned thing, rationalising "You TOLD me to start eating more!" as I did.
I got back the the spot and Sue and Howard were indeed there. Sue was curled up in a fetal position, under the cardboard, which we had been laying on top of. She had Kooky underneath her, keeping her dry...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

3 Minute Drill

I have 3 minutes
to say that I am back after the Sunday and the Holiday, when this library was closed.
Things are slow here. I made $4.78 in about an hour and a half on Decatur street. Then moved to Bourbon, where I decided, after looking up and down the street, that it wasn't worth it to try for another $4.78 and lose an hour and half of sleep.
Sue was with me. She is back in my life, after running into me and hanging out with me Sunday, and sharing my sleeping bag Sunday night and last night. Howard never heard a thing...
I woke up this morning before Sue. Howard had already gone for his morning newspaper and coffee.
I had a lot of plans for the day. I was going to do my laundry at the Rebuid Center, take a shower, check with them to see if a package being sent "priority" mail would be accepted by them, go to Chartres Street and note the address of Caveman Guru, so that I could use it to obtain a free camera cellphone with 250 free minutes from a place that gives them away like that, but requires that people have valid mailing addresses, check on a place which is like a crash pad for artists and musicians and has a washer/dryer and a shower and places to sleep, go to the phone store to see if they could test my USB cable, which might be the cause of my phone no longer charging, and about 4 other things.
So far, I have gotten the shower, and confirmed that the Rebuild Center will take mail sent "priority."
A trip to the phone store on Canal Street produced the result of the sales staff totally ignoring me, after speaking briefly to each other in some foreign language in a derisive tone, after I walked in. One of them might have been saying to the other "Ignore him."
Not having done my laundry, I noticed the stains on the clothes I was wearing and attributed their attitude to that. I walked out without saying anything to them. It was one of those times that I wish I could have walked out of the Radio Shack, two doors down from them, with my arms laden with expensive merchandise, of the same kind that they sell in the phone/camera/luggage/watch/etc store, where I went to ask them if they could plug a good USB cable into my phone to see if that would solve the problem that it is currently having.
Then, in that particular fantasy, the Radio Shack salesman would say to someone, within earshot of the foreigners, "Some guy just bought twenty grand worth of stuff, cash; I just made my commission for the week, yahoo!!"

Alex from California is sending some guitar strings, bless his heart.
Mary, from Massachusetts emailed me some songs. They were blues songs, like "The Black Keys," and B.B. King and Taj Mahal, for example.
Other than that, the trip out of here is still planned for next week.
I got some good news, but am out of time