Saturday, June 30, 2012

One Nickel

Friday morning, I was in so much pain after laying my hand down upon the Southern Flannel Moth at about 4 a.m. that I never fell back to sleep.
At about 7 a.m., I walked over to the Walgreens on Tulane, to get some Goody's Powder. It didn't open until 7:30, and I was told so by the vendor with the dollys loaded with soft drinks, who was waiting to get in and who spoke with a heavy New Orleans accent.
A heavy New Orleans accent sounds like someone talking with a heavy New Jersey accent with a crawfish in his mouth. 
He told me to take Benadryl instead of aspirin for the nasty infection caused by the moth.
He also told me that the other nearby Walgreens on Canal Street was open, but after I walked there and discovered that it too didn't open until 7:30, I figured he was most likely wrong about the Benadryl too, and so, went in and got some Advil type stuff and took 4 of them.
Listed on the back of the box were its applications; fever, body aches, toothaches, Southern Flannel Moth bites.
I'll Be Back Once More, To Return The Fake Book
Then, I headed for the Westin Hotel, to post yesterday's post and then to run into Sue, who was sitting at one of the outside tables, talking to a guitar player dude and his friend, who were telling her that they had only been in New Orleans for a couple days and couldn't wait to get out of there, because "something is wrong with the place," something they couldn't put their fingers on, unlike a note on a fretboard.
Sue and I talked for a while.
It turns out that she reads this blog (oops!) and has been doing so for a while, at least long enough so that she knew to expect my arrival the previous Friday.
Then, the whacky farce began.
She walked with me to the bus stop at the library, where I was just a few minutes too late to catch the 3:25 p.m. bus.
I decided to use the time before the 4:25 p.m. departure to run to the music store on Decatur, where I discovered that the price of Martin SP extra light gauge strings, at $9.80 per set, after tax was 20 cents more than I had, after taking out 5 bucks for the ride to Baton Rouge.
I was regretting buying the pack of cigarettes and the beer the night before.
$9.80 A Set, What Are You, Crazy??
I would have to take the bus to Baton Rouge and then busk using the rusty, dingy strings that I had on, and then hope to get a fresh set the next day.
I got back to Tulane Street to see the bus already sitting at the stop, and Sue (who had been watching my stuff so that I could run to the store and back faster) talking to the driver, trying to delay her.
I gave Sue a hug, threw my stuff in the underneath compartment and got on the bus.
The bus wasn't very crowded at all. The bus arriving FROM Baton Rouge had been packed. 
It pulled away.
Kicked Off In Sorrento 
The driver never gave the usual spiel about "no smoking, no alcohol, no illegal drugs, no weapons."
I started to read, as we pulled away from New Orleans, but soon found myself falling asleep.
I decided that I would recline upon the seat and sleep, since I had it all to myself.
First I wanted to use the restroom, so that I could sleep without being uninterrupted by the urge later on.
I don't know if it was lack of sleep, which made me feel groggy, or being bitten by a venomous moth that made me feel disoriented, or having been out most of the day in the 100 degree heat that made me kind of dopey, or the fact that, every other time that I had ridden the LA Swift, I had taken a few drags off a cigarette in the restroom about half way through the trip; and had gotten away with it; but; I decided to take a few drags off a cigarette while in there.
I actually took a few more drags than usual, and that might be what set off some kind of cigarette detector which probably caused the symbol of a cigarette to start flashing red on the dash board of the driver, but, after I came out, and before I even had gotten to my seat, which I had all to myself, she called me "You, sir!" to the front of the bus.
She said "You know there's no smoking on the bus, and so, this next exit coming up is where you will be getting off."
I was too tired and dopey and groggy to argue, although I could have played ignorant; mentioned the fact that she never gave the spiel about smoking, told her that I had never ridden the LA Swift bus before (I had actually attempted to slide my 5 dollars into the wrong slot, before being corrected by her) or even told her that that was my last 5 dollars and that my 12 year old daughter, whom I have custody of over the weekends was all alone at the terminal in downtown Baton Rouge, expecting me to arrive on the bus, and if I didn't she was going to freak out and become terrified. ...and if anything happens to her there in cracktown while she is waiting into the night hoping that there will be another bus and that I will be on it; I will sue Hotard Bus Lines for all they are worth, and name her as a defendant and will find a witness to testify that the warning about smoking was never given.
I got off the bus, and found myself in a bleak and barren spot where there were a couple of gas stations, a McDonalds and a Hotard Bus stop.
I had 7 dollars and change on me.
I went into the nearest store with my bus schedule to see if the last bus through actually stopped there. Not every bus stops at each stop.
I was informed that the last bus did stop there, and would do so in another 20 minutes.
About 15 minutes later, a bus stopped there, catching me by surprise.
I started to run towards it, taking a shortcut through a patch of tall grass, which turned out to be a patch of tall grass growing out of a puddle of mud and water into which I sank up to my knees, but managed to make it through.
I checked myself for southern flannel moths and then ran to the open door at the front of the bus, and saw none other than the same driver who had kicked me off the same bus.
I started to tell her that I needed to get to Baton Rouge and had rehearsed my story about my 14 year old daughter, who had had a couple birthdays since I first concocted the story, because what kind of father leaves a mere 12 year old alone at a bus terminal?
"Get on!" the driver, a 30 something year old black lady, said, before I could get another word out of my mouth.
"That stuff has to go underneath."
I got back on and started towards my seat, which I previously had all to myself.
"Wait a minute," the driver said, pointing to the money accepter.
I put my last 5 dollar bill into the correct slot ...what if I had been out of money? and went back to my seat.
I got to Baton Rouge, spent the rest of the money that I had on a Natural Ice 24 oz. beer out of disgust and a desire to say "f*** it all," drank it behind the trunk of a huge oak tree about half way downtown, and then proceeded to my spot.
I stopped and talked to the hot dog cart guy.
The topic of conversation was the outrageous volume with which the band that sucked in the club up the street was playing.
I went to the spot, unpacked and then found it hard to even hear myself playing over them.
Soon, the guy who had taken a couple of pictures of me and e-mailed them to me a couple weeks earlier showed up, riding a bicycle.
"Remember me?" he asked.
We talked for a while, as I packed up to move to the other spot up the street, where he joined me and we talked a while longer.
The topic of that conversation was the volume with which the other club near the other spot was cranking their prerecorded Hip Hop music.
I was tired, and hadn't made a dime, yet, took him up on his offer to eat and sleep at his place, which was about a mile away.
Along with being a photographer, I gathered from looking around his place that he was also a fisherman, a model rocket builder, a golfer, and a musician, as evidenced by his amplifiers, guitars -both electric and acoustic- and sundry other musical equipment, enough to start a band.
He let me play his electric guitar and I was able to impress him with my command of the key of E minor, and further amaze him by picking out some of the solo in the song "Freebird," by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and delight him by finding the chords in a Smashing Pumpkins song about a rat in a cage, after listening to it once.
Eating was forgotten about and I was soon very asleep on his couch, until well into the morning when he himself arose and began to make coffee.
I hung out there most of the day, talking about music and playing music and plugging in this laptop, so that he could read Alex in Californias comments about my recordings, and then hear a few of them, so he could see what the fuss was all about.
"To be honest with you; you need to modernize your sound. This stuff sounds kind of 70's -ish," he said, but then added that the "whistle" (Ocinero) in The Ballad of Richard Corey sounded pretty cool.
He let me play his acoustic guitar, which was an Ibanez and was bigger and heavier than mine, easier to tune than mine and sounded better than mine.
After I handed it back to him and resumed playing mine, I noticed right away that mine sounded like garbage by comparison. The tuning machines rattled; and the top buzzed where I had put tape over the spot that had become damaged. And there is some "play" in the bridge, when the strings are struck.
I left at about sundown (an hour ago) and got a Rock Star energy drink at the store and then came here, across the street from Community Coffee to do this post.
I will shortly go to the playing spot where, starting out with one nickel, I will busk.
Air Conditioned Recording Studio Complete With Golf Clubs
The photographer guy, whose name I never got, talked about me working with him on recording some music, and said that I could use his guitars and whatever other equipment that he had, notably a microphone, to record some stuff and to add myself to his recordings.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday After Five

25 Bucks
I miraculously got 25 bucks last night.
I only got three tips: one 20 dollar bill; one 5 dollar bill, one handful of change.
Another Ticket
After I had gotten the 5 dollar bill was when the cop came and gave me a ticket for not standing up. I forgot to stand up; should have remembered, but with everything going on; I just sat down and played.
Twice Bitten
I have now been bitten twice by probably the same southern flannel moth that bit me the first time -the one that Sue didn't want to kill because flannel moths have feelings.
My whole arm has been in extreme pain for the past 6 hours now. I fall into the category of "and in rare cases, extreme pain" and fall just short of the "in allergic individuals; sometimes death" group of people, that are listed under the symptoms of the flannel moth venom header.
Baton Rouge
 I have enough money to take the bus out of New Orleans (yay!) to Baton Rouge (mixed reactions) where I will buy new strings and play downtown tonight, given that the pain in my right hand has subsided by then.
It feels like I banged my funny bone and scraped the skin off of the area where it bit me at the same time.
Studio Work
I then plan to get some work done with the Audacity program -have a few ideas, but will keep them under wraps for now.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rock Guitar Fake Book

The Note At The Sign
I left the library yesterday with 15 cents in my pocket.
Stopping at the sign spot, intending to drop off a couple of heavy items, I changed my mind after I saw a trash bag sitting there, which had a note attached saying: "If you put this stuff back, we will throw it away. Will be back Thursday." 
In the bag were the few books and clothing which we had "hidden" in the branches of the trees overhead, and Howards extra bag of stuff. 
I left my own note for Howard, which was redundant by the time he read it, since it only told him something like "I found this when I got here." 
I didn't have time to go back to the library to tell him about it, (when you have 15 cents total on you, other things take on more importance) and figured that he would know what to do: take the stuff that he wanted to keep and put it somewhere else. 
The cardboard was gone, and the mulch bed had been sprayed with a white substance that kind of looked like Epsom salt, dissolved in water. I found a nickel, covered with it.
Divine Intervention
I took my 20 cents and made a beeline for Decatur Street. 
Sue was nowhere to be seen. Nobody else whom I talked to had seen her, either. 
It was still daylight as I sat and started to play, trying to conjure up energy. Most of the people walking past were either panhandlers or employees of the neighboring businesses. 
I started my case out with 6 cents, as that had seemed to be a "lucky" amount the other two times that I used it. 
The few tourists that I saw seemed to be holdovers from the previous few nights, staying at that hotel that has the "Do not tip the street performers" sign hanging over the door on the way out. 
After about 50 of them passed, all with the same look on their faces, I just stopped playing, thinking that they were all of the same mind, and that I was just as likely to get something from someone of a different mind; one who supports street musicians on general principle, just because of the profession that they have chosen -the ones that will throw you a buck while you are tuning, or are just taking your instrument out; or the ones that will throw you a buck because they see that you only have 6 cents in your case. 
But, then I got to thinking that there were also those who will tip only because they like the song or because they can hear that you have put in a certain amount of practice, to have gotten to your level, and will "reward" that. Then, I thought that people, by nature, are NOT all of the same mind, that I was pigeon-holing them and that the very next group of tourists might be different from the previous 12.
I decided to just play, because that's what I do.
Soon I was playing pretty well, having shaken off the lethargy which comes from starting out totally sober, and actually started to enjoy myself. 
Then, across the street, I saw a group of about a dozen, mostly teenagers, but chaperoned by a few adults. 
They crossed over towards me, as I was playing "Me And My Uncle," a "cowboy" song that the Grateful Dead did. 
One of them handed me a zip-lock bag, containing all kinds of hygiene items. I thanked them profusely, telling them how much I needed stuff like that, especially with the heat and humidity requiring me to wash up and change my shirt 3 times a day.
"What were you playing?" asked the male adult.
"That was actually a cowboy song," I said.
"Oh, well that's good," he replied, because we're from Texas"
I started to tell them the story in the song, but when I got to what happens at the end, I said "well," and just played it, rather than explain.
7 dollars went into my case.
"Thank you, so much. That seems to happen a lot when I feel like quitting and force myself to keep going," I said.
I played them "Tears In Heaven," sensing that they were a church group, and thanking God that they didn't seem to want me to hold hands with them and ask Jesus to come into my heart "...and ask him loud enough so we all can hear you, please..
I just feel that missionaries wouldn't put people on the spot like that if they were actually full of the love of God.
"I like that song," said one of the adult women.
They went their way, and I continued to play, bolstered with having made more money then, than I had in the prior two days. I can't help playing better and with more energy after a nice tip. 
Then along came a street person type guy, who squatted next to me and asked "Did they give you anything?" I thought he was going to ask me for some money, but soon realized that he was trying to establish a rapport with me as a fellow street musician, for he was indeed "The guy who plays guitar but doesn't have one." 
He wanted to play my guitar, of course he wanted to play my guitar. 
He promised "I'll be gentle with your baby." 
I let him play, though he wasn't as gentle as I would have preferred and wasn't very skillful, he played a lot of major chords with added notes and seemed to think that he had invented them. "Listen to this chord I came up with," he said; referring to one of them. 
While he was playing, a lady handed me a dollar, though. 
He soon left, after I told him that I needed to get back to work. 
I made another dollar before a delivery girl on a bike then came along and gave me a Styrofoam container full of Thai food, saying that it was not what the particular customer had ordered and that they were just going to throw it away. 
I took a break to eat it which I did while walking along and looking for Sue.
She was so well hidden that I never did.
I wound up sleeping outside the library (Howard was there) rather than the sign spot, though I could have slept at the latter.
September 12th Courtdate
The court gave me a date of September 12 th, to face the charge of "Disturbing the peace."
I will be long gone by then, but it gives me a grace period, when I could come back here, maybe to see Sue, certainly not to busk...
Hanging On By A String  
I am now going to go to the music store on Decatur and purchase one guitar string to replace the broken one, and then will basically repeat last night's performance in the hope of having enough money to get to Baton Rouge tomorrow.
I still have the latest book which Sue checked out of the library for me, a Rock Guitar Fake Book with hundreds of songs, many of which I will add to my list, which has 96 songs, as of this writing.
I will have to return the book to the library or return to New Orleans in the future to return the book to the library; because I don't want to get Sue in trouble with whomever lent her his library card.... 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Things Could Explode Here

It is 96 and sunny in New Orleans,
meaning that most tourists are going to wait until well after the 8 p.m. shutoff time to venture out into the quarter.
I did a lot of soul searching last night, as I lay awake, unable to sleep because of the heat; the early hour (4 hours before "normal" cardboard time) that I laid down, and the mosquitoes that seemed to actually enjoy the fragrance of the repellent that I sprayed on myself; and the ants...
Tip #17: Don't sit and eat in the exact spot where you are going to sleep, because you will drop crumbs and attract ants.
The first thing that I thought about was how cantankerous I had been Monday night.
It couldn't have been because I didn't make any money for alcohol, because Sue bought me 2 Hurricane Lagers, gave me one 16 oz. cup of Abita, a half of a Hand Grenade, and then another 18 oz. bottle of something like Corona, over the coarse of the night.
It was because of my distorted perception, aided by the ingestion of the above, that the tourists were aggressively showing their disapproval of me by not tipping and had a desire to see me fail and go hungry.
Plus the fact that I was letting a 90 pound lady support me was emasculating and drove home the point that she doesn't really need me, creating insecurity in me.
We Paid For OUR Ladies Drinks!!
Instead of voicing my anger at everything around me, I should have explained my feelings to Sue, thanked her profusely for everything that she had given me and told her how much I wished it was the other way around and I was taking her out and spending money on her.
But, I ranted on about a long list of autrocities that I wanted to commit upon the tourists, so that they would never want to return -that would teach this city a lesson-  and wound up turning her off, as she was seeing a different and violent side of me; after I had seen a different and crafty side of her after she managed to walk around charming drinks and money (a good amount, though she complained about how slow it was) out of the tourists.
I suppose if they never wanted to come back, that would make it even slower for her...
Not having drinking money had allowed me to do all that sober soul searching.
Howard On Page 6C
I have concluded that, having Howard around is like having the answers to the crossword puzzle somewhere in the same daily newspaper (see page 6C for solution). -Bare with me:
You are not going to work as hard on the puzzle; putting in hours; putting it down, returning to it; sleeping on it; thinking really hard...eventually, you are going to flip to the solution because you will really be wondering if a certain answer is right or not, and it will be bugging the hell out of you; and instead of meditating on it like a Bhudda until a light bulb goes on over your head (3 letter word for Automobile....hmmm...) and feeling self satisfied as you ink in the last blank, you deprive yourself of that sensation and wind up feeling like you cheated and wimped out and didn't earn it.
I can struggle so much and take different approaches or just basically work hard; but; eventually I'm going to turn to Howard on page 6C and tell him; I'm at my wits end, I've tried everything...I lost my playing spot; it's 90 degrees out at midnight; one string already broke; the rest are sounding dull; I'm covered in sweat and starting to smell; the harmonica has about 4 notes that don't sound; I can't get a good night's rest because of the ants; my food card is down to $25 bucks; my Starbucks card is down to $2.52; if I don't have $15 by tomorrow, they might lock me up; Sue is exasperating me; By now, every low-life knows that I'm carrying a laptop around in my pack; I don't know, Howard...
"Do you want me to pay for us to take the bus back to Baton Rouge, you seemed to be doing at least a little bit better there?" could very well be the response of that white haired "solution on page 6C."
"That might turn out to be a life-saver, actually"
"OH...OK.....and by the way, have you tried 'car?'"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Convention In Town

And, I am back at the Westin Hotel,
Looking "Down" Upon All The Buskers From The Westin Hotel
I played on the Bourbon Street spot for just a little over an hour, and got one handful of change.
I started to realize a lot of things...
My personal pride, and the one Hurricane Lager that I bought by combining the handful of change with the few pennies that I already had, makes me want to start walking the 7 miles to the Gentilly Rail Yard and get on the first freighter that stops in front of me. Hungry, sweaty, broke, with rusty strings, one of which has already snapped, and get out of here.
There's no such thing as a city being able to trap you within its confines. Sure, "Nobody's going to give you a ride," there aren't even any ramps to stand on with your thumb out, everything is elevated 25 feet, so that people can evacuate during; I don't know; another Katrina, perhaps.
I knocked off at 8 p.m.
I stopped where a guy was selling roses.
"Is there a national convention for Cheap Pricks of America in town?"
"Yeah, there is," he said."They won't even buy roses for the ladies, they're insulting them..."
Sue And I "Off" Again
Sue had let me sit next to her at this very spot and blog earlier, before she got up and began packing her stuff.
"Do you have any plans for tonight?"
She mumbled something.
With all her stuff on her shoulders, she started to walk off. No Goodbye, no hug, no smile from the lady that had her arms wrapped around me last night.
It must have been my angry ranting about everything the night before that turned her off this time...
I am now back at the Westin. I am seriously thinking about what I should do.
I would ultimately feel better (and reap dividends) if I pay the price for my mistake in coming here and just walk the 7 miles to the rail yard, no thumb out; no asking Howard for $1.25 to get out there on the bus...
What am I going to do this coming Thursday; go to court and tell them that I don't have the court cost of $15 because all I got was a handfull of change when I was playing my best (until I switched my lyrics to "That's alright, I don't have to eat; I can go 15 days on just water."
I can understand now why people discipline themselves to get college degrees, blocking out distractions; seeing people who invite them to parties as the enemies; sent by Satan to sabotage their lives; then being ruthless and cut-throat in the World of Business, kissing ass when appropriate, acquiring spouses that are going to help them advance through the ranks, regardless of true compatibility; and then, when they come to New Orleans for a vacation, mostly so they can brag about having spent a couple weeks here and eaten incredible food and stayed in a room overlooking the river, they won't throw one dollar to a busker, because it's important for the busker to fully realize his station in life; how can he wish that he was them if his life isn't so bad, afterall, because he makes do?My father used to lecture me about keeping my grades up being the most important thing; and not letting "friendships" get in the way, because:
"They might be your buddies now, and it's great to have friends, but, after graduation you're all going to go your separate ways and it will be every man for himself in a dog-eat-dog world; and if you haven't done anything for yourself, nobody is going to help you; they'll have their own lives to worry about. You'll be surprised how soon they forget you." -My Father, 1976
I am considering telling Howard about the situation and seeing if he has any ideas, like financing a trip for both of us to San Antonio (or Austin, which has nearby hills where the summers are cooler) on the Megabus, which would only put him out $10 on my account.
A Sign Of The Times
Right now, I am back to praying that a category 6 hurricane hits this place and after it's over, all they can sift from the sand is a few strands of Mardi Gras beads and a Hand Grenade container full of seaweed.
I stop just short of saying "And Sue's bloated corpse, its arms locked around a drowned cat, up in a tree."
It's 9:10 p.m. and I don't know what I am going to do next...
I just might busk somewhere and throw "By the way, this is my sole source of income" at the backs of those who have walked past and totally ignored me...
That just might be an example of "Doing What You Have To Do To Survive...." and a sign of the times.

Forced Onto Royal Street

Royal Street
A Load Of Horse Crap?
On my way to Starbucks, where I now am, and where I discovered Sue sitting in the very chair that I was on my way to sit in and plugged into the same outlet with her notebook; a random dude on Canal Street, seeing the guitar on my back, said "Royal Street is the place to busk, man!"
I was thinking: "I've been here almost a year, off and on, and I don't need some random dude on Canal Street to tell me where to busk..." but just continued walking, without saying anything.
Then, I got to thinking that, the musicians on Royal Street play until 4 in the morning, some of them.
The same 8 p.m. curfew law (technically) applies to the whole French Quarter, but it is common knowledge that the cops enforce it using their "discretion" and I've never heard of anyone being ticketed on Royal Street. It is almost as though they want to corral us all into the same general location...
But...if the horse cops did come by and see me playing after 8 after I had been ticketed for doing so, would they make a rare exception and take me to jail....?
Find out tomorrow...
If there is no post; then there is a pretty good chance that I am wearing an orange jump suit...


Monday night was dismal.
Watch my bags, I'll be right back...
After having a talk with Sue outside the courthouse, when she asked me not to write anything personal about her in this blog, we wound up hanging out together.
She was almost broke.
I was almost broke because not being able to busk after 8 p.m. has been absolutely crippling. I am close to being literally stranded here, if left to my own resources.
We went to my playing spot on Bourbon Street and I had less than an hour to play, by the time I got there, and wound up not making anything.
Then Sue convinced me to accompany her to the crazy end of that street, where every club is so loud that it sounds like the bands are set up on the sidewalks in front.
She was convinced that she could get us drinks and even money.
She actually made a sign, using cardboard and magic markers, which she conveniently had on her. It said "Too hot, need a beer or tip money."
A couple times, she told me to wait where I was and watch her bags then disappeared for 10 or 15 minutes, when she lost her patience for sitting with the sign.
The first time, she came back with half of a "hand grenade," ("the most powerful drink in New Orleans") and a one dollar bill, and handed me both.
The second time, she returned and gave me a full cup of cold beer, and stated that she had gotten 5 dollars.
It was a side of her that I had never seen before, and it cast her "reluctance" to leave here in a whole new light.
I sat and watched her bags and read a book in front of a closed business that had cool air seeping from under its door -the spot that she had chosen to place her bags as if she knew about the cool air- and I had a beer or a drink in front of me the whole time.
Then, she suggested that we go to the area of the casino, which we did.
I sat and played at a spot across the street, where I had never made less than 15 bucks in the hour or so after midnight, and made zero bucks in the hour or so that Sue was in the casino.
It took me 10 months to finally have a day where I made absolutely nothing in New Orleans, and yesterday was it...if I don't count gifts from Sue.
I was packing up and getting ready to leave a note for her, telling her that I was going to run to Uniques to spend the dollar that she had given me, when she emerged from the casino with a full bottle of cold beer and handed it to me.
We walked back to the sleeping spot with me cussing out everything in sight and Sue telling me that everything is going to be alright.
And, since I promised her that I wouldn't write anything personal about her in this blog; this is where the post will end...

Monday, June 25, 2012


  • "On Again" With Sue
  • Municipal Court
Sunday Morning, I woke up with 9 bucks and change on me.
I went to the Westin Hotel, where I connected to their wireless, and blogged. I then headed down Decatur Street, but walked past the spot where I play, not ready to sit down and busk at that point. 
I was making a trip to Sidneys when I saw Sue sitting on the same steps where she had been the previous night, which had ended in turmoil.
It was around the same time, and I took that as a sign that she wanted me to find her.
We are back "on" again, after we sat there, and I drank a couple brews and then a group of tourists came by who were apparently tired of carrying the Styrofoam containers (doggie bags) of food out of one of the fine and famous eateries in the quarter, and placed them atop a nearby trash receptacle.
All of us, including Kooky, stuffed our faces with excellent food in which the only item that I could positively identify was veal, prepared New Orleans style, I imagine.
I basically gave up on busking and drank myself down to under a dollar.
Sue and I walked back to the sleeping spot and crashed.
Early this (Monday) morning, she was shaking me awake saying "Remember, you wanted to get up early and go to The Rebuild Center!"
Yes, I did.
I wanted to put my laundry in at 7:30, and then use their free phone to call the Clerk of Courts, to see if I had any outstanding warrants, to help me decide if I was even going to go to court over the "disturbing the peace" citation that I had gotten from the horse cops.
They had only that matter "pending" and nothing from the past.
Then, Sue and I went to the office of Attorney Mary Howell, who was not
in, but whose secretary told me to show up and plead not guilty, then return with the paperwork.
Which I did.
Had I plead guilty, I would have been given a $250 fine and 45 days to pay it.
The City Attorney gave a dismissive shrug of his shoulder as he told me the amount of the fine, as if to imply "that's all, just 250 and you're on your way, what a deal.." and then I saw a look in his eye which seemed to say '...of course, to a lowlife street person like yourself, who has never seen 250 bucks in his life..."
I plead not guilty, and was given 3 days to come up with the 15 dollar fee for "court costs."
I am to return on Thursday the 28th at 3 p.m. with the 15 dollars in my hand or else....I don't know, I didn't ask.
Attorney Howell was out of the office when I returned to give her the paperwork, so I will have to find out tomorrow from her; what will happen to me if I can't busk up 15 bucks in three days.
It would have to seem like I am in the wrong business if I can't, yet, the "business" is governed by invisible forces and subject to the whims of the Spirits of Music and I have a foreboding that, on Thursday, I will be walking to the courthouse to save the $1.25 bus fare, so that I will have the whole 15 bucks...
But, there would also be the option of using that money to leave town.
That is about all there is to report about this day, Monday, June 25th, 2012...
I am off to try to download the "Freeverb" program, which is free software, but doesn't come bundled with the Ubuntu Linux system that I am running because of copy-writing, or similar issues.
It adds the functionality of reverb to the Audacity sound processor, which would be nice to have, as, currently I use only the "delay" function to try to create ambiance and this has the drawback that the echoes conflict with the rhythm of the track, unless they are timed to occur exactly on the beat, which isn't an optimal setting, either.
Laptop Screen Cracked
Try as I did to carry this laptop around in my backpack without damaging it; I now have a hairline fracture which runs the length of the screen, diagonally, and there is a black spot about the size of a silver dollar along its axis in the upper right area.
It should only be a nuisance and not hinder my productivity; but I am hoping that laptop screens can be replaced with a screwdriver and a new screen...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Saturday Evening Post

Is She Coming Or Going?
  • The Sue Blues
  • The Megabus
  • Big And Easy Depression
I didn't post yesterday (Saturday) because I assumed that time was "of the essence," and, Sue was with me.
The switch in our relationship was thrown to "on again" Friday,  as I encountered Sue, sitting on the steps around the corner from Sidney's Beer Wine Liquor and Cigar World. There was an older black man sitting with her, who panhandled me as soon as I walked up.
Sue introduced me to him, told me that he had just gotten out of jail, had been in there for a while, and the man added that that was the reason that he was "out here" (panhandling).
The man soon left us alone on the same steps where, the night before, I had sat  next to her, bored out of my mind, realizing that Sue mostly talked about wrongs, both perceived and actual, which have been done unto her.
I went into Sidneys to get a cheap beer. I had woken up with somewhere around 6 dollars -enough for a bus ride to Baton Rouge and a dollars worth of spending money when I got there.
As the 8 p.m. curfew was drawing nigh, I mentioned that I was going to play at my spot until that time.
"Do you want me to come with you?"
"Yes, I would like that very much."
The Girl With The Shaved Head Who Plays The Mandolin, at the spot where I played Friday night
She was carrying 4 bags. One with clothing, one with food; one with Kooky and the last with a pigeon that she found a couple weeks ago, injured and barely able to walk. She has been nursing it back to health and now it can lift its head and almost walk.
I wound up playing at the spot which used to be the spot of The Girl With The Shaved Head Who Plays The Mandolin, whom I haven't seen since returning here.
I made one dollar, while playing a pretty good version of some song.
"Let's just go to Bourbon Street, maybe someone will just give us some money," suggested Sue.
That seemed like our best hope of acquiring anything, on that bleak Friday evening, when jazz bands could be seen packing their equipment up and abandoning the 7 people in the clubs along Decatur Street, who were waiting to hear "The Girl From Opalina."
Somehow, we were getting pretty drunk. You know that you were pretty drunk when you wake up in the morning next to Sue and seeing Howards sleeping spot vacant, ask her "Was he laying there when we came here last night, I didn't notice?"
We had sat in a spot on Bourbon Street not 100 yards from where the horse cops had told me that I was to go to jail if they saw me playing after 8 p.m. It was about midnight.
Despite the influence of all the free drinks that people were handing us, and which I consumed myself, Sue being leery of them having been spiked with a date rape drug, I soon concluded that the risk vs. reward factor was tilted in favor of us getting out of there before any horse cops came.
We went to Uniques where someone told us each to grab a couple of "anything you want" out of the bins of anything anybody could ever want on ice which are everywhere in that establishment.
After that, we went to the sleeping spot and slept until well into the morning.
This was a departure for Sue, who in the past had always wanted to leave at the coming of dawn, so as not to be seen by anyone who might return and rape her the following night.
I took this as a positive sign, that she might actually be serious about leaving here and not concerned about burning bridges and leaving behind rubble.
In the morning, I got up and told Sue that I was running to the store for an energy drink. She asked "Can you get Kooky something?" as I left.
I returned with an energy drink and a can of tuna fish, which Kooky devoured.
We rolled about, cuddling and kissing on each other and we were as happy as we have ever been together.
Then, we were each bitten by a thing about the size of a postage stamp which was shaped like a snail out of its shell and covered with fur the color of a paper bag on top and had suction-cup-like tendrils on its bottom, white in color and had two white spots on its topside, natures way of making it look like the head of a poisonous snake to potential predators, perhaps.
I was woken up by it when it was on my right arm by the elbow.
I didn't brush it off right away, only after I noticed it secreting some kind of toxin which was stinging my skin.
Rather than kill it, Sue lovingly moved it a few feet away with a stick.
It was a Southern Flannel Moth (I Googled it)
The thing, though moving at a snails pace, eventually closed the gap between them and bit her on the finger.
Then, we left around noon and soon were sitting outside Popeyes on Canal Street with her putting a bag of ice over the snail shaped welt on my arm. I could feel pain up and down my arm which felt like it was in the bone itself; a "deep" pain, I guess.
My plan was to make enough money in the afternoon to take the bus to Baton Rouge, where I would busk there, instead of New Orleans.
Walking down Royal Street, I told Sue that I had decided to stay one more night.
She cheered my decision and kissed me.
We were as happy as we have ever been, but all that changed when we got to Decatur Street.
After grabbing a beer at Sidneys we walked along and I stopped to talk to a friend of mine who hand paints wooden doors and further ornaments them using lathes and other woodworking tools.
We were standing there talking when a terror stricken look washed over Sue's face.
'That's him!" she whispered in my ear, pointing to a black guy in his late twenties, who was standing on the other side of me.
It was the guy who has been stalking her; the one who lied down next to her at The Occupation and masturbated and then followed her after she fled to find another sleeping spot -the guy who sits next to her at the library even though there are plenty of other available tables.
The guy tapped me on the shoulder and, gesturing towards Sue, asked "Who is she?"
A few thoughts raced through my mind in that instant.
He's trying to see what Sue means to I going to say 'that's my girlfriend, or just some chick I met today...
I also thought about Sue's tendency to exaggerate things. Like the time she cussed out the guy who runs the Royal Cafe after he asked her to leave, saying "You come in here every day and use the wireless, and you've bought like one piece of toast about a month ago!"
Sue left, but not before going inside and causing a scene by cussing the guy out; the gist of her argument being "You want me out of here just because I come in here and use the wireless every day and I've only bought one piece of toast a month ago and cause I'm Colombian; You're a racist pig!"
I just told the guy "She's my friend."
I didn't have to say any more, as Sue took up where I left off, and began to give him a public dressing down, asking him what his problem was, why was he stalking her and then listing his offenses in chronological order.
The guy who paints doors was saying "Not in front of my business; take it somewhere else."
The stalker was standing there grinning at her, letting her make the case for him that he would later espouse; specifically that she was a crazy lady and he had no idea what she was talking about and that she had some kind of paranoia that he was stalking her.
I managed to drag her away towards my playing spot.
We arrived there, but she wasn't finished.
I had my guitar out and my harp around my neck and my case open and Sue was still yelling at the black man, although he wasn't there.
Tourist after tourist walked past; cutting a wide swath around the ranting Latina.
I "needed" another beer, and I told her so. I wanted her to realize that she was driving me to drink.
By then, she had stopped a couple whom she knew who were walking past. A large black man and his female companion.
She was telling them about the stalker and his close proximity to her at that very moment.
The large black man was asking "Where is he?" in a tone of voice that suggested that he was willing to have "a little talk" with the guy.
Now, I felt that Sue was looking to someone other than myself to stand up for her and protect her.
I went and got another beer; the hard stuff; Steel Reserve 211.
I got back and again prepared to put the drama behind me and play music.
"You don't give a shit about me; all you care about is playing music and making tips. They could find me floating in the river like that lady the other night!"
By now, we had an audience.
Across from where I play, in the second level balcony were about a dozen revelers who had turned their stereo off in anticipation of hearing me play.
Instead, they were treated to hearing Sue ranting, and myself trying to apply cool-headed logic to the situation.
Apparently, Sue hasn't read the dissertation I wrote while in the military called "10 ways to kill someone with a sheet of paper...
I would keep an eye out for the guy to see if he is in the vicinity of Sue in an amount which is disproportionate to that of someone who is coexisting in a 12 block by 12 block French Quarter. I would also see if he showed me any disrespect or became territorial about Sue.
"Sue, I've seen what the guy looks like. Let me point him out to some people I know who have been around forever and have connections; maybe I can find out something about him and if I think he's a threat, I'll set Howard on him."
Not a good time for humor.
"You think this is funny, you think this is a joke?
And on and on she went, as tourists after tourist walked past.
She accused me of being in cahoots with the guy; after all, he had tapped me on the shoulder and asked "Who is she?" as if we were old buddies. Was I helping him stalk her?
"I know how you guys are, it's a male kind of thing; let's get this girl!"
"Let's let the thing run its coarse; you know how the mafia handles business; they don't yell and scream in the street; the guy just disappears one day...You should have noticed that he was behaving himself with me there with you; outside of the inappropriateness of his question...besides; if you come to Baton Rouge with me, you won't have to worry about it; of coarse you probably don't feel like I can keep you safe there..."
Finally, I got mad (What, am I supposed to do; cancel my Saturday night busking so we can sit somewhere and you can rehash this over and over) and told her that I was going to go and get yet another beer, to try to numb myself to all the drama.
She picked up her bags and started to walk off in typical Sue fashion.
I told her that "This is it, then" and that we were probably looking at each other for the last time in each of our lives.
She walked off.
As she did, the dozen or so people in the balcony all stood and applauded.
...great, now THEY'RE all "in on it," too...
I guess they had taken my side.
"You need to find a new girlfriend," a female voice cascaded down.
"Yeah, how am I supposed to play beautiful music with my head full of that?"
"I know, we were waiting to hear you jam" rejoined the same voice.
Instead of getting that next beer, I began to play, noticing that Sue had "forgotten" one of her bags and would have to catch up with me sometime, in order to get it back.
I played alright, knowing that I had a captive audience in the balcony and got one 5 dollar tip during a Beatles song, and about 8 or 9 ones.
I got back to the sleeping spot where Sue was nowhere to be found.
I woke up kind of depressed; thinking about a song that I have been working on which has Spanish lyrics and which I wanted to sing to Sue. I guess now I know a Spanish song for the sake of mere catharsis.
The Megabus
There is a purple double-decker bus which comes right by the sleeping spot, which has "" written on it and lists the cities where it stops; amongst them, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, Atlanta etc...with fares starting at $1 (*plus a 50 cent reservation fee)

  • Departs 4:45 PM New Orleans, LA , Bienville Ave b/t N Peter St and N Front St
    Arrives 11:15 PM Houston, TX , Clay St and Travis St
  • 6hrs 30mins
  • Megabus TEX
  • 1 seat = $7.00
Well, there you have it; right from the horses website. $7.00 to Houston, and from there to San Antonio is only another 3 or 4 bucks, depending upon departure time!