Sunday, June 10, 2012

12 Minute Blog Drill

A "must" stop for tourists on Third Street
Here I was, last night (left).
I stayed in Baton Rouge, instead of going to New Orleans.
The main reason being that, once in New Orleans, my plans were to do laundry thoroughly, laying the groundwork for my plans to coax Sue to lay next to me.
(Sue refuses to harm mosquitos with chemicals, yet doesn't like being bitten by them, so she sleeps out in the open air, where they are less populated).
I then planned to go to the music store on Decatur, where guitar strings are only a dollar more than the ones in Baton Rouge, and then put the strings on, and then play at my spot.
I started thinking of the time involved to do all these things, and factoring in the unknown, like running into someone and talking for a half hour, I decided to stay in Baton Rouge and play, once again at the spot where I had made 52 bucks the night before.
About 17 Bucks
I wound up checking out the spot that I like.
The club up the street has revamped their sound system perhaps and they are blasting music and drowning out everyone except the horn player.
I stood there, on what was my favorite spot until the club up the street started doing that, and decided to walk up the street and play where I am pictured above, on that very same night.
I had about 17 bucks, (minus the one that I actually gave this guy to e-mail me this picture) when I finished.
I am back in Scotlandville. I see no sign of Howard at the boarded up building, yet, I do see signs of the guy who comes and takes our empty cans.
I am going to record tonight and then mess around in that area all night and all day tomorrow, and I just hope I don't have a problem with aluminum man...

 Out of time: Coming Soon: Rail Hobo Tells Me Exactly How To Hop To Texas After I Smoke Him Up!


Alex said...

Those cans ... I haven't done it so I don't have boots-on-the-ground experience but, it seems a guy's gotta be pretty hard up to collect cans. 5c each, 20 for a dollah, it's a fair amount of work.

I was waiting to get my tetanus shot at a local clinic (Nob Hill Foods here has a clinic on the side where you can pay 'em to stick you with a needle, more Bay Area weirdness, Oh well at least now I won't get the lockjaw from the animals, rusty iron, and animals made out of rusty iron around here) and there was a guy going through the trash cans for ... cans. I went out and handed him a dollah, saying, "Here's 20 cans" and we talked a bit. The meth-heads are out all hours, so he goes out in the middle of the day and gets his $20 a day or so. More like $10, he says. I know a good scrounger around here can make out pretty well. So say he's making $10 a day on the cans, that's $300 a month, enuf to get a room or a shed or something even within a bus ride to Google. Then there's all the neat shit ya FIND.

If I sound a bit envious of the local homebums it's because I just might be. Work a few hours a day then the rest of the time off. It was like that when I was couch-surfing homeless, and didn't realize how good I had it. *Walking* distance to Google, and had a regular set of panhandling routes, and wheels (a motorcycle, which means I could park anywhere and write my own traffic rules). Practice of any instrument in the apartment I was in was verboten but there were parks and sidewalks everywhere! If I were to do it again I'd have put in my panhandling time to make the basic living, then go and put in 3 hours a day (minimum) playing and sounding like hell and joshing with people.

And this would be about my plan for going to live in Santa Cruz if I decide to do so.

Come to think of it, I've not seen a competent guitar+harmonica player there, one who can play guitar, has a neck brace thingie, and can do something convincing on the harp etc. Your voice is either far too strained and nasal for my tastes, or the Internet is making it that way to be mean. But, if your "act" is as solid as you claim it is, you could come out to Santa Cruz and make it too.

I may just take a harp (or two) out there with a hastily-purchased Guitar Center mic and amp, and jam on that during my much-needed week or so off. I plan to be a real slummer, having enough money to not depend on street performance. But I've been out there and overjoyed after sitting with a sketch pad for hours, making $1 and that as a pity-donation from a guy who knew me, trying to draw caricatures. Then going to the Wednesday farmer's market and for $20, helping one of the sellers pack up. You can always make a bit of money helping vendors set up or pack up, maybe it's a CA thing.

So in short, I've had $100+ days and less than $20 days and I've kept on swinging. I love Santa Cruz.

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Hm, I've got to say I have to recommend keeping a "harp" by the computer; in the same way linguists are baffled at how little kids learn to talk so quickly on so little practice*, I randomly toot on this thing and I almost sound musical here and there. Just struggled through a few verses of that old anti-war song that has the line "and guns and swords and uniforms, were scattered on the ground" does that thing have a title? And "All That Meat And No Potatoes" by Satch. Not the trumpet solo of course! But the basic melody.

Now, I got out the ol' cornet and did a bit of tooting around on that and ... well, on a day-to-day basic, I have to say the harp wins. Add a lot of practice and a mic and amp, and well, there's a reason I think there's more harp than trumpet in popular music. The cornet is on Craig's List and its looking like it will go to a guy in Oakland for his kid.

I gotta hand it to you, I don't think I have the patience to try to get actual music out of an "orinoco".

Alex said...

Woops ...

*This puzzled linguists for a long time and Noam Chomsky, yes *that* Noam Chomsky, came up with the theory that language is kinda "built in" sort of like how birds know how to sing their distinctive songs. While humans have all these different languages, there's a hard-wired "deep" language underneath.

Daniel McKenna said...

I can't believe this laptop. I was typing, and some part of my palm touched the mouse fingerpad and that made the next character I typed mean "delete post"
When you say "Not the trumpet solo of course" don't think of it that way; here's a bullshit theory to help you out: as you become more proficient on the instrument, you realise a freedom to express yourself along with the facility to do it, and you feel like you can choose to play anything; and you might choose NOT to play the Satch solo "note for note."
That's like the guy's language.
1. Say that humans had no vocal chords. Instead, we would carry around horns and they would be our voices.
a. When I worked with Modou in Charlottesville, he spoke Mandinki.
b. Mandinki is like the proverbial raft, drifting towards the proverbial waterfall, in great peril of going over the edge and joining other languages there.
There are still about 4,000 languages in the world.
Mandinki had a certain sound. I would get drunk on wine in my hole in the ground, closing the trap door roof a bit, to further muffle the sound, and then I would wail on "Mandinki"
I would strum the guitar and sing using all the syllables that I had heard constantly spoken by Modou, to Tombong, or to Pababu. They were the other employees at that equal employment opportunity gas station who, darn the coincidence, were from The Ghana too, just like Modou!
So, what I am saying is: I could fake that Mandinki...OK, I know you want an example; here goes..Jai Fallah Habknow Jabba wabba Keensia falla halla woob djefeestaiha fab voob keebee noah!
And, my point is that you will get the solo, or be able to fake it with a little effort.
...And when you practice; you can start out warming up; and telling yourself that you are just warming up, but at some point, actually try to play at the "highest" level.
Put on a 78 rpm and just act like you are playing; like if you were in a movie playing a horn player and the director said "Ok, make it convincing; you're playing a horn; act like it"
If you start there and (of course you are blowing notes) you will find the correct notes to go with the body posture...if that makes any sense, or does it sound like Dr. Deepak Chopra! LOL!!!!
Off to blog; songs to post; one of them, I would seriously put the odd of you hating it at around 100 to 1.
The "1" would just happen to rest in the hopes that you like, met a girl who was standing with an umbrella once, and you decided to like the song for that reason.
The other one, I'll describe in the blog.
That is kind of the boat I am in; at certain points in the memorize melody it's like you come to a five way fork in the road with signs pointing in each direction; Satch himself was a tiny fraction of energy away from taking the melody in that different direction at countless points in the solo; so, my advice is to take a phrase, one phrase, less than 8 bars, and at the point that you have that one phrase perfect, it will become global and you will be able to play anything with the same "feel" (for lack of a better word) Off to post, um..

Alex said...

I've actually sold the trumpet. A guy bought it for his kid for $200 to use in Band. I hope the other kids have the sense to know that a US-made shepherd's crook horn with a rose brass leadpipe and the best valves evar, is better than some silverplated Bach student horn made in China.

Thanks for the advice on practicing. I'm actually work-overloaded and doing two things: I keep my harmonicas next to the computer and probably get in a half-hour total of tooting a day, in small doses, which is good for learning. And I'm singing more, along with videos etc.

I like your advice about using the voice like an instrument, where the "diaphragm" is used to blow air through the vocal cords. Pro singers try not to raise the voice box, apparently as a protective mechanism, when we shout, raise our pitch, etc we tend to raise our voiceboxes upward, and the voice gets strained, nasal, etc. It might make the voice box safer from an attacking animal, but it doesn't need to go up. So when I'm singing I'm trying to keep relaxed, keep my voice down in my chest, and try to have it sound good before loud.

I have no idea what range I am, but as an example, I can sing the REM song "Crush With Eyeliner" (I love that song) and can sing most Johnny Cash stuff except for the very lowest notes and that may resolve with practice. What I find annoying is, it seems a fair number of pop and rock singers have higher voices than I do. So to sing the song I have to go higher than I like, or drop it down an octave which sounds odd. Fortunately, most pop singing does not demand a huge range.

I'm at a huge disadvantage not being raised going to one of those churches where you sing all the time. I guess I could always join one!

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