Thursday, February 28, 2013

There's Nothing Free In This World

The Quiet End Of Royal Street
When is Wednesday a good day?
I spent the entire afternoon loading Fedora Linux onto this laptop, and then went into the Quarter, with a dollar and change on me.
I bought one beer, scrounged up some tobacco, and then walked to Bourbon Street, where I played across from Barnabys condo for about 45 minutes, before leaving to go use a restroom, none the richer.
My strings were in a terrible state; one of them broke and I repaired it (for the second time) and it sounded dull and lifeless.
I then walked around finding half full cans of still cold beer in a lot of places; enough to get a glow; and then, realizing that I have about 20 bucks per day left on my food card until the 5th of next month; and that I'd had my quota of alcohol and had enough tobacco for the night; I counted them as blessings; and decided to just play until 11 p.m. or so, and catch the ferry back across the river.
Walking to rouses, I saw Maria and Matt preparing to busk in an area way down Royal Street; the "quiet" end of the street.
Matt And Maria
Matt and Maria, I first met when they were in the company of Stephen (the shaman). They were sitting in Starbucks with their bags and musical instruments strewn about them; running to the barristers for (free) hot water, with which they were making oatmeal with amaranth and drinking coffee.
They kind of seemed like disciples of Stephen, and it kind of felt like hanging out with hippies or Rainbow Children.
Stephen began to play his miniature guitar, at one point; and I joined in with my guitar and Maria lamented that she couldn't sing, because she was too loud, and it might be trying of the patience of the Starbucks employees to add her voice to our mix. She seemed impressed with how I was playing, and said "That's nice!" at one point.
Matt asked me if I knew any "jazz guitar," claiming that he wanted to learn how to play that.
Grateful Dead music fits the definition of jazz in every way except for the "traditional" aspect of it i.e. altered 5ths on every other chord, and instruments like horns; and I alluded to that fact. Matt, however probably wants to be able to play "Misty" in chord-melody single string style...
The Time We Played Bourbon
I took them to my spot on Bourbon Street one night and the three of us jammed, earning a 20 dollar bill almost immediately.
Maria was pretty good at jumping in vocally on the Grateful Dead songs that I played; Matt no so much with jumping in on guitar. Maria, however was nowhere near as "loud" as she had described herself.
We were soon run off by the guy in the condo behind us (it was 1:30 a.m.) and wound up splitting 27 dollars three ways, with myself taking 10 and them sharing the rest.
As we walked down Royal Street looking for another spot, Matt seemed upset and asked me: "How much do you usually make in a night?"
I told him that there was no such thing as a "typical" night and that I found that I averaged about 10 bucks per hour over time. I might make 50 bucks in 3 hours, but then suffer through another two hours for "nothing."
"We're used to no less than a hundred per night," Matt said.
"Well, anywhere from 35 to 115," qualified Maria.
"On Royal Street?"

I was a bit surprised, as I know that they favour the spot across from the Hotel Monteleon, where The Clean Guy played, and where world-class clarinettists do very well.
Then, I considered the earning power of the 18 year old girl that Maria is and it seemed plausible.
Even though we had made 27 bucks in about an hour before being run off, Matt seemed to have a chip on his shoulder.
I Saw Her Again, Last Night
Last night, Matt never looked up at me as I walked down the other side of the street; though he had to have seen me; because if there is one thing that buskers are, it is vigilant -always monitoring the numbers and types of people who are passing by; not quite as intensely as pan-handlers do (...who's coming; what do they have; what can I get; how am I going to "play" them; should I be pathetic, charming or intimidating...) but enough so that I am sure I didn't go unnoticed.
I think he is a jealous type, when it comes to his girlfriend, Maria.
He probably knows in his heart that she and her "loud" singing is "the side that his bread is buttered on" and that the amount of money (35-115 dollars) would only increase for her if she had a better guitarist (who also sang).
I was almost past them and Matt still hadn't looked at me. On his face was a sour expression. ....Don't worry, I'm not going to stop and talk and take your time and I'm not going to ask to jam along..., I thought to myself.
I waved and yelled "Hey!" at which point it would have been blatantly rude of them to continue ignoring me.
Matt waved back; probably satisfied that I was passing through.
Maria returned the salutation. There was a warmth in the tone of her voice.
I went and got some food at Rouses Market and then walked along the length of Bourbon Street, just out of general principle.
Deadhead Deputy From Ohio
Near an outside jazz patio, where are propped metal likenesses of Al "jumbo" Hirt and Fats Domino, and a third guy whose name escapes me; a guy turned to me and asked me what kind of "box" I had.
"A Jasmine."
"What kind of music do you play?"
"Sixties psychedelia; Grateful Dead, Beatles, Doors..."
"Grateful Dead?!? No way, come on," he said, motioning towards one of Bourbon Streets excuses for a quieter spot.
His friend came along. "This guy says he plays Grateful Dead; I'm going to call him out on it; find out if he's bullshitting!" he said to him.
I undid the guitar and played my best amongst the chaos; to his satisfaction.
He plays a bit himself "...not as good as him..." and I handed him the guitar. He did bits and pieces of some country songs.
A cop came along and said: "You can't play a guitar here after 8 o' clock. He should know that," he added, flicking his head my way. "Put it up!"
The guy was dressed casually, no "I Love NOLA" tee shirt; no 12 dollar drink, so the cop may have had misgivings; but they were short lived.
The guy handed me back the guitar and then shook the officers hand, introducing himself as deputy something from some county in of you...
He gave me 3 dollars and wished me luck.
I went and spent one on a beer and then went to the ferry; with 2 dollars and 29 cents on me.
Captain Rob
There was a guy at the terminal who looked a bit like Iggy Pop (the 55 year old version of the pop icon). He was wearing a long black leather jacket and asked me about my guitar.
I was soon playing it for him on the ferry; glad to be able to hear myself in its relative quiet, and making excuses for the strings. He seemed impressed.
Once on the other side, he invited me to crash at his place "8 blocks from here," after discerning that I was homeless.
As we walked, he told me that he was a boat captain (hence the nick name) and that he made 600 dollars per day doing that; but that the federal government had ruined him with its "regulations on everything."
He said that he had been homeless for a year and a half (I've been where you're at...), but now lived rent free in a house; provided by an organization called "Unity" which provides houses for those who have been homeless for at least a year and a half.
I started to envision myself living in my own free house from which I would issue, carrying all my equipment; which I could keep safely there; go across the river and make good money before returning; becoming a member of the community, basically.
I told him about my night and the 3 dollars which I had made; and how; returning with 2 dollars and 29 cents was "better than nothing."
"You made 2 dollars?" he asked, in a tone of voice which was hard to interpret. I thought he might reach into his pocket and hand me some money (he *does* make 600 dollars a day when he works...) but he didn't.
"Dave, was it?"
Captain Rob has been shot in the head -I didn't ask about details- and still suffers from short-term memory loss. "You'll have to excuse me, mate, if I keep asking you your name." He is from Novia Scotia, mate.
We got to his house. I was introduced to his room mate who recognized me from the library.
We chatted about books, and then I was shown the bed where I could sleep.
Then Captain Rob said: "I need to borrow that 2 dollars, can you handle that?"
I told him that it was my only two dollars and that I needed it to buy at least one new string the next day...or a couple beers before playing with the dead one.
"You mean, it isn't worth 2 dollars to you to sleep inside?!?"
"No, not really," I said, "Waking up flat broke is something that I promised myself I would avoid at all costs (excuse the pun)." 
I shouldered my pack and guitar and left, against his mild protests.
"There's nothing free in this world" -my dad

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From Feast To Famine

Happy Tuesday morning.

United States
United Kingdom

(page views last night)

I would like to welcome whomever has become my first reader from China.
It has crossed my mind that it might be Tanya Huangs family; interested in checking up upon her when she doesn't call...
 Not being one to pass up upon an opportunity to generate traffic to this blog, I give you more Tanya Huang (left).
I haven't seen her in about a week. I think she took the rainy days off from playing on Royal Street.
I make my first tip at Cafe Du Monde
Monday night, after the moderately heavy rains stopped, I stepped out of the Starbucks where I had been blogging and walked in no particular direction.
Well, Blow Me Down!
I found myself by Popeyes on Canal Street, where I go to obtain salt packets to add to the cheap beer that I drink.
They had made a snap decision to close early, deeming it to be too slow.
Taking all of the chicken and corn on the cob and biscuits off the warming rack, bagging it up and throwing it out, they had already done, and were closing the place down.
I grabbed 4 ears of corn and an assortment of chicken (some for Howard) and secured it in my own plastic bag; before running to The Unique Boutique for a beer to go with the salt. (Popeyes salt is very good -nice and salty, but not too salty...).
I Reach Out To Punks
"...all over that chicken!"
There was a gaggle of gutter punks with their dogs in front of Uniques. A few musical instruments were being sported by some.
We very rarely exchange conversation, myself and the gutter punks.
Several have asked me to sit in with them when groups of 5 or more of them "jam" on whatever excuse for instruments they have. 
I always think that my playing lead guitar along with their simple arrangements might lend credibility to their music and increase their tip flow ("At least they're not just banging away...") but those tips would only be converted into a bottle of cheap whiskey to be passed around, and then, in their ensuing drunkenness, they would step up their begging antics.
Anybody walking by would get: "Hey, can we have your leftovers?," "Hey, can I finish your beer?," and of course "Do you have any change?" and I just don't want to be a part of that.
So, they probably think that I am a snob and they have just about given up on talking to me.
But, I told them about the big bag of Popeyes food, still hot, fresh off the grill and sealed in a plastic bag. One of the female ones smiled at me.
Last night, I saw the same group and one of them told me: "Hey, that was rad. We were all over that chicken last night; thanks for the tip!"
So, I had done a good deed for some gutter punks.
Back To Cafe Du Monde...
Then, I walked toward Decatur Street. I could see few people, but Cafe Du Monde still had a couple dozen people under its awning.
The place is world famous (one of the "must visit" spots in NOLA) and the opportunity to play there is heavily contested by musicians who wait months in order to get a time slot. 
Tanya and Dorise have not only played there, but cut one of their CDs there, "Live At The Cafe," I believe it is called.
Well, it being a Monday night in the wake of a heavy rainstorm, with few people out; it seemed to me like a very much "entry level" position for someone who wanted to play outside Cafe Du Monde, and so I put down the towel that I sit on and took out the guitar missing the top string; and actually took my time about tweeking and tuning and deciding upon what music I wanted to do.
Eventually I settled into a few uninterrupted (by tweeking and tuning) jams.
After about 15 minutes an Asian lady came over and handed me 5 one dollar bills. That is just the way their customers tip, because the cafe is ridiculously expensive ($7 cups of coffee, to go with the beignets, for example).
A bit later, one of the waitresses came over and handed me a bag of their world famous beignets, and I took that to mean that I had passed their audition.
Then, a guy asked me for a light, which I gave him, and then added $1.37 in change to the sidewalk in front of me (I hadn't even opened my case for tips).
So, thus fortified, I went and caught the very last ferry; hoping to give Howard a gift of Popeyes chicken, corn, biscuits and beignets from Cafe Du Monde.
But, it was not to be.
Howard was staying in his rain spot, I later learned; after having gotten "burned" the previous night by the (unexpected by he) thunderstorms.
It is Wednesday, and I am broke.
I walked to the music store yesterday and replaced my broken string, but didn't make anything playing it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

After The Deluge

Monday afternoon, it is; and I am at the Westin Hotel Starbucks, where I am blogging, and where I will soon run to the restroom to shave, and return to blog some more.....
*goes and shaves and returns*
I have thrown water on my face and shaved.
The sun seems to be "trying to come out" outside, after a morning rain shower; which was kind of an addendum to the heavy thunderstorms which raged pretty much through the night.
Where To Stay In NOLA

I had gotten to the "water resistant" spot under the dock probably around 10 p.m. Sunday (last) night; to discover that the cardboard was wet at the spot where I had stone-crafted the crude bed where I have been passing these past few rainy nights.

I had to move the plank and cardboard further under the dock, and higher up, away from where the Mississippi lapped at the bank of rocks. It was like moving the cardboard from Seattle to Spokane in Washington state, away from the ocean and higher in altitude.
Here, I fashioned another crude bed; and found it to be easier than I had envisioned it would; even in the dark.
 First, I had stood still and let my eyes adjust to the darkness.

Then, as the forms of rocks started to materialize before me, I carefully scanned  and studied the landscape, looking for and soon finding a spot which was already  relatively flat in an area about the size of my body.
By moving just a few rocks around, I was able to improve upon it.

After putting down a triple layer of cardboard then laying upon it; to discover where there were "lumps"; and then filling in the gaps with smaller rocks (carefully chosen for their contours), I threw the cardboard back down and found that I had a comfortable bed, which had taken all of 15 minutes to craft.
I guess I could have brought Howard there the other rainy night and quickly made him a bed on the rocks, had he only a few sheets of thick cardboard, and a "pillow."
He may have even decided to make that his permanent sleeping spot. 
It boasts a good level of darkness, protection from the rain, privacy, and the soothing sounds of the muddy waters lapping at, or breaking over, the lower layer of rocks.
It is convenient to shopping (CVS and Walgreens on Decatur Street) and property can be hidden there as effectively as just about anywhere else.
Why, by moving some of the heavier rocks (about the size of an average pumpkin) around, one could construct a "safe" to hide things in; and someone would have to walk the entire 30,000 square foot expanse of rocks, flipping over ones the size of an average pumpkin in hopes of finding the lid to it.

I had run to the dock as it started raining Sunday night; accompanied by thunder and lightning.
That ended my busking day, there on Royal Street, by Rouses Market (where Tanya and Dorise and Doreens Jazz Band play). I didn't make anything, but had a guy sit next to me and tell me how awesome I sounded.

People were desperately hailing cabs left and right.

There was, thankfully, a lull in the rain which was just about long enough to allow me to get to the dock, before the violent thunderstorm commenced.

Late Afternoon, I had played on Canal Street, and made about 5 bucks in about an hour. I was playing on a guitar which was missing the top (E) string; and exploring my catalog for songs which were not only feasible with, but were actually facilitated by the absence of that string.
This had the effect of conjuring songs from the past which had been lying unused in the recesses of my memory. "Moving In Stereo," by The Cars being a prime example.
I switched to "China Cat Sunflower," by The Grateful Dead, which started the tips flowing; and then into "Not Fade Away," the Buddy Holly song which the Dead, also covered.
A Young black man yelled something like: "Yeah, play that thing, white-boy" during that jam; and it made me remember that there had been some relationship between Buddy Holly and African American music. He was the first artist to chart a song on the "colored" top 40; or maybe the first to appear on Soul Train, or something like that.
Then, an extended jam on "The Music Never Stopped," by The Grateful Dead, during which another group of young black kids stopped, with one of the them recording video on his phone and another one rapping over the (hopefully) infectious groove that the missing string was not missed from being a part of.
Before that, I had been on Decatur Street in the morning.
People had been saying things like: "You'd better make some money before the rain comes!" and there were people swarming everywhere.
The Rock and Roll Marathon had run in the morning, and there were still plenty of families who had brought their daughters here to participate in a dance and cheer competition somewhere in town.

Do You Know Any Kelly Clarkson??

The preteen girls walking around everywhere were a visible admonishment to me for never having took the time to learn at least one song by Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Justin Beiber, Adele or their ilk.
The morning had only produced 3 dollar and change, as I did songs like "Imagine," by John Lennon.
If I could have imagined the weather which was on its way, I probably would have gone to Algiers and grabbed a couple more fleece throws and maybe even brought Howard to the dock where we could have built him a bed.

Love On The Rocks

I passed the night with a full pack of cigarettes and the two fleece throws which provided just enough warmth so that I could fall asleep; but needed to be re-adjusted every time I wanted to change my position.
I woke up a couple of times when the storm was at its most intense. A bit of moisture was managing to ride the wind to where I was, about 50 feet in and 25 feet up the bank of rocks.
Right Now. Howard Will Have To Fend For Himself
I made up for the broken sleep by going back into it at about 8 a.m. when, despite the overcast skies, the temperature rose into a more comfortable range; and I slept until about noon; when the Natchez Steamboat arrived; and the steam organist began playing that particular instrument; fashioned as a (potentially) entertaining way to let the steam pressure out of the boats boilers.  
It sounds like 4 or 5 very out of tune recorder players, going at it; which is what I thought that it was the first time I heard it. "Wow, those guys suck!," I remember thinking at the time...
Plans For Monday Night

Now, it is evening. I am letting the guitar and case dry out beside me as I blog. I am on my second can of Rock Star "Punched" energy drink (high caffeine).
Outside, it has started to rain again, and I overheard someone to say that it is going to rain hard once again, soon.
To Save Howard?

I have half a mind to go across the river and try to find Howard. At this hour, he would be just leaving one of the library branches, and probably headed to his choice of rain spots.
I would probably be doing him a favor if I brought him to the dock with me. The question is: How soaked would I become in running that particular errand of fetching him.
I think I answered that question by getting the above weather map.

My Woodchuck Joke

Before I go:
Somewhere between Decatur and Canal Streets yesterday, I stopped and got a Woodchuck Hard Cider from Sydneys.
The cashier had a name tag identifying him as "Chuck."
So, I couldn't help holding the bottle up for his viewing and saying:
How much would be a Woodchuck, Chuck; cause if a Woodchuck I could chug, I would...?


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Watching The Tide Roll Away

Saturday morning, and The French Quarter is swarming with people.
There is a "Rock and Roll Marathon" going on, which is a foot race which is somehow tied to rock and roll music...
Last night, contrary to Howards prediction, it rained cats and dogs.
I was under the dock as thunder and lightning occurred, along with sheets of rain.
I only woke up momentarily during it as the Mississippi had risen and water was lapping at the rocks a mere 10 feet away from where I lay..
Someone had taken the heavy blanket (as thick as a carpet), probably during one of the past few cold days. I should have hidden it; but it is hard to air out a blanket and hide it at the same time.
I had to smile, because I had asked Howard in the evening if he was going to stay at the Algiers spot.
"Yeah, I don't think it's gonna rain. It's not windy and the temperature isn't dropping." -Howard
I went across and busked a bit on Decatur, running into Brad the guitarist who is the best one that I have jammed with in New Orleans, as far as our styles being compatible.
He is the guy who was jamming on Decatur when I met him and I took him to my spot on Bourbon Street and we made 96 bucks. The next time I saw him, he had a 20 and a 5 in his case and seemed pretty drunk and didn't want to play.
He doesn't know any music theory, not even which string on his guitar is which note. "Give me an A," I would say, trying to tune to him.
"Which one is that?" he would answer.
But he has a good ear and he will eventually discover every note and chord on his own if he keeps at it.
We got 7 bucks from one girl, who seemed pretty drunk and who had a guitar on her back herself. We weren't even playing at the time, and I remarked to Brad that he would have gotten THAT tip without me being there.
He seemed to agree, and wanted to split it immediately between us. I took this as a sign that he didn't think he needed another musician there in order to make money. He was the one who invited me to sit with him initially, though.
We split it and I went and got an expensive beer, breaking my 3 day juice fast, and then I got under the dock and went to sleep before the severe thunderstorms hit.
I was up in the morning at about noon. The skies were so gray that it could have been 7 in the morning.
Right Now...
I came to Starbucks to try to install the latest version of Ubuntu off of the Internet, with no luck.
I think these free Wi-Fi services have some filters which disallow certain actions. My guess is that the Ubuntu installation program tries to probe the network in order to do some configuration and is blocked from doing so. "Probing" probably feels like "hacking into" to the server.
Now, I must figure out a way to work around that. I might have to find the DVD somewhere with the latest distribution on it.
I could have sat and busked instead of spending all afternoon in here.
This is the 4th day of the juice fast, but I have screwed it up a bit by drinking beer; even though it was Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA ale; which must be healthier than the cheap stuff, right?
There is supposed to be more rain on the way.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Samsung Blues

It is 63 degrees and raining in New Orleans...
I am on the third day of the juice fast and cleanse. I feel much more patient, feel my memory is sharp (I am remembering this whole post word for word after having lost it earlier because of a glitch) and, without having my emotions dulled by substances am confronting the true pathos of the situation I am in.
Yesterday, the forecast was for heavy rains, followed by much warmer temperatures. We got the much warmer temperatures (75) without the rain.
At night, the rain started around 10 p.m. and I went across the river to grab stuff; intending to spend the whole night (and the morning, until the rain stopped) under the dock on the stone bed which I had crafted, upon cardboard and the blanket as thick as a carpet..
I didn't escape the stand of trees before Howard stirred, woken by the first few raindrops that had seeped through the conifer leaves of the cedar trees and landed on him.
He started grabbing up his stuff; apparently sensing that I was doing the same, and intent upon coming with me, wherever I was going.
I thought that I had told him that the hotel spot that Stephen had shown me was no longer viable, and was being cleared because within a month or so they are going to put a bowling alley on that level.
"Are you going to the hotel?" Howard asked.
I explained about the hotel. "Didn't I tell you that we can't sleep there anymore?"
"No, you didn't...Where are you going to sleep?" (...because I'm coming along, right behind you...)
I told him that I was going to sleep under the dock, but that it could only accommodate myself. It took me a good hour of repositioning rocks in daylight just to make myself a flat bed; and I didn't like the prospect of trying to make him one in the dark.
He looked so dejected that it occurred to me that he might have been expecting me (with my 12 years [off and on] of homeless experience) to take up the responsibility of insuring that such contingencies were covered for both of us.
After I had gotten him out of the rain the time I brought him to the hotel; he went and got me a beer; it almost felt like a token of appreciation.
Looking at the situation from his perspective, I  envisioned him spending a miserable night, only half out of the elements by the terminal; having had to wait for the ferry to stop running before even being able to lay there; throwing him off his schedule.
I decided to go across the river to check and see if indeed they had cleared out the area where we had slept; before going to the dock. If it were still feasible to sleep there, I would return to get him and give him the stipulation that we had to be out of there by early morning.
I have worked enough construction sites to know that it takes a teleconference between 5 people just to move a pile of bricks (Yeah, Bill; hold off on moving those bricks until I hear from Chad; he's calling Phil to find out how close to the road you can put them...).
I wouldn't have been surprised if they had scrapped the whole project, due to some arcane New Orleans code about the proximity of bowling alleys to casinos.
I prepared to check it out, and Howard picked up his stuff and prepared to come with me. I wondered if he plans to follow me to the end of the share in my adventures?!?
The Poor Creature

A recollection came to me of a time when I encountered a wandering stray dog, when I was in my teens.
I petted it and fed it a little and it began to follow me around.
I had to go inside a shopping center or something and couldn't have it tagging along, so I shooed it off by stamping my foot and clapping my hands and yelling: "Git!"
The poor downtrodden creature; already forsaken and abandoned to skulk the earth; looked betrayed and went off whimpering with its head down and its tail between its legs.
I will need to talk to Howard soon. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now...?

We got to the basement to see that the pile of bricks had been removed but that there were plenty of other crannies to disappear into.
In a "Stephen" moment, we found two rolls of carpet remnants, just about our body lengths, sitting right by where the bricks used to be.
Whatever I need, I just pray for it and it appears.... -Stephen
At 3 a.m. the female security officer was standing over us and barking: "You guys need to go!!"
Before we left, she told us in a much nicer tone of voice that we could take the carpets with us. Outside, the rain had just let up. She may have waited until then before encountering us..
We went off to sleep another 3 hours under an overhang; at which point I went back to the Algiers spot to sleep some more and Howard went to the Rebuild Center.

I got up a couple hours later when it began to rain again and took this Samsung laptop to the Westin Hotel Starbucks to use their wireless in an attempt to do a blog post.
The system being in Spanish, it was tedious; and I had to guess at a lot.
I wound up losing just about the whole post because the Windows "security updates" from the last 2 years since the Samsung had been on were missing, is my guess.
In the upper right hand corner was an icon giving the weather conditions in Seattle, Washington, which is where Sue, the Colombian lady (who gave me the laptop) lived before coming to New Orleans.

Thunderstorm 54 °F
80% chance of precipitation

It was 43 degrees and cloudy there. I hope Kooky is alright.
I will think of Sue every time I use the thing.
Switching Laptops
Now I'm at the library and have installed Ubuntu Linux off of a DVD from one of the books on the shelf; and it is behaving a lot more like what I am used to.
I still have a lot of work to do because the book on the shelf was almost a whole 2 years old and I have to update things. I also have to go somewhere other than the library to do that because the library has filters preventing anyone from downloading software onto the libraries computers; and the effect is global.
So it will be a while longer before I have the bane of my existence; Audacity music studio; on here.
Fast Going Slowly
Other than that, I still haven't lost my appetite completely, or become light-headed and physically weak; which is a state which must be passed through for the cleanse to really take effect.
It might take longer to purge New Orleans from ones system...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rice And Pepper

There used to be a band called Salt-n-Pepper.
I think they were a bi-racial group; and perhaps the name alludes to that.
Tanya and Dorise should hit the pop scene, using the above stage name; even get some rappers. I will suggest it to them the next time I see them.
100 Feet From Our Spot
In the meantime:
A Beer-less Day.
So, yesterday, after waking from the nightmare which had been  Tuesday, I continued on my Doctor Christophers 3 Day Fast, Cleanse And Mucous-free* diet; the one that I had besmirched Tuesday by adding 3 Hurricane Lagers to. It was supposed to be "juice only,"
*you shouldn't eat mucous
From Doctor Christopher

Supreme cleanliness is the first step toward a healthy body. Any accumulation or retention of morbid matter or waste of any kind within us will retard our progress towards recovery. The natural eliminative channels are the lungs, the pores of the skin, the kidneys, and the bowels.

The retention of body waste has an insidious effect on our health than is generally suspected, and its elimination is one of the first steps toward perceptible progress.
To begin the three day cleansing program, the individual is required to undergo three days of detoxification therapy, then proceed with the mucusless diet:
First thing in the morning upon arising, drink 16 ounces or more of prune juice (unsweetened, if possible). The prune juice is not primarily to empty the bowels, which it will do, but rather to draw into the intestines from every part of the body such toxic matter or body waste as may be there, and eliminate it through the bowels.
For more on the diet, (be sure to visit:)
Yesterday, I stayed on the Algiers side of the river and continued to drink juice.
Even though I had added the beer the previous day; day 2 still felt like the second day of a juice fast; with a nice healthy hungry feeling that made my stomach feel like it was having toxins vacuumed out of it.
I posted the post about the crappy day and then went across the river, because I wanted tobacco. It was a diminished craving; one that could almost be pushed out of the mind; but it was enough for me to make the excuse that I should at least go across the river into New Orleans once a day; because the odds of your coming into something warrant it.
And so, into New Orleans I went and instantly went on the prowl for tobacco. I didn't feel like a beer very much at all. It seemed like a beer would foam up in my stomach, like Alka Seltzer in a seagull when it mixed with nothing but apple juice.
I had 0 dollars on me.
The Asian Foot Masseuse 
After succeeding in finding things to smoke in the alley behind the Hotel Monteleone, I walked up Canal Street.
I got to the foot massage place, in front of which, any one of 3 different Asian people will be seen standing, and asking people if they want foot massages.
They have never asked me if I wanted a foot massage, and I have walked by there countless times. I have kidded around with them before, though.
It was the young Asian woman standing out there this time.
She was wearing black sneakers with very bright, florescent laces; calling attention to her feet, and feet in general, I thought. 
She is probably the daughter, assuming that it is a family owned and operated foot massage parlor.
There were no tourists within earshot, as I passed, so I mocked the panhandlers that had been almost in front of their place on Monday night "trying to get something to eat."
I stood where they were and looked left and right at imaginary passing tourists and said: "I'm trying to get a foot massage, can you help me out; I'd appreciate it!"
The young Asian girl seemed dumbstruck.
Here's A Good Picture of It
Canal Street
From there, I looked up and down Canal Street and saw hundreds of people walking up and down. Subtracting the street people, I saw groups of 60 people.
There is a perceptible class differentiation from one side of Canal Street to the other. This is enhanced by the fact that the two sides of it are a couple hundred yards apart (with trolleys running up and down the middle).
There were more people on the side that I was on, but the people on the other side were better dressed in general.
8 Dollars and Change
I decided to busk by The Childrens Place which I did, and I thought I played pretty well, although tuning is a problem because there are constantly humming sounds on that street which are at fixed frequencies and they can make your guitar sound like it is out of tune if you are not in tune with the sounds.
I would have made about 8 dollars in about an hour if a 5 dollar bill which was thrown to me during a rendition of Imagine, by John Lennon, hadn't mysteriously disappeared out of my case at some point in time.
I went back across the river and sat up drinking juice and reading. I finished "Deception Point," by Dan Brown and I award it a grade of A.
"It had a lot of interesting science in it and his plot twists were unexpected". -Raves Daniel
Phone Cable A Misfit
I got the two packages at Rebuild this morning.
The USB cable for the phone is the wrong size on the phone end, I guess my Obama phone is so old that they have changed specifications since its hayday.
That's a bummer because I have some photos on the phone that I want to put on this blog. I might try to go to a phone store and trade it for one that fits my prehistoric phone; they should be happy to get rid of it to one of the few of us stone-age people.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hit By Three Hurricanes

I See London, I See France...
Darker Shading = More Traffic
Someone in France read 11 posts yesterday, according to my "stats," and I wonder if it might be related to my mentioning of Tanya and Dorise (they play in Paris every now and then).
I assume the United Kingdom traffic might be the Lidgleys, from London...
(And, yes; one person in Iraq checked in...)
I got a similar "bump" in traffic after posting about Lily, the banjo player; including a couple of pictures of her; one of my most popular pages of "all time," again, according to stats.
This makes me wonder if I should not just become a publicist for Tanya and Dorise or Lily, the banjo player instead of writing about myself!
Not So Fast...
Yesterday, I hit rock bottom again in a sense; and realised that I am hitting "rock bottom" more frequently; like the contractions of a woman in labor as she nears giving birth.
I woke up thinking that I was absolutely flat broke, and took this as an opportunity to continue on my juice fast/cleanse, something which always has the effect of cleansing the body of toxins; alleviating chronic aches and pains (my pinched nerve causing pain and weakness in my right shoulder, for example) and suppressing appetites for cigarettes and alcohol and eventually even food (at about day 6) and making it easy to focus upon less carnal matters and reduce anxiety in general.
This was fine with me, but as I sat there under the cedar trees, reading and thinking and gulping down apple-cranberry juice every hour or so, I had a thought occur to me:
Didn't I bury a coffee jar with a bunch of change in it, during Superbowl week?
I dug up the jar, containing $5.61 in assorted coins, which I had temporarily forgotten about.
As Bad As It Gets
I was soon going across the river on the ferry, driven by my symptoms of withdrawal from tobacco and alcohol.
Once on Canal Street, I was kind of surprised to see a good number of people.
I went to Uniques and got a Hurricane Lager, even though I had been "juicing it" for a day, and knew that it was probably going to hit me like it namesake.
The Guy Who Plays Guitar (but doesn't have one)
Random Picture
I walked onto Canal Street, where a guy whom I kind of recognized, seemed to kind of recognize me; and motioned me over.
He was friendly, told me that he himself played the guitar, even though his is under repair right now; one of the red flags that I have learned to notice ("the guy who plays guitar but doesn't have one") and he wanted a gulp off my beer. Of course, he wanted a gulp off my beer.
He wanted to hear me jam, and said "I might even be able to show you something on the guitar."
"Why don't you break it out right here; you might make some money," he said.
I started to recognize in him "The guy who sees the guitar on your back as some kind of opportunity for himself..." and remembered where I had seen him before: sitting next to a busker on
Royal Street, taking turns playing the guitar.
I told him that I was going to grab another beer, which might put me in the mood to play.
He asked me for a dollar.
I told him that I only had a little bit of change.
Since I had not even one whole Hurricane in me after he gulped down some of mine because "my throat is dry," I went off to Unique Boutique for another, and then left in a different direction than where he had been sitting.
I was toward the side of the Marriot, near Arbys and trying to sense if I wanted to play there, when the guy walked up. He followed me? 
He offered to find me a couple of milk crates to sit on.
At that point, I kind of rudely dismissed him and said that I was going to go and do "my own thing."
What bothered me most was the facade he was putting on that he was expending all this energy ostensibly because he wanted to hear me jam so much; when I knew that he was broke and his throat was dry.
I still felt a bit guilty as I walked kind of aimlessly through the Quarter after that.
I Get Too Drunk
There were some pretty raggedy gutter punks across from the Monteleone, where the clean people usually play. The expression on the doormans face might have expressed the entire establishments opinion of their sound.
I grabbed another beer on Decatur, which may have been one too many on a pretty much empty stomach.
Playing at my spot near there, with only change in my case for seed money; and watching gutter punk, after dog, after gutter punk, after dog walk past; harrassing the tourists so much that the tourists were probably reluctant to pull their wallets out in front of me; having already told a dozen "travelling kids" that they didn't have any money (We only carry plastic, sorry).
I played my best; but eventually started to get pissed off at myself for missing notes as too much alcohol seeped into my bloodstream; and I just got disgusted in general.
"Were You Just Leaving?"
"Never Mind Us; There's A Guy Blocking
The Sidewalk On Decatur Street!!"
I was packing up my stuff when the police car came to an abrupt stop not far from me and two officers got out, hurrying as if afraid that I was going to try to run.
It was not officer Adams this time, but two diffent ones, a white one and a black one.
"Let's see some ID," they said, without any preliminaries at all.
"Were you just leaving?" asked the white one, seeing my guitar already half in the case.
"Yes, I'm trying to leave here entirely. If I had made enough money for a bus ticket, I'd be on my way to Houston by now!"
I told them that I had lost my ID.
"I'm already in the system. I've been arrested before for obstructing the sidewalk!" I said, my dislike of New Orleans increasing by the second.
The black one went to the car to run my name and date of birth.
"Have you been going to all your courtdates?" asked the white one who stood by me as I continued to pack my stuff.
"Yes, I have one on March 7th."
The black one came back with news of the same two warrants that I had the last time.
"We're going to give you a break," said the white one. "You have two warrants," he added; perhaps to make me realize the magnitude of the break.
Maybe it was because I was packing up when they arrived; maybe it was because I expressed an intention to get out of here, and they could probably sense my discontentment with the place; and believ that I am trying to leave, that they let me go.
I walked the length of Decatur street back to the ferry, not relieved all to have been given a break, and very out of sorts, to say the least; cussing at strangers and not even thinking about trying to turn my luck around and make something of the evening; even after seeing that the casino was busy and my playing spot near there was vacant.
It was pretty apparent that the 3 Hurricane lagers on an empty stomach was a big part of what was ailing me; and so I guess I learned something there.
I woke up this morning penniless and trying in dread to remember everything that had happened the past night, hoping that I hadn't made too much of a jerk of myself....