Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Slow News Day

Tuesday, the 29th was a slow news day, which began with me waking up at Leslies apartment; after I had broken my own rule, and crashed there.
We were the only ones there; no strippers; no heroin addicts; no wheelchair skeezers; no pathological liars; no thieves.
Goose Skeezing?!?
By noon, I had had 8 hours of sleep; and was ready to start my day.
Leslie was ready to start drinking.
I had split a 20 dollar tip with him Monday night; which fell into my case while we were jamming on dual harmonicas; and so, he had beer money.
I tried to organize my thoughts, and come up with an itinerary.
I needed a few guitar picks, and I wanted to find Howard -not a very complicated order; but, with Leslie tagging along, and stopping to talk to all kinds of people; most of whom were looking for a dollar; I had to stay focused.
The Goose Lady
I managed to part with him amicably; after we had walked the length of Bourbon Street; stopping one time to view a photograph in a gallery which Leslie insisted that I see.
It was a picture of "The Goose Lady," whom Leslie remembers from years ago; when she used to walk around the French Quarter, followed by a goose (shown) and a few little ganders (not shown). ..."and people would give her money and buy her drinks all the time...."
Leslie, being a "people person" (to a fault), was thrilled to see a picture of the goose lady.
I took a picture of the picture (above).
I woke up this (Wednesday) morning; under the dock; and turned my phone on to discover that Leslie had left a message.
He seems to want to meet with me each morning and then spend the day in my company; drinking and smoking, then drinking some more.
He hasn't been in any condition to play music, by sundown, the past few nights.
I had my energy drink; and then came here to the library; where I copied the NFL football schedule; and will try to find Howard on the other side of the river; so we can resume our friendly football prognosticating contest.
I think it would be well, in the future, if I postpone running into Leslie, until the evenings, or whenever I decide to start drinking, whichever comes first....
Some day; I may be in a situation where more sobriety is called for; such as being set up on Royal Street where running to the restroom every 25 minutes due to beer consumption would be a hindrance and would cut into the "bottom line" profits.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Jam, Therefore, I Am

Having 8 minutes left on this hotly contested computer at the library is not much more time than it would take to say that it is Tuesday morning.
This one is better...
I woke up at Leslies apartment at about 11 a.m., the final time, when I sat up and lamented not having an energy drink; and then contemplated how I could amicably break off in a different direction from Leslie and accomplish certain tasks, like updating this blog; and avoid other tasks; like becoming stumbling drunk alongside Leslie "Let me buy you a beer" Thompson.

I have managed to make it to this library.
My goal for yesterday was simply to do laundry and to perhaps buy a protective cover for my notepad; which I am filling with songs, exercises, musings etc.
Leslie and I jammed last night; and, at one point a lady came and placed a 20 dollar bill under the tiposaurus.
That brought the total for the 3 hours session to about 26 dollars.
I had my head down and was jamming on the harmonica when she put the bill down.
Leslie apparently saw it and said "Thank you; thank you copiously!"
That was my cue to go all out on the harp solo for at least as long as it took her to remove herself from earshot.
And, I woke up with about 30 dollars this (Tuesday) morning; realizing that I had somehow spent about 25 bucks the previous day and trying to account for it; but secure in the knowledge that there is money to be made out there; once again -the slow season being over......

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Morning Catch Up On The Weekend

It has been four days since my last post; and these are my sins....
(Laundry Today; Blogging Tomorrow)
Guests Appear, And Fade Away...
Friday, I was bent upon busking; after having woken up under the dock, fortified with 8 hours of sleep under my belt; and so I set off for my spot on Bourbon Street.
I had chosen the dock, over crashing at Leslies place, and even had to turn my phone off to ward off calls from Taylor the stripper; seeking to communicate with Chris, the 21 year old boyfriend of Taylor (18) the stripper.
I made not a dime in the early afternoon; but, after sundown, the tips started to appear either in my case, or under the tiposaurus.
I had probably amassed about 25 dollars by the time that Leslie arrived; and we jammed on an awesome "Because," by The Beatles, while his boss Paul (who had dropped off Leslie, along with his paycheck) listened.
Then, another young guy arrived, holding a harmonica in the key of C, and we were able to jam in the key of A flat, which produced 3 dollars within about 10 minutes.
He asked me for one of the dollars, which I gave him; after he assured me that he hadn't been trying to hustle me and thanked me for the "harmonica lesson," and was soon off down Bourbon Street.
I woke up with 36 dollars on Saturday.
Sunday, the Saints played in the Superdome, and Monday (this) morning, I woke up with about 45 dollars, an energy drink, cigarettes, and soon a cold beer, delivered to the sign spot by Leslie at about 11 a.m.
I had played outside the exit, where I have been able to successfully (i.e. not be run off by cops) do so, so far.
It was about a 40 dollar take at the game.
Leslie was incapacitated, and did not play.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hectic Wednesday

While blogging yesterday, I got a text message from Leslie, who had worked all day cutting concrete, and who was at Checkpoint Charlies, where Paul, his boss had dropped him off; and where they were inside consuming beer "Paul is treating!"
Leslie was expecting to be given an advance from his paycheck, due Friday.
I then got another text telling me that he was on his way to the OZ Center (on Camp Street) for a hot meal, which was to be served at 6 p.m., a half hour after my computer session was to end; and a half hour walk from the library.
It seemed ordained that I should leave the library and join him for the hot meal; as the timing seemed to fall into place so neatly.
Resident in the back of my mind was the fact that I had 50 cents and a 2 dollar Canadian coin, and nothing else, in my pocket.
...and Leslie was expecting to be advanced money by his boss...
Sunday morning at Leslie's (left) with the tiposaurus moonlighting as a weedosaurus.
...I made it to the OZ Center in time for a plate of barbecue pork over rice and a piece of corn bread; all hot; most of which I gave to Leslie.
I had found an almost full canister of EAS "15" Lean Protein meal, and decided I would mix some of that up in lieu of that salty, soybean oil laden fare.
Leslie had already attracted Steve to his side; who was shadowing hime; probably with the fact that Leslie had worked all day in the "back" of his mind, also.
Steve is one of several people who have screwed Leslie over in the past (he stole Leslies pipe, after being allowed to shower at his place and use his soap and shampoo etc) and who have been forgiven by Leslie, who has an astounding capacity to forget the past and call each day a new day.
We left the OZ center, and as we walked, Leslie broke the bad news that his boss had declined to advance him any more than 5 dollars; of which he only had 2 left.
Leslie and I were soon walking alone; as Steve soon felt the urge to use the restroom at Popeyes, and branched off in that direction.
I told Leslie that I would just have to sit down at my spot and play on that most dismal of nights, Wednesday, and see what happened.
What happened was, I opened my guitar case to discover that my pick was missing; and I had no more in my pack.
I had lost about 15 picks the past month; in the midst of wild partying and jamming; and the chaos of living the Leslie Life; and the last one could have been laying on his rug in his apartment, or under the dock, or at my playing spot, or...
Then a guy walked up and asked me to play a song, requesting "Lionel (Richie)" or "Michael."
I could have faked my way through one of the simple Richie songs pretty easily, had I a pick, but the encumbrance of trying to play with my thumb, while trying to sound out the chords; produced sloppy results, and the man threw one penny in my case; which I decided to close immediately; then go off trying to get a pick from another musician.
Then, the text came from Leslie that he was on his way to a newly opened club on Frenchman Street, which was owned by the same people who owned The Last Call on Bourbon Street, where Leslie did odd jobs; and where he hoped to borrow money from, in order to get "us" some booze and weed, according to the text.
I had a decision to make:
Rely solely upon myself; find a pick and busk, starting out with 50 cents and a 2 dollar Canadian coin in my case; or pursue Leslie, in order to take him up on his offer; like those fish that swim alongside sharks, feasting upon the small chunks of flesh which miss its mouth.
In hindsight, I made the wrong choice.
I met him at the new bar, where I stood next to him, feeling like a leach, as he tried, without luck to borrow money off someone who was "in a meeting" in the back; and couldn't be reached.
It occurred to me that his employers were possibly withholding money from him to protect him from himself; and to insure that he would be in a decent condition to go to work the following morning at 7 a.m. when they rang his buzzer.
Then, Leslie got a text from Chris, who was on Bourbon Street, across from "Temptations," the strip club where Chris' girlfriend worked.
He said that he had gotten money (the girl had performed a "lap dance" for a customer) and had bought vodka; and Leslie, along with "Guitar Daniel," were invited to consume shots of it.
The text was like a carrot in front of our noses; as we walked from Frenchmen Street, all the way to the 300 block of Bourbon Street, where Chris was nowhere to be seen.
We waited, able to watch the World Series, game 1, through a barroom window.
After a half hour, Leslie texted Chris back..."Where are you?"
Chris answered that he was on the corner of Bienville and Bourbon Streets.
We were on that corner.
Leslie had told Chris and Taylor (his stripper girlfriend) that they could crash at his place.
It felt ridiculous to be waiting for a guy to show up just to give us shots of vodka
Chris eventually arrived, after Leslie used my phone to contact him.
He had very little money, because he and his fiance, as that is how he described her, had had a falling out.
The wedding was off
Chris just wanted to go to sleep at Leslies, stating that he hadn't slept in 3 days.
I wanted to check there for my pick; hoping to busk and make my own money; and take back control of my own life.
Chris bought Leslie a 4 dollar pint of whiskey, then we walked to his place.
I didn't find my pick.
Then, began a volley of texts back and forth between Chris and Taylor.
Then, I made the mistake of letting Leslie use my phone to call Taylor, so that he could play "Leslie The Healer" (the Doctor Phil of Bourbon Street) and burn 50 of my minutes, trying to reconcile the couple.
This went on into the wee hours of the morning.
Finally, Taylor opted to sleep upstairs at the club, rather than have Chris walk her to Leslies apartment after she got off work.
Leslie got 4 more dollars from him at 2 a.m., and set out for Uniques, and another pint of cheap whiskey.
This gave Chris and I a chance to talk; and the conversation soon was revolving around the similarities between Taylor, the stripper, and Karrie, my old girlfriend.
They had both been similarly abused.
Chris soon drifted off to sleep, comforted with the knowledge that his was not a unique situation.
I soon followed suit, despite the radio playing classic rock (Leslie keeps it, or the TV on, all night) and we each slept on the floor until about 4 a.m., when Leslie returned; inebriated, and accompanied by Hector, who was equally inebriated.
Hector is another character who has screwed Leslie over in the past; lying and stealing and cheating him; and then being (apparently) forgiven by him.
Hector stumbled in and plopped himself down on the only bed; relegating Leslie to the floor in his own house.
Leslie exclaimed: "You're taking my bed?!?" then, affected with feelings of charity, added: "That's alright," in a much kinder tone of voice.
It wasn't my place to say anything, but I was thinking things which I won't repeat here. ...I thought that you had determined that you will never have anything to do with "Hector," doubting that that is even his real name; and having caught him in perpetual lies; most of them grandiose (he's going to get Leslie backstage to meet Trent Resnor of the band Nine Inch Nails when they play the Voodoo Festival next week, for example...
Hector eventually relinquished the bed to Leslie and then took a place on the rug (invasively) close to me.
I removed myself, and my backpack and guitar, to the kitchen and away from him, after noticing that, every time I woke up to reposition myself, He had moved closer to my pack, as if he was considering using it as a pillow.
My sleep was fitful.
The classic rock, which played all night and which spanned just about my entire life; set my mind in motion; bringing back memories of where I was and what I was doing when each song came out; and they were not all good memories; but they all were keeping me awake.
I couldn't help analysing the music; most of which I had attempted to play at some point in my life.
The sun rose, and Chris left to meet Taylor at Temptations. She had gotten a couple lap dances done in the small hours of the morning; and thus had money; and less anxiety; and it could be that the wedding is back on.
Hector and Leslie left, along with myself, at around noon, and went in a different direction than myself, with Hector whispering something to Leslie and leading him into what I can only guess was a wild goose chase of some kind.
Leslie had blown off his workday; having refused to answer his buzzer on only one hour of sleep and still drunk on the cheap whiskey.
I resolved to take my life back and won't stay there again...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Very Leslie Weekend

Paul Weighs In
Paul's Shoe
Saturday, Leslie told me that I could crash at his place.
I had talked to Paul, of Doreens Jazz Band, earlier that afternoon, who asked me if I had been busking, and how I had been doing.
I told him of my 2 jams with Leslie, on Thursday and Friday nights, and the decent amounts of tips which we made.
"Leslie must be a real crowd pleaser," said Paul.
Leslie, a couple years ago...
I told him about the mixed reactions which he seems to garner around the Quarter; and then added that I thought that Leslies "disability" is that he is actually super intelligent; and super misunderstood by those who treat him as if he is crazy; just because of the knee-jerk reactions they have to the things which come out of his mouth when he is talking a mile a minute.
I understand them; often after having to dissect them for a second.
"I can't imagine Leslie doing anything which would offend anybody," answered Paul.
Then he started to say: "I remember a couple years ago, when he used to wear that..." but was cut off in mid-sentence, because Doreen was holding out his share of their tip basket; and I guess you don't keep her waiting.
He used to wear a "Happy Birthday" hat all the time...
So, Sunday morning, I mentioned the conversation to Leslie in his kitchen.
For my part, I had been filling his refrigerator with sushi, sandwiches, chicken dinners, salads and the like, and we were nourishing ourselves before hitting the streets at about 1 in the afternoon.
"What did you used to wear two years ago, which Paul was referring to?" I asked him.
He produced a photo album; pictures from which are shown here.
I Play Day Shift
I left Leslie's place around 1 p.m. that Sunday morning; after Leslie and I had smoked a pipe and had a few shots of the whiskey which I had bought the previous night, after I had loaded my pack with copious amounts of fresh food, which made me feel as though I had been blessed; and which I hadn't minded carrying the weight of all the way to Uniques for the whiskey; to add to the blessing which I was to bestow upon  Leslie, then back to his apartment, 9 blocks away.
He was going to leave shortly and be "right behind" me, but I wound up ducking into The Quartermaster store (the "gay" store) a block down the street, (where Leslie is barred from, after making disparaging remarks about gays) and where I talked to the cashier for about a half hour about Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where she hails from.
Leslie slunk by at some point, I was pretty sure, and so, when I got to my playing spot (which looked quite alien in the broad daylight) I rested my can of Twisted Tea on Lillys step and began to play; at that unGodly, "Tanya and Dorise" hour of 1:30 p.m., squinting into the sun, but fully rested and playing well.
I was surprised to see an almost "Royal Street" amount of tourists walking around (had I been missing something all along, while sitting an listening to T&D?)
One of the mule carts had stopped in front of me and its passengers were being regaled with the story of the Blacksmith Tavern, when a local guy wearing a round hat, who had just been walking past; stopped in front of me, and held up a 10 dollar bill for their inspection.
"Here's 10 dollars," he said to nobody in particular.
Placing it in my empty case, he announced: "Support local musicians!" and walked off.
Other dollars soon went into the case, and it was up to about 20 dollars by 2:30, when Lilly came through her gate and looked at me as if seeing a ghost.
She told me that she had made home made soup and would give me some if I was still there at 5 p.m.
"I'll keep '5 p.m.' in mind"
Leslie's former landlord who was instrumental in getting him housing...

I didn't get back to the spot until 6 p.m., and missed out on the soup, but played a little longer, and was able to wake up Monday morning with 29 dollars and change on me, after spending my second night at Leslies and filling his refrigerator to the brim with so much more food, that we had to go through it and throw out the oldest stuff which we hadn't consumed.
"You Can Crash Again Tonight."
I crashed again Monday night, after Leslie and I had painted the town red.
He left at 7 in the morning to go to work with his employers; leaving me to "sleep all day, if you want," and asking me not to escape by climbing over his front gate, because the new owners might not appreciate it.
"Can You Leave?"
This (Wednesday) morning, as he was leaving for work, there was a note on the door stating that a contractor was coming to look at the pipes or something.
I had to leave with him and finish sleeping under the dock.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Deserve A Break Today

"Howard" Bio Begun
So far today, I have woken up under the Simon Bolivar statue, where I had repaired to in the middle of the night after it had started to rain.
I dug up the 24 dollars which I had buried in the mulch at about 1 a.m., after I had eaten 2 containers of the sushi which I had found outside Rouses Market (they've been putting it in an easy to find black bag, lately) then went to sleep.
I went to McDonalds to use their restroom.
There were plenty of McSkeezers out front; to include Amy, who was standing on the sidewalk patiently watching the door for activity.
When I came back outside, she (already) had a large bag of food, which she was eating out of..
Skeezer Kings
The others were running back and forth between McDonalds (where they could take shelter from the rain) and The Unique Boutique, where they could exchange the money which they had gotten "so I can get a hamburger," for Hurricane Lager and its ilk.
It was 9:30 a.m.
Leslie Jam
I jammed with Leslie (two harmonicas, guitar and vocals) on Wednesday night, and we actually made money from the few people who walked past.
My harp was in E flat, Leslies in B flat; both Marine Band brand; and I was surprised how good we sounded.
Leslie made repeated trips to The Unique Boutique; which was a good 7 blocks away; for beer, with each tip which went into the case.
During one of those trips; he encountered a marine and his girlfriend; gave them directions which netted him 2 dollars; and then made 20 dollars off of them after insisting that they hear "Oh, Susanna" played by him on his harmonica.
Ugg, ugg, ugg, well beg me down!
Thursday night, I made about 40 bucks at the Barnaby spot, after Leslie took it upon himself to leave me alone for a couple hours; after seeing that I wasn't making anything with him sitting next to me.
Friday night, Leslie and I jammed again at that same spot and about 20 dollars went into my case.
I had been buying Leslie drinks all day; as his employer was up in Boston watching the Red Sox game, and there was no work to be had for him; so I appropriated the money and told him that I was going to take a walk and then return.
His half would have been just about what I had spent upon him the entire day.
He seemed to take the hint and went in an opposite direction.
That particular jam exposed some of the weaknesses in Leslies musicianship, and I had the feeling that I would have made the same 20 dollars, if not more, by myself.
Reactions To Leslie
A Bit Of A Pariah?
Leslie is well known around the French Quarter.
Tanya and Dorise give me tacit signs of disapproval when I show up along with him.
Lilly and her daughters scurried past us and into their house last night without saying much at all; except that they were (all) "tired."
Barnaby arrived on his bicycle as Leslie and I were just leaving; and were throwing our trash into his receptacle.
His greeting was rather short; and I couldn't help reading "What are you hanging out with this loser for?" between the lines.
I guess none of my friends want me to wind up like him -the way they perceive him, at least.
He is easily offended and will cause a "scene" at the slightest provocation, and has, at several places around the Quarter.
He often tells me "I'll wait outside" instead of accompanying me into businesses, usually citing a particular person with whom he has had a confrontation, who is inside.
I seem to have a calming effect upon him; like music and the proverbial savage beast; but none of my friends have asked "Who's your friend?" when we are seen together; as if they are already well familiar with him and are not touching him with a pole of any length.
I went to Sydneys, after our "gig," where I splurged on 2 cans of Sierra Nevada IPA ale; which rendered me unable to continue playing at the standard which I have set for myself, and in doing so, spent myself down to the 24 dollars which I unearthed this morning.
Now it is Saturday; and my goal is to make it until 2 a.m. without doing the same again.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Feature

Character Profiles
I have begun undertaking a project which might wind up taking months to complete; namely the utilization of Bloggers "pages" to link the names of the characters who appear in this blog to a short biography and an explanation of how the person relates to me.
Testing, One, Two
It is Thursday morning, and I woke up with about 10 bucks on me; and with Leslie laying in the mulch nearby.
He had arrived sometime during the early morning.
Here's how it should work:
{Clicking upon Leslies name should carry you to a stand alone page of biographical information -in its infancy right now- about Leslie Thompson}
There are only 20 pages available for each blog, and so I will use the label feature to count the frequency with which I have labelled people, and the top 20 people will each get their own biographical pages, eventually. How cool is that?
To see whom those might be is as easy as checking the "cloud" of labels in the right hand sidebar, entitled "for more info on," or something.
Amy is a girl whom I have never seen doing anything but asking people for money.
She is always on Royal Street; leading me to suspect that there is a problem with her being on Bourbon Street.
She uses her smile upon men when asking for money, and she often cries; and cries very loudly. Her cries carry at least a block.
Leslie seems to like Amy a lot, despite the "bi-polar" nature of her which has her bawling loudly one minute and screaming angrily the next.
"You're trying to rape me!!" is something which seems to be a recurrent theme with her; and which she may yell at any time to any man in any situation.
I avoid her.

She basically ignores me.
For Crying Out Loud; At Least Produce Tears!

There is another, very similar, lady who is seen on Canal Street all the time; who puts an expression on her face which would make one think that she is about to cry; but she doesn't produce tears. 
When she goes into The Unique Boutique or McDonalds to redeem her pity bucks; she is no longer the emotional equivalent of a 5 year old girl; but rather orders her meal succinctly and with very specific directives as to its preparation; and knows exactly how much change she is due.
I've seen that one rolling a blunt before, and doing it very expertly; when she was taking a break from sitting on the sidewalk and looking like she was about to cry.
Amy, to her "credit," at least produces tears.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Great Catch Up

  • Mama Cat Gives Me A Bike
  • Mama Cat Takes The Bike Back
  • Leslie Gives Me A Harmonica
  • Mom Sends Money
  • Micro Chip Replaced
  • Crab Boil On Birthday
  • My Favorite Mule
  • Capo Replaced
 The sign spot, as seen in the morning (left).
Since I last posted, all of the things mentioned above happened.
I got a call from my mom on Friday, telling me that 100 dollars had been wired for my birthday, which was the following day.
I had $2.16 on me when the call came, having squandered money making opportunities Thursday night, by choosing to watch football and consume, rather than go out and gather.
I was at the Veaux Carre Baptist church, waiting for a shower.
"Wheelchair" Charlie and "wheelchair" Sue were there, along with heroin addict Bobby.
Bobby had stayed briefly at Leslies house along with the other two, long enough to urinate and vomit on the floor and leave beer cans on under the bed.
I was invited to become the fifth resident at that place last week, when we thought a tropical storm was coming, but I declined, opting for underneath the dock where the Natchez lands instead.
There has since been posted a note by Leslies landlord on his door admonishing him to have no guests at all.
I heard Charlie on Friday night, asking Leslie for the key to his place and telling him that he needed to keep his woman safe (that would be wheelchair Sue)..
Leslie refused to give them the key and I was proud of him.
He understands that he can lose his Section 8 benefits, or whatever they are, for any number of violations; and it is his opinion that Charlie and Sue don't care about that, but are only thinking of their own creature comforts.
Charlie told me that; every once in a while, one must "kick his (Leslies) ass," and that will make him "a good little boy," for a few days; a good little boy who will spend his whole paycheck on beer for everybody.
Knows The Drill...
 My Favorite Mule
Well, I have had this picture for a while in my phone, and can only now post it to this blog, after the purchase of a new USB micro sd adaptor; due to a generous birthday gift from my mom (see above or below).
The mule shown is the mule that I chose to be "my favorite mule," when I sing the song of the same title.
Often times when it pulls its carriage by, I break into the song: "...Did I just not see my favorite mule; my favorite mule...etc.."
I came upon the very same mule and learned from its driver, a middle aged lady, that it is her favorite mule also; she loves it.
The mules name is Sparticus, and the lady told me a story, which I will para phrase:
One night, Sparticus was being driven by a guy who liked to drink whiskey and drive a mule and carriage.
The guy was on pain medication of some kind, having visited the dentist or something that day.
He passed out.
The Japanese tourists in the carriage, who were busy taking pictures and hadn't been listening to the drivers foreign gibberish anyways; were unaware that he had checked out and was slumped over at the reigns. 
Sparticus did the entire route, according to witnesses, making all the right turns; stopping at the right spots, waiting for approximately 2 minutes in front of the Blacksmith Tavern and even for the traffic light to turn green on Decatur Street before pulling onto it.
He then got back in line behind all the other mules at Jackson Square.
The driver was woken up and fired.
What kind of parents would let their children play on Bourbon Street?
Crab Boil On Birthday
I was invited (begged) by Leslie to attend a crab boil, which happened to fall upon my birthday.
At 10:30 in the morning, he told me, they would arrive at the sign spot to pick me up.
By 11 a.m., they had not arrived, so I left to use the McDonalds restroom.
I had forgotten to dig up my money from where I bury it next to me; and so I had to return to the spot to get it.
It was then that the truck arrived, carrying Leslie in the bed and his boss and 2 co-workers in front.
We rode quite a ways to the huge lake north of NOLA, where we boiled "$240 worth" of blue crabs; threw a football around, listened to music and enjoyed my birthday.
Thanks to the money which my mother had wired to me; I was not stressed out over having to get back to the Quarter and back to work.
One of the co workers spoke very disparagingly of Leslie, saying that the boss, on occasion, would pick him up at a bar at 7 in the morning; and Leslie would emerge, stumbling drunk, and not having slept, and would go to work in that condition.
He would then have to be supervised closely and shown repeatedly how to do the simplest tasks.
The boss, Paul, is a general contractor and seems to have adopted Leslie as a charity case.
I tried to hint around that I wouldn't mind pushing a paint brush around for 8 bucks an hour every now and then...
Crab Grabbers
Another couple joined us shortly after the crabs began to boil; and there then became a schism between the bosses and the workers; with each group seated at separate picnic tables.
One of them had brought the football, which was an official NFL ball and might have been caught at a Saints game. The guy sure seemed proud of it.
The batches of crabs which were coming out of the boiler were set upon by the bosses, with the new arrivals grabbing greedily at the corn on the cob and the potatos. The crabs which made it to the "Leslie" table came minus their claws.
Instant Karma
So, it seemed like instant karma when I punted the football and it got stuck at the top of a queen palm tree; becoming an official NFL coconut, and its owner began to ponder bringing out some kind of construction equipment to retrieve it...

The dock spot (left) -needing a bit of stone masonry to smooth it out.
 When it rains; the drainpipe becomes a nice shower!
A blurry Leslie in his garden.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Slow Night Spawns Skeezing

You Can't Have Your Sushi And Eye Exam Too
This morning, I had about 10 bucks on me, after starting out on Monday with nothing.
The world is a different sort of place when you have no money on you.
It's easy then to fall into the trap of resenting the rich.
It seems like I get begged more when I actually have nothing; and begged by those who don't believe that I have nothing and who will persist in not taking "no" for an answer.
I was annoyed the entire evening.

Send The White Lady
One black guy sent a white woman across the street to ask me for a cigarette when I was minding my own business and waiting on the sushi bag, at about 3:30 a.m.
"I don't give away cigarettes," I told her.
"Well, can I buy one off you?"
"Sure, I'll take a quarter; that's about what I pay for them; that would be fair."
She couldn't produce any quarter from her pocket and I suspected that she was hoping that I would hand her the cigarette while she was fishing in her empty pocket for what I thought was going to be a quarter, and would then just walk off with it. That's a "classic" skeeze.
She called across the street to the black man, asking him for a quarter.
He stalked over and stood in front of me expressing anger and outrage over my asking a fair price for, instead of just giving away, cigarettes to perfect strangers.
At that point, I had traded money off my food card for beer and cigarettes, making them theoretically twice as expensive; as that is the rate of exchange for food card money.
Watching Game, Not Playing
Earlier, at my playing spot, I had had a hard time getting motivated, even though the lady who lives next to Barnaby came out and sat on her steps and asked me how I liked the weather, at one point.
I think she likes my music.
Lilly made a brief appearance.
When I made my first trip to the restroom at the Blacksmith Tavern, Monday night football was on.
Not Thinking
I wound up watching football, and didn't play until after the game was over; made very little, but improved my harmonica playing; and then decided to wait until 5 a.m. for the sushi bag to come out of Rouses Market; not thinking about my eye exam appointment the next morning.
I got to the sign spot and fell asleep, thinking that when my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m., I would gulp down an energy drink which I had by my side and then make it to Rebuild Center by 7:15.
I woke up at about 7:45, realizing that I had either slept through the alarm, or the alarm hadn't gone off.
In my attempt to make sure that I woke up by giving the alarm a test run the previous day, I think that I disabled it by hitting "dismiss" instead of "snooze," which might have dismissed it entirely.
I will know if it rings tomorrow morning.
Now, I have to show up at Rebuild every time they do eye exams and hope that someone else sleeps through their alarm; or I might be pushed back another whole month...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Aftermath Of The Storm That Wasn't

Skeezed Out
What Storm?
Eye Exam Tomorrow
Well, I woke up flat broke this chilly morning, with the wind blowing so hard that I had my hat wedged under my guitar case to prevent it from blowing away.
Stood Next To Me And Played "Daniel" Sunday
I was glad to have gotten my heavy sweatshirt from the other side of the river and to have put it on during the night, along with a pair of jeans which were big enough to go over the shorts that I was wearing.
The temperature had done about a 40 degree drop since I had donned shorts and tee shirt combination that morning.
I was feeling depressed, which is a feeling that I am more likely to have when waking up with less than 5 bucks on me.
It is also something which seems to be spawned by my having spent time with Tanya, only to see her drive off to her house before I make my way to a piece of cardboard.
I had woken up under the dock at almost noon (as I hadn't gotten to sleep until almost 5 a.m.).
It was sunny and bright and hot.
The Natchez was out on the river some where, which allowed enough light under the dock that I was able to move some rocks around, making my bed less lumpy.
I couldn't stop thinking about how Tanya Huang had rocked back and forth and sort of danced in her chair the previous afternoon when playing Folsom Prison Blues.
It was a very cute image; Dorise sitting upright and rocking out the chords and Tanya swaying from side to side like a pendulum.
I was thinking that; the next time Tanya asked me "What do you want to me to play?" I was going to say: "Anything; as long as you stand up when you play it...and sway from side to side, if possible....
I realized that I need to put myself on a track to becoming a "professional" street musician; able to set up even in the chaos of Mardi Gras and be heard over the din.
Even if it means getting a new ID through Rebuild Center and going out through the labor pool to sweep out the Superdome for 40 dollars; plus whatever money, jewelry and other trinkets which 75 thousand people might drop. And, unfinished drinks? Forget about it!!
Before I had gotten to the sign spot last night, I passed the young black man, who plays an electric violin through a rig similar to Tanyas, and who merely plays scales and arpeggios that are not recognizable as songs, but who fills his tip box with hundreds of dollars whenever he plays.
"I think the black people view him as some sort of Tiger Woods figure; you know, breaking into white mans music the way he (Tiger) did the rich white man's passtime. They think he is playing Beethoven, and it makes them swell up with Black Pride, and they fill his box up..." I had said to Dorise, Sunday afternoon.
"I don't think it's that. It's just that the violin is a beautiful instrument; and his pitch is good; even though he isn't playing anything," she responded.
"Inspiration Violin, he calls it. 'pure improvisation'"

Get Out Of Jail Free
In preparation for Tropical Storm Karen (which never came) the Orleans Parish Prison, purportedly released 130 Skeezers Thursday night.
And, there they were, flooding the French Quarter and creating a more volatile atmosphere .
This had the further effect of causing the tourists to not tip musicians such as myself.
By the time they reached my spot, they had been skeezed deaf and blind (to me).
I managed to make about 25 bucks on Friday, playing until 3:30 in the morning.
I then went by Rouses Market and learned (at 4:15 a.m.) that they have changed their policy about disposing of food which is edible though out of date.
Now, the incoming morning crew put the food out, rather than the outgoing night shift.
There is only a lag of about 3 hours, as the morning crew comes in around 4 a.m. to start preparing for the stores opening at around 6 (I think).
What this means is that the chicken bag has lost its appeal along with its "selling point" of being hot food, fresh off the rack. Sorry, skeezers.
The sushi does not suffer through this limitation, as it comes out cold and (as the fall temperatures become refrigerator-like) will still be cold, and only 4 hours "out of date."
I grabbed about 5 containers of it ($40 worth) and made for the dock, so as to take shelter from the tropical storm over the weekend and survive on sushi and a gallon of water.
It didn't come.
Saturday, there were brief showers, in between periods of clear blue sky.
But, by Saturday, there had begun to be heard the complaint that the tourists in town were very cheap.
Walking around Bourbon Street that night, I saw all kinds of unfamiliar faces of people whose demeanor and/or attire designated them to me as being the skeezers who had been let of of jail for free.
A few of them stared at me coldly; eying my guitar (he's making money) and nudging each other; and I had the feeling that I was being followed several times; so I stayed in the safe spots and took the safe routes and disappeared under the dock, after out-witting them, to await Tropical Storm Karen, which was surely going to arrive during the night.
It didn't.
More Tanya Huang
(because I like it when, whomever the 3 people in China are, check in)
Sunday, I was up and had about 6 dollars left on me.
After re arranging rocks (because the storm could still arrive, right?) and ruminating about Tanya swaying from side to side, as mentioned earlier, I emerged from under the dock and acted like I was looking for driftwood as I walked along the river a ways before coming up to the river walk.
The route from the dock into the Quarter takes me right to where I heard Tanyas ("unmistakable" -excuse the pun-) sounding violin before even seeing her.
They were doing an "all Elton John set," and were playing Rocket Man, when I went into the hotel across from them to change into my shorts and a different tee shirt.
They were playing "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word," when I emerged.
Just then, a gust of wind almost toppled their umbrella, and Tanya dove out of the way, without interrupting the music; and stood on the sidewalk, playing.
I walked over, to lend assistance in laying the umbrella aside.
"We're doing an all Elton John set," said Dorise.
"Ah, that's why I heard an Elton song on the way into the hotel and one coming out...which ones did I miss while I was washing up and changing?"
As if to answer me, Tanya began to play "Daniel," standing next to me.
Then, she moved close enough to me, so that I could hear her singing the words.
Then, she rocked back and forth while playing the solo.
" long as you stand up and sway back and forth, if possible..."
That was not the first uncanny example of what could be deduced as a psychic connection between myself and that duo...
I ran into them again, as they were packing up in the evening when I was on my way back from making 2 or 3 dollars at my spot; and then getting plastered on what people left outside of Pat O' Briens.
"Stay out of trouble, write a song, get some pants, don't blog too hard, and be careful," said Dorise before they left.
Aye, Aye Sister
I have my eye exam appointment tomorrow and the test run of my alarm clock on my Obama phone was a success this morning, with Mozart waking me up with his Piano Sonata number 1. Twice (I hit "snooze" instead of "dismiss" D' oh!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

At A Loss For A Title

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Southern Flannel Moth Checks In
This morning, I slept until almost 10 a.m. at the sign spot.
There were no empty containers of sushi or anything else by me, as Rouses has stopped putting out those items at night, inexplicably. "Maybe they sold it all," was all I could get out of Helen.
I hope that I have not shot myself in the foot with a blog post about free food which was seen by "the wrong person." 
I took out my guitar and warmed up and tuned it.
Then I saw the southern flannel moth on my guitar case, and flicked it off with a stick and ground it into the mulch with my boot.
I felt the dull pain setting into my left pinkie and I knew that it had gotten me, somehow.
It is a minor "bite" (as its fur is coated with some kind of venom and one must touch it in order to be "bitten") but still I am perplexed over how the things seem to position themselves right where a pinkie finger is destined to land on top of them.
Hopefully the slight pain I feel will be short lived.
Tropical Storm Sunday
Meanwhile, there is a tropical storm due to arrive on Sunday, and I imagine that I will have to try to busk as much as possible before then, and then stock up on food when my card gets 200 bucks added to it tomorrow morning at 5 a.m., and then prepare to go way up under the dock for perhaps a day or two.
Leslie's house is an option, but he will surely be hosting his two wheelchair bound friends, Charlie and Susan.
I say "bound," although I did see Charlie once jump up out of his chair and kick a trash bin one night (out of the sight of tourists) when they were not giving him any money.
And, they both get out of their chairs, fold them up, and push them the length of Leslies sidewalk and park them in his kitchen when they arrive.
They will be house bound if not wheelchair bound, and they drink more than me and smoke more than me, and they keep the TV tuned to rather stupid programs instead of putting the radio on.
I might be happier under the dock, where I can at least meditate...
I woke up with "Girls Talk," by Elvis Costello in my head, and am going to fidget around with it and maybe play it tonight...
There are some things you can't cover up with lipstick and powder
I thought I heard you mention my name; can't you talk any louder
Don't come any closer; don't come any nearer
My image of you can't come any clearer
Oh, I just want to hear girls talk
I've got a loaded imagination being fired by girls talk...
But I can't tell you the words you want to hear
I guess you're gonna just have to play it by ear... -Elvis Costello
Now, it is a little past noon on Friday.
I have 2 dollars and 62 cents on me.
Tanya and Dorise have probably made 100 dollars each already.
I will walk Royal Street, past all the amplified musicians and the horn players and will stop to talk to each of them on my way towards my spot, where I will try to set up early and play until it starts raining or something.
Howard Vs. Daniel
First, I will hop the ferry to Algiers, where I will get Howards football picks from him.
We are competing to see who can pick the most winning teams; with the prize to be a meal at the bar where we have watched the Superbowl the past two years, Filippis Taqueria.