Thursday, February 27, 2014

Step For Step

Bottom Of The Jar
Wednesday, I woke up in the cold with 37 cents on me. It rained for most of the day.
I read for a while, wrapped in my sleeping bag and drinking cold instant coffee mixed with honey which struggled to melt; and finished my cigarettes.
I made my deposit of 35 cents into the jar; waited for the rain to let up and for the Natchez to launch on its 4 p.m. voyage and then hit the Quarter with 2 cents on me, and no cigarettes.
I found a dime on the sidewalk immediately.
Busking Below 50?
It was just barely warm enough then to try to busk; but the Lilly spot was pretty deserted, with everybody "uptown" to watch the Mardi Gras parades, apparently.
I found a half a daiquiri, which I drank on my way to Rouses Market, where I learned that the girl who would trade me beer for money off my food card was not working.
I came here to The Royal Blend, hoping to use this computer to blog without buying anything, and learned that its Internet connection was "down," perhaps due to the high winds and rain.
I went to Starbucks, where I spent my gift card down to 6 dollars with the purchase of a coffee, which I sipped while charging one of my phones (the one that I usually only use to communicate with Lilly).
One of the wires had snapped off of the charger for my Android phone, rendering it (the charger) useless.
That is the phone which I used to use to post current pictures here.
I then decided to just walk along the parade route and scavenge.
I had a good amount of food (mixed berry fruit cups, bagged apple slices, a chef salad with roast beef, a carton of baked chicken, a bag of assorted lunch meats, and most notably a huge basting tin of half cooked bacon with portobello musrooms and herbs) all "refrigerated."
It was half cooked because the security guys had smelled my smoke early Wednesday morning, though they couldn't see it through the fog.
All they did was one of them yell "I smell fire!" at which point I doused the flames.
Fortunately, I had already eaten the first tin of pasta with all kinds of stuff added to it which I had fully cooked.
As I walked the parade route, snatching up half full bottles of beer (and feeling like I was doing it behind peoples backs as they were focusing upon catching beads and stuffed animals) I began to loosen up and become bolder; and more picky; no more Budweiser, only Abita or Dixie Lager.
I was carrying my guitar without a case, still, and had to be careful about maneuvering it between people and things.
I got to Lee Circle and went into a Portolet to consume the last of my bud.
Emerging from there, I felt more of a sense of connectedness with the people around me. I wondered if pot might indeed be medicinal for people beset with feelings of disconnectedness with society.
As soon as I crossed the street, a young black man who was with a young black girl said "Play something."
"Anything?" I asked kind of rhetorically, as I was taking the guitar off my shoulder.
I played "Dancing In The Moonlight," by King Harvest until the next approaching float drowned me out.
He held out some money.
I held out my hand, into which he put a dollar.
I looked him in the eye and thanked him sincerely. Enough, I guess, that he gave me an additional 2 dollars and a quarter which he had been hiding in his palm; perhaps holding it back until he saw how appreciative I was over the single bill.
I then had $3.37.
I actually watched some of the parades until about 11 p.m. when I bought an unopened, unsipped off of beer and then made my way back to the dock, deciding that I had enough cold food to get through the night without lighting a fire and that the bacon (of which I had found a 5 pound box of) would keep for another day.
It is Thursday and about 5 degrees warmer. Probably not warm enough to play, and so I will probably repeat last evening step for step...
I made my 35 cent deposit this morning, at least....

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Jar

Money Crunch
My cash is down to around 5 dollars, as I type this, and ponder the going out to the Lilly spot to play some later on tonight.
Last (Monday) night was dismal.
I apparently made 15 dollars less than I spent.
I woke up and scuttled the ideas of trying to buy a case for the Indiana or even doing laundry.
I did have a whole pack of cigarettes which a guy standing next to a Corvette parked by the Rouses Market trash cans had given to me, along with an Arizona green tea and a 5 oz. bag of cashews, probably after seeing me bagging up butchered scraps of meat from there.
It was before midnight and the store was still open; and I attracted the attention of the cop on duty; one whom I have only seen working there a couple times; who walked over and said something like: "Don't be messing with the trash."
But the guy was standing there next to his Corvette like a big brother to me; and after I told the cop that I was sorry and that I didn't intend to leave a mess, and started picking up bags to prove it; and especially after the well dressed guy with the Corvette started helping me in that endeavor by picking up a couple himself and handing them to me; the cops went back inside the store.
I usually tell the cops that I have bought some things from the store; but that I just need something (bread; a few vegetables) to go with it; and I didn't have enough money.
I will call that the "At least he's trying; and we DID get something out of him..." method.
I was happy to see fog increasingly thickening the air as I neared the Mississippi.
It was enough cover for me to scavenge the bank for enough driftwood to build a fire that emitted smoke no thicker than the fog.
The 35 Cent Jar
I have raised the amount of money which I am adding daily to a jar which I keep "under my mattress" at the sleeping spot by 5 cents; to 35 cents per day.
This may seem trivial, but...
The idea is to bolster my confidence in my ability to consistently save money (any amount, for crying out loud...) over the coarse of a long period of time.
It has to be an amount which I just won't miss each day; and it has to accumulate regularly and never be tapped into, for any reason.
I have tried this before with various amounts of money.
Saving one dollar per day was not successful for long, because:
If the amount being saved is too "ambitious," then, after too short a time, it becomes a temptation.
The jars amount should not exceed the amount held otherwise, in other words one should be able to save up on the side (apart from the jar) for  needed purchases. You just can't play a harmonica with 2 plugged holes, knowing that you have enough in your jar for a new one.
Tapping into the jar defeats the purpose.
Had I faithfully started the 35 cent jar on my 18th birthday; and never had to tap into it, it would be worth about $4,216.00 now.
Would I be sleeping under the wharf with that amount hidden in the rocks nearby??
This morning marked the 10th consecutive deposit made to the jar.
I have raised the amount (that I just won't miss each day) to 35 cents for the Mardi Gras season; and may put it back to 30 afterward.
I Love Your Posts!

When Facebook Becomes Fakebook
I have created my first (of many?) fake friend on Facebook, just for giggles
Someone showed me where (Yahoo) I could open an e-mail account for him where he wouldn't have the Catch-22 of needing an existing (primary) e-mail address.
He is based upon the kid who sat to my right in 8th grade, and will have his personality as he comments upon my posts (and likes them all, of course).
It should be fun; and maybe get me used to the idea of having a nom de plume.
I will flesh out his profile before inviting my real friends to friend him.
I can remember my entire 8th grade class as well as remember where they all sat. 
The desks were arranged in a circle tracing the perimeter of the room, with "tables" of 4 interspersed here and there. 
Therefore, it would be easy to use their names, along with easy to reconstruct passwords (based upon the names and a number code derived from them) and have 25 figments of my imagination someday.
A problem might arise because; though no existing e-mail address is needed to register a new account; a mobile phone number IS required.
Can all 25 figments share the same mobile phone without some red flag popping up at Google and Yahoo and Facebook...or NSA headquarters?
I'm not sure...let me ask my friend, Steve.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Can't Trust That Day...

It is Monday.

1 Year Ago Today:
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.
One year ago, I had just moved to the spot where I now sleep...
I woke up this morning, with about 10 bucks less than I had the day before.
The Guy Who Sits Next To You
I had played at the Lilly spot, but was beset by the appearance of Chris, who used to walk around Mobile, Alabama aimlessly (and I blogged about him 4 years ago) and he now walks aimlessly around New Orleans.
He had told me that he walked around all day in Mobile because often, people, who had come to see him as a fixture there, would stop and give him money or food or clothes, out of compassion.
I really believe that he is of the mind that people should see him in his condition and remunerate him.
It's like he is presenting himself as a test of where peoples hearts are; giving them a chance to do the right thing and support him. ...I'm going to walk the sidewalks all day and just see how many people have the compassion to give me things; seeing the condition I am in...
He never asks for anything, but will always accept anything; and do it without any outward showing of gratitude, as if you owed him the thing and now you and he are squared away; and why should he thank you for doing what you should have done as a decent human being.
I hardly made anything while Chris was sitting on the stoop next to me, mostly listening, but staring at my pack of cigarettes every time I took it out; and making the comment: "So, you're doing pretty well," after a few tips had eventually gone under the tiposaurus.
Busking Axiom #6
When someone is sitting on the stoop next to me; it looks like I already have a "customer" to many people (someone who has requested a song and then sat down to listen to it) and the tipping drops way off. After all it is like the song that somebody else played on the jukebox.
I endured him for a while and then scooped up my money and put it in my pocket (at which point he walked off in a huff without excusing himself) and took a break, only to return 15 minutes later after he was out of sight.
The History Of Chris, The Guy Who Walks Around
He is the guy that got me thrown out of a hotel room which Alan from Las Vegas was letting me crash at in Mobile, under the stipulation that I bring absolutely nobody there.
Alan was passed out on the bed and I had run into Chris on my way there to microwave some haddock and broccoli, and invited him to share it after he mentioned that he was "starving" because he had missed the free "feeding" that evening in the park.
In hindsight, I think that he slipped into that condition upon noticing the bag of food which I was carrying.
When we got to the hotel, I was going to have Chris wait outside (to honor Alans wishes) and was going to cook the food and then carry it out there where we would eat.
Alan was well passed out and had his head covered in blankets, and I relented, thinking that it would be alright if Chris came in (as long as he was quiet) and ate along with me.
Well, to make a long story short (and this is in a blog post way back), Chris ran into Alan from Las Vegas, later on that evening after the latter had come out of his stupor and was headed to the liquor store for more vodka.
Chris inexplicably told him that I had invited him to his room and that we had eaten and then thanked the guy for his hospitality, or words to that effect.
When I returned to the room I was thrown out onto the street after being berated with "I TOLD you NOT to bring anybody here, what part of that don't you understand?!?"
That still sits with me when it comes to Chris from Mobile.
Along with the memory of him making a sour face and pushing the broccoli to one side of his plate without any kind of "I'm sorry, I don't like broccoli" as if I had given him a pretty good meal for free to relieve him of his "starvation;" but I could have done better.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ukranians Stop Fighting Long Enough To Read This Blog

United States
United Kingdom
3 Saturday began with me sneaking out from under the wharf in broad daylight, as usual.
The trumpet player whom I have been hearing every morning was playing about 100 yards down the Riverwalk.
I sat on a bench and tuned to his key of E-flat and had soon learned about 3 of his songs by playing along.
Some day soon, especially if I get and amp, I will jam with him.
I then walked to the library only to discover that it had closed at 2 p.m. because of the Mardi Gras parade schedule which has commenced.
I went to the Lilly Spot, where I found out that the other 3 of Lillys pets (a black guy who dresses flamboyantly and plays a ukelee, along with a girl who sings; usually in a sun dress, and another guy who sings and is a Rainbow Child) were not there.

30 Dollar Saturday
5 Sets Of Music
I gradually unfolded my stuff; but had only unpacked half way; no signs or piggy banks or tiposauruses; when I started to play and actually was getting into it.
A girl accelerated toward me starting from a distance of about 20 yards and plopped a 10 dollar bill on my lap when I was playing "Golden Slumbers," by The Beatles.
I wound up leaving, and then returning, about 5 times throughout the course of the night, eventually knocking off at about 1 a.m. with 33 bucks in my pocket and headed towards Rouses Market.
Driftwood Fire
I found fresh chicken, along with the types of slabs of meat which are the byproducts of butchers who hack away at a side of beef, but are not so fastidious as to carve the fillet mignon right to the bone. In order to avoid fat, they err on the side of caution.
And, of course the rest of the homeless pass that whole bag over in their search for things which can be scarfed down immediately.
I seriously considered spending 8 bucks on a bag of Kingsford Instant-Light briquets; and then whimped out...I'll walk the embankment and pick up enough driftwood for a good fire and will just build it gradually and keep the smoke down....
I had a very good meal, having added fresh tabbouleh, olive oil, garlic and some hot salsa which I needed to use up. I still have turkey bacon and some uncooked meat up on the girders, keeping in the 55-65 degree range.
I awoke to the sound of heavy rain pelting the river in the early hours of the morning.
I decided to lay there and read after the Natchez left and stopped blocking so much light.
I read and wrote and did some house(less)-keeping, until the boat came back in.
It was still pouring and now a fog had drifted in. I could hardly see them; and so....
Then, I discovered something which might be a good thing for me.
The on board jazz band, The Dukes of Dixieland began playing.
They began playing "New Orleans Style Jazz."
Since I was already tuned to the "horn" key of E flat, I was able to play along with them for more than an hour and discover a lot of interesting things about how that kind of music is put together.
I thought that this might be a good thing for me to do each afternoon. Soon, I would know pieces of their repertoire; since, like the trumpet player, they too are unable to escape doing the same certain songs which a shallow audience will inevitably request.
"Wonderful World," by Louis Armstrong and "When The Saints Go Marching In," are no-brainers.
Soon, I will have the former worked out in the key of E-flat and then can play along, trying to catch the extended harmonies and work them into my arrangement and move one step closer to being able to play authentic, big-time, professional New Orleans Style Jazz..
It is Sunday and the rain finally stopped falling at about 4 p.m.
It is 6 p.m. now.
I need a case for my guitar and the 33 dollars are burning a hole in my pocket....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

30 Dollar Friday

8 Dollar Thursday
Thursday just never really fell into place as far as being in the right place at the right time playing the right song in the right key at the right tempo at the right volume and the "positive" which I took from it was the one 5 dollar tip which I got across the street from the Hotel Monteleone when I was not only playing originals, I was composing them i.e. making them up as I went along.
I was singing a song called "Monsters" which is about the way that I perceived my fellow classmates in Catholic High School at times...ready to compete with me for scholarships and then try to outdo me in college and then in the real world...all the while dressed impeccably.
"Monsters to the left of me monsters to the right...dressed impeccably...."
Then, I made about 30 bucks last night.
The Indiana sounds good....

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Working On A Case

Vengeance Is Mine
The 20 Dollar Tip
Autographed By Sal Geloso

Tuesday night, I played at the Lilly Spot with the new Indiana Scout guitar.
Its full, loud sound has pushed me to do a lot more full and loud types of songs.
I just need to get a case for it.
Soon a young guy was sitting on the stoop next to me and threw me a few dollars, and requested Neil Young songs.
I played my "best" two, "Hey, Hey, My, My," and "Heart of Gold," but wished I could have played the first track off of the album "Harvest," which I love, but haven't learned yet...
The Virtues Of The Lilly Spot
He asked me if the Lilly spot was a good tip spot, and I described the nature of the spot: quiet, good acoustics; people able to hear subtleties (like the lyrics) ...people having just completed the very last stop after walking the length of Bourbon Street at Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern -the oldest continually running bar in America- and being on their way back to their hotel, knowing how much money they have left in their pockets, and people being, for the most part, drunk...

After extolling all these virtues; I went on to say that it was people just like him, frankly; the ones who would sit down and talk and want to hear my life story; who have been my "bread and butter" there.
True to form, he threw me a 20 dollar bill, making up the bulk of the 31 dollars that I made the second night playing the Indiana Scout. 
Last Outpost For Buskers (Lilly stoop behind carriage)

Trying To Make A Case For Myself
The Scout was also given to me without a case.
This cause me to immediately find paperclips to rivet the straps to the pegs, so that it won't detach and fall off me.
This also makes for a lot more impromptu playing, as people are more prone to say "Let's hear something; I've got a few dollars," when the guitar is uncovered.
This also makes for a lot more crazy-eyed crackhead looking guys staring at it hungrily.  
When you're carrying a case, they have no idea what is inside; it could be laundry. When the guitar is in plain sight; it is similar to when a child (or a skeezer of like mentality) sees a candy bar and all he wants is a candy bar more than anything in the world and, a lot more than he did before he saw a candy bar...
I Am Ripped Off For 5 Dollars
I had drifted in the general direction of Canal Street after having made the 31 dollars by 9 p.m.
I checked the lottery number and grabbed a beer at The Unique Boutique, which now has its liquor license reinstated after a 90 day suspension (it was suspended because they were only charging a dollar per beer; that was not enough, for some reason).
I decided to get a 5 dollar sack of weed and went to that part of town where some young kids whom I had never dealt with before ripped me off for the 5 dollars.
I was pretty sure that they were friends of the young kid whom I usually deal with. 
That kid probably had put them up to it. He may have needed a bit more money to re-up his inventory; and didn't want to besmirch his brand by ripping me off in person. He has a franchise to think about.
I say all this in hindsight, because the following afternoon, I encountered the guy whom I usually deal with; who asked me if I was "straight," to which I hesitatingly replied that I had been ripped off for 5 bucks the past evening and so I was being careful.
He immediately responded by urging me to take a walk with him, around the corner.
He didn't ask me to describe the young guy (with his girlfriend) who had walked off with my money; making me further believe that he was privy to it.
Normally, anyone who sullies the reputation of a fine block such as that one on Canal Street where they pride themselves upon having "New Orleans" quality weed, and where they hence, don't need to rip people off; is run off in quick order.
Well, we went around the corner and the young guy, whom I have dealt with frequently, sat down on the rim a a huge concrete plant bed.
He produced his mother sack and told me to hold my hand out.
This meant that he was going to "bless" me with an amount larger than the pre-packaged 5 dollar sacks which "everybody else" gets. This further fueled my speculation that he had been in on the rip off. It seemed like he was making up for it, to a degree.
I had forgiven the two thieves (and my sins in turn are forgiven) and I harbored no malice toward the young guy; especially after he blessed me with a good handful of buds; but: -"Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord."
No sooner had the guy handed me the bud; and I had dropped the 5 dollars nonchalantly at my feet (so that no "exchange" would be made for the benefit of cameras) when he hollered "Oh, s**t!!" and jumped up.
There, right where he had been sitting swarmed about 27,540 ants.
As I watched him frantically splapping his own butt, attempting to swat them like mosquitoes (I would have rather tried to brush them off) I couldn't help thinking "Bad boy for ripping off Danie!" 
He wasn't even thinking about the 5 dollars still on the sidewalk as he dipped into a little stairwell, a bit more secluded, from out of which issued forth the sounds of him spanking his own bare butt.
Bad boy!

A Gift Of A Guitar (final draft)

Come see me tomorrow;
I've got something for you..
. The overwhelming support which I have received from the New Orleans street musicians after having my guitar stolen was, quite frankly, overwhelming...
I had originally wondered if this were not a test of my character and would I would have to experience what it is like to start "all over" with absolutely nothing and have to pull myself up by my bootstraps by the sweat of my brow and to learn to appreciate everything I acquire because of how hard I worked for it...
I thought about what the appropriate strategy would be if I were a stranger in a strange city -like if I fell from space (without a guitar) and landed somewhere near Cleveland- and had to do everything through my own volition. 

What would I do?
Then, I realized that I had already done all of that; a few times over, even. How soon I forget..
I was NOT all alone in a strange city (well, I should specify: "unfamiliar" city...NOLA is strange as f*** no matter how long you've been here)
I decided that I would tell everyone I met about my ax being stolen.

"You'll Get Another Guitar."

I'll keep and eye out...
They, in turn, were all very supportive; whether with an encouraging word "You'll get another guitar" (OK, 4 encouraging words) -The Hokum High Rollers 

Or with additional encouraging words: "I'll keep an eye out for someone who might let you pay in installments for one" -Paul , of Doreens's Jazz Band, 

Or with no noticeable outward reaction at all, but with an internal tacit prayer to The Great Music Spirit -Tanya and Dorise ...let us just let that sink in and we'll see what transpires....
Or with a 5 dollar bill here and there because they knew I was out of work -Brian Hudson; or with an offer to let me borrow a guitar -Christina Friis, and ultimately with the gift of a guitar from a guy -Bilal- who, a year ago told me not to worry about anything in New Orleans because I had "some good friends," even though I had only run into that particular friend a few times hence.
I was standing at the doorway of the very angel who was in the process of lending me her guitar when Bilal was 45 minutes tardy of the time that he said that he would meet me; when up walked the latter, who handed me the one that I now have (see below) which plays better than the one which was stolen.

It is humbling to think that somehow through accident or otherwise, these fellow musicians have come to appreciate me enough to be willing to help me out.

These really are some of the best musicians on the planet...(freaks that can play 4 guitars at the same time if they take off their shoes notwithstanding).

Fear Of Flying
I really had misgivings about sitting on Bourbon Street "flying" the cardboard sign: "They stole my guitar, help me!" 

But, don't think I wouldn't have...after enough whiskey...
It might be that these other musicians are thinking: "We need variety here; diversity; we need a balance; musicians that totally suck are part of that balance; let's keep this guy going..."

"Can you use 5 bucks?"
"Do You Want To Borrow My Guitar?"

The Indiana Scout; in the same color as my sleeping bag...
More Cosmic Stuff
Signed By Sal
After Bilal had handed me the blue guitar, halfway between where Brian Hudson was playing on the corner, and where Christina Friis resides down a street, he apologized about the flat top being "marred " by two autographs.
One of them was from Salvatore Geloso, who is one of my favorite street performers who come through here once in a while.
It had always slipped my mind to ask Sal his last name, when I hung out listening to him on a resonator type guitar; playing along with an excellent upright bassist named Josh (I think), so I could never Youtube him or post pictures of him etc.
Well, his last name came to me with the guitar.
"Sal is one of my favorite musicians, I don't mind his autograph (adorned with a drawing of a woman) on my guitar," I told Bilal.
So, the cosmic thing...
I'll get to it.
First; Christina seemed to heave a sigh of relief as I returned to her doorway with the guitar and said "I guess I won't need to borrow yours."
She was almost being too nice, I thought.
I wondered about at which point I would return the guitar to her; and it seemed that it would have to be a daily struggle to ensure that the guitar was in the right place at the right time.
What if I only made 2 bucks the first night with it?
13 Dollar Monday
I probably would have made 13 bucks with it that first night.
31 Dollar Tuesday
And then 31 the second night, because that is what I made with the Indiana Scout (as that is the brand name of the blue guitar).
I would have ostensibly been playing my ass off on her guitar while saving up as fast as I could* for one of my own.
*cheap beer
So, I heaved a sigh of relief too, even as I was wondering just what kind of guitar was in her case, and if it would sound even better than the Indiana...
I Save Christinas Amp
It seems that I had inadvertently saved Christinas amplifier from possible theft the other night; when she must have just gone into her apartment and gotten involved in watching a movie or something and forgotten that her amp was still sitting on the sidewalk.
As I had walked up that night, I inspected that amplifier.
It was a nice rechargeable Crate Street Cube.
I didn't know that she lived there.
I said something about it to a semi well dressed man who was milling about; I think he was from one of the nearby businesses.
"I don't know, It's been there for about an hour..." he said...
The thieves probably thought that it was surely being watched, or that it was bait left there by the police to entrap them.
I left a note with my phone number and walked off with the amp; but not very far.
Brian, who was at the next corner, recognized it as her amp and took it off my hands.
Christina may have felt indebted to me to some degree because of that; but the point became mute after Bilal gave me the Indiana Scout. 
Autograph On My Guitar

The Cosmic Thing
Along with apologizing for the autographs on the guitar, Bilal also lamented that it was missing its top two strings, as it was.
When I walked to the corner with the guitar; Brian Hudson was there. He informed me that he had those very two strings in his case and that I could have them.
He had changed strings -except for those two. "I just didn't think that I would break either of them..."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Community Rallies Around Me

...Up walked Balil, the curator of the "Galerie de art Francais(sp?)" gallery
He is the one who had told me a while ago that I wasn't going to have any problems in NOLA because I was "connected" to some powerful friends.
I had run into him outside his gallery smoking a cigarette and I told him about my guitar being stolen and how it had happened and closed with "I'm looking for someone who can let me make payments on, like, a $100 guitar." in response to his asking me "How's it going?"
He said: "See me tomorrow, because I've got something for you."
He walked off.
Dorise said: "There you go, Daniel.."

"Do you think he has a guitar for me?" I mused aloud; almost thinking that it would be too good to be true.
Dorise nodded her head in a way which implied that Bilal is money in the bank.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Yamaha Stolen

  • Repaired Guitar Plays Better
  • Repaired Guitar Stolen
  • Natchez Returns

After having let my guitar sit for 24 hours to let the glued neck set, I strung it with new strings and gradually tuned it up to pitch and it played better than it had been playing; though I only wound up making about 10 bucks.
There is a new duo of resonator guitar and mandolin in town who play uptempo bluegrass type stuff.
They were set up about a block down from Lillys stoops after midnight.
After I took a break and then returned, they had moved even closer and were in front of the stoop of the Lawyer who had asked me to move about a year ago and who has come out and run other musicians off since then.
He must not have been home, or he may have been giving them about a half hour of grace before coming out and running them off, or maybe he loves bluegrass.
They had a small crowd around them, mostly female, who were enthusiastically complementing them "You guys are SO good!" and throwing them who knows how many 20 dollar bills, until the boyfriends of the girls, who had wandered away, returned and just about dragged them away.
Their uptempo Bluegrass was a stark contrast to my more Pink Floyd type vibe, but the leads that the mandolin was playing weren't much different from what Jerry Garcia might have played.
They had a Gibson guitar and an expensive mandolin; both of which looked new.
That style of music seems to be in high demand. I recognized most of their music from every other band like them that has come around. I think they teach each other a set repertoire, so that musicians can be interchangeable. There are the "12 Bluegrass songs that every Bluegrass player should know," written somewhere.
Guitar Stolen
Then, at about 1:30 a.m. I stopped at Rouses Market.
I put my pack down and leaned my guitar against the wall, and in the time it took me to shine my flashlight in the bins and pull out a couple items, it had disappeared.
Still there was my pack and the drink which I had placed next to it and a young black guy, whom I have seen before, who was standing there with the tell-tale smirk on his face.
He was surely anticipating enjoying my reaction to finding my guitar gone, but I didn't give him the satisfaction.
I knew that it would be wasting my breath (and giving someone more time to distance themselves from the scene) to even speak to him.
I acted as if there never had been a guitar there.
It seems like those types want you to know that they just ripped you off; and are ready to become belligerent at any insinuation to that point; and looking to rub salt in the wound...what are you gonna do about it?
Had I confronted the young black guy, then I would have had to do so with one eye on my backpack; because once the floodgates are open; and they can smell blood in the water; then it can turn in a free for all.
I just picked up what stuff I had and walked off thinking "I'll have another guitar not long after you've spent the 20 bucks that you'll get for this one."
And thinking about someone trying to pawn the thing with its neck obviously having been broken and then repaired.
And thinking about how my own neck has been stiff lately and I have been having numbness in one or the other hand or arm, based upon my sleeping position, and how it has kind of been mirrored by the guitar.
"You can't speak?" is what it sounded like the young black guy said to me as I walked past him.
My lack of response was probably unsettling to him.
I wished I could have pulled out a small electronic device and pressed a red button on it and us heard the sound of an explosion coming from near Jackson Square.
Then I could have stood there with a smirk on my face...what are you gonna do about it?
So, this (Saturday) morning, I woke up to discover that the Natchez is back at the dock.
I had to sneak out of there.
How To Get Another Guitar
My plan is to
A: Tell "everybody" about the theft.
I have already told the Hokum High Rollers, whom I had just shown the repair job to the day before, and who would hence, recognize the guitar "...oh, it's still in the Quarter somewhere" said their guitarist, and then added "That's my biggest fear; that my guitar will get can have everything else, my money my other valuables, just leave me my guitar!" He plays a $2,000 resonator.
"You'll get another one," he said.
I have told Brian Hudson, who asked me how much money I had.
"About 21 bucks."
"What happened to the 200 you made last weekend?"
"I bought patchouli oil for 8 bucks, I bought a bag of Kingsford instant light briquettes for 8 bucks, I was out of work for a day while the glue set; I was out of work 3 days before that which were too cold to even let glue set; I spent about 12 bucks a day on cigarettes and beer; I got a new tiposaurus, plus some African hair conditioner and..."
"Yeah, I can see how 200 bucks can whittle away in a week," he admitted.
I told Tanya and Dorise, whose reaction was sympathetic but who were at the time busy with selling a bunch of CDs and were negotiating with, or making change for, people.
And that is who I have told so far.
B: Try to find a guitar that I can rent from someone for a set fee each night, until such a time that I can pick up another one at a pawn shop; or until such a time that I own the one that they are renting to me.
C: Ask Tanya and Dorise if they would lend me the money (and give me a ride) to get one at Guitar Center.
This seems like something that Tanya might do, as the Chinese seem to measure "true wealth," to a degree, in terms of who they can benefit charitably. Howard said that, when he was in China, rich families would order way too much food in restaurants and not even come close to consuming it all, as a way to show all that they had money to spare.
D: Find a suitable guitar somewhere and then, basically go around passing a hat, telling all my friends just how much more I need at that particular point to get it; and promising to pay them back.

"Dorise has all kinds of instruments," Brian had said.
E: Make a sign to sit on Bourbon Street with which might read "They stole my guitar; anything helps!" or any other clever thing that I might come up with.
F: Go on Facebook and my blog and call my mom and my brother and try to get some money wired.
Who Are My Friends?
It might just take some time and a little bit of faith that someone will come upon a guitar and think "I know just who could use this!"
There is supposedly a place called Tipitinas which is a foundation which could give me a guitar, as they support "artists."
And, one of the preachers from Vieaux Carre Baptist church, after I told him about the repair that I had made when I ran into him on my way to play and added "Now, I will see if it will hold!" answered me "If it doesn't; let me know..."
That's interesting, too.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Fix

  • Good Weather Here Again
  • Money Halved
  • My Own Guitar Repair Solution
I woke up this Thursday morning and could feel that the temperatures had risen into the 50's by sunup.
Before that, I had spent a rather fitful night, trying to sleep and noticing that the rats, when not fed very much food by me at all, become pains in the neck.
They rattle the empty tin foil tins incessantly. I believe that they may have terrible memories and will re-check the same tins for food over and over and over. They also nudge me or climb up upon my back, seemingly wanting me to feed them. I have no idea how the generations of homeless people who have slept under there, going back into the 70's have conditioned those generations of rats, going back into the 70's to act, but they seem almost domesticated, at times.
They are not, as I have reported, those New York sewer rat species, nor that wharf rat genus, nor river rat Philis. They seem to be like the South American swimming type rats that were plentiful in a certain pond behind a certain Winn Dixie in Jacksonville, Florida.
Supposedly  those had hopped off the trains which had come from Miami and which stop there, which they had boarded there after having jumped off of ships which had come from South America.
It wouldn't be hard to imagine how similar animals could have wound up here in the port city of New Orleans; especially if word spread throughout South American rat-dom that they can eat pretty well here for free...
Wax Sentry
I came upon a box full of candles in glasses sitting by a trash bin, the other day. All of the glasses were cracked to some degree, but there was a lot of wax to be had.
I grabbed one and have been sleeping with it lit like a night-light the past couple of nights. I am able to place it between food items and the way which the rats mount the particular girder, and it acts as a barrier which they haven't yet crossed. Last night all my leftovers were undisturbed behind the candle.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

3 Days Out Of Work

  • A Rat Rips My Face Open
  • Guitar Repair
  • Rained Out Wednesday

  • This morning, I woke up at about 6 a.m.
Should This Not Be Priority #1??
This is typically the time that the rats become frenzied, probably due to their sensing that the sun is about to rise and that their nocturnal asses have just one last opportunity to grab whatever they can before descending into their lairs, which are probably 20 below where I sleep.
It is probably lined with Rouses Market plastic bags and Styrofoam, and they may just be using that knit glove which just disappeared from me as a "welcome mat" which they wipe the mud off their feet onto.
Fixing My Neck
Yesterday, I got on the #5 bus for $1.25 and went all the way to Webbs Bywater Music store, where I learned that I should have called ahead before going; because I also learned that Paul is off on Tuesdays.
I decided to walk back into the Quarter to save another $1.25, and because it is really only about a 2 mile walk.
I would feel like a wimp if I couldn't handle a 2 mile walk.
The weather was poised to turn nasty. Other people read the forecasts and believed them.
When I went into Rouses Market to buy spaghetti and sauce and water, Treva the cashier raised her eyebrows. The implication was: How is Daniel able to cook spaghetti?

I went under the dock.
One of the big rats and a tiny one were asleep inside my sleeping bag, which I had laid out like a made bed.
They lethargically moved out after I peeled back the covers and shone my light upon them; so slowly that I was able to pet the big one.
I cooked an excellent meal, consisting of the above ingredients, with hot sauce and sesame oil and olive oil and salt and pepper and pickles with its juice added.
It took a long time for the 40 degree water to come to a boil; so long that I foraged for driftwood and added it to the fire at the risk of attracting the law with my smoke.
It was such a good meal that I ate it all, leaving nothing for the rats.
I did give them a few scraps of things, but not much.
At one point in the night, one of them was going about nudging my face; in an attempt to get me to throw more food, and that woke me up and, when I moved my arm, the rat, fearing that my arm was something entirely alien from me which was coming toward it; decided to bolt; and its escape plan was to jump over my head and go that way.

So, it dug a claw into my forehead, just above the eyebrow and catapulted itself to safety, away from my arm.
A few moments later, I felt my forehead and the familiar sticky liquid of blood was apparent.
I thought about it and decided that these rats, who love me enough to want to sleep in the warmth of my bag and inhale my scent were not to blame for anything.
What I figure is that, this rat had torn into the food which I had thrown them, mostly things that I am allergic to, or intollerant of, like cheese. Then, the accident which occurred actually resulted in myself becoming vaccinated against the allergens.
It had cheddar cheese all over its claws and it sunk one into me and vaccinated me against my allergy to cool is that?
Or, if it had gotten into any garlic; an immunity boosting shot it did give me.
Kill Them Anyways??
Still, the idea of getting rat traps crossed my mind. The only thing is, that if I set enough of them, they would be going off like popcorn popping and I would probably have a dead pile of them to throw to the catfish in the river.
Plus, as soon as the weather improves I won't have to sleep there out of necessity.
Plus, I have a Unity caseworker who is supposedly working to get me housing...I seldom see him, though.
Miserable Weather
During that Tuesday night, into Wednesday (yesterday) morning, rain poured down very hard.
It was barely above freezing and there was wind.
I totally understood why Treva the cashier might wonder how I was going to be able to cook spaghetti under those conditions.
None of the above I felt, except for a tiny bit of splashing from the rainwater coming down the drainpipe from the dock so hard that it was splashing droplets as far as where I lay 8 feet away.
I had to reposition a couple rocks to deflect it elsewhere.
The wind, I was out of, up high enough under the wharf.
And the cold was no match for my sleeping bag and blankets.
I was vexed upon hearing that Wednesday was forecast to get no higher than 45 degrees before plummeting to just above freezing.
I would have to basically repeat the previous day, by not busking, but rather cooking a meal over a fire and getting to sleep fairly early.