Thursday, May 29, 2014

1 Day Without Alcohol: Round 2 (added to Thursday p.m)

20 Days Of Drinking Enough
I Could Handle It Better, Back In The Day...
I don't have to hit rock bottom in order to push towards the surface...
I have zero dollars and zero cents in my pocket; and have terminated my latest experiment with drinking alcohol, on the 21st day.
The effects have been global. For starters:
  • I have drank and smoked weed and spent hours on this computer; often until it was too late to, and I had no fuel in the tank for, busking.
  • I had a 60 dollar and a 70 dollar night, before the diminishing returns of from drunkenness began to drag me down to the bottom and spin me around, like a crocodile to its prey.
  • I could have hit it off better with Rick, from Austin, who had been 8 months sober, and who wasn't amused by and had to tolerate my disposition; and we could have started a band.
  • I could have lost my guitar one night when I leaned it against the wall behind the Rouses Market trash cans, foraged for food; walked off with the food, but not the guitar, and only realized my mistake (I feel lighter for some reason) a block down the street and around the corner.
  • I cut short several busking sessions after I started slurring my vocals; and was visited by negative thoughts like: "These people are cheap; I''m not playing for them!" when the very next group to come along might have been the 50 dollar tip group.
  • I became rude and cantankerous with rude and cantankerous drunken skeezers; which could have lead to a physical confrontation in which my guitar would have become their target (as that represents to them what makes me think that I am better than them).
  • I have walked the Quarter "one last time" looking for abandoned drinks, telling myself (out loud even) "Why am I doing this; I'm already drunk!" at hours when the only skeezers that aren't already passed out drunk are wide awake on crack and in the mood to follow someone to find out where he sleeps; desperate for more crack.
  • I didn't read a page of Charles Dickens the whole time, nor improve upon any of my original songs.
  • The few initial recordings that I have made speak for themselves; broken by pauses when I forgot what song I was doing.
  • I found myself under the dock without candles, water, or a means to cook food that I had wasted time gathering. The crabs at the bottom of the river: "It wasn't a waste of time at all, Daniel!"
  • I have woken up too late to make it to the food stamp office to hound them about turning my card back on.
  •  I have started days off with a pint of vodka mixed with my energy drink, after having concluded that that hadn't been a good idea the day before.
  • It has taken me longer to tune my guitar.
  • The money spent on booze has not been a substitute for, but has rather increased the money spent upon other things; more cigarettes, more weed
  • Mostly, though, I haven't been able to improvise anything to the delight of any tourists; and have "ended" a lot of songs with: "Ooops, sorry. I'm still working on that one..."
Demoted To Non Drinker

Mood Is What Matters
It seems premature to say that I feel better already; but, by the time I was sober at 3a.m. this morning, reading Dickens by candlelight; after taking a couple bites off of some "liver cheese" (which tastes like the food that billionaires might feed their cats; but I think I needed the iron) I felt great. In my mood, especially.
Even the rats seemed in a good mood, as if they had gotten the sober Daniel back, who would sit up reading and drinking coffee; and who left them a generous pad of liver cheese along with bananas for the mice. The biggest one came to sniff my hand, as I read, which I think is a universal sign in the animal kingdom which means: "Can we have some more liver cheese?"
I had found about 5 pounds of bananas, a couple apples, a couple bags of salad mix; a tin of some other kind of expensive cheese, and had water and a jar of yogurt salad dressing; in a canola oil base; no soy) after having sat out of the rain at the Lilly spot and not made a penny; not even off of someone who could see that I was out of business.

"Some weather we're having!" said Lilly, when she arrived, chaperoning Chantilly, before snapping her umbrella shut and slipping through the gate.
It is raining again now, at 8 p.m. Wednesday. I could think that God is completing my withdrawals so that, when I do make my first dollar, it won't be going into the cash register at The Unique Boutique.
Some History (and now, for something completely different)
    One of my old playing spots, St. Augustine, Florida circa 2009

    Feature: My "All Time" Most Read Posts
    18 Oct 2012
    10 Oct 2012, 3 comments
    11 May 2012, 2 comments
    The one that makes the most "sense" above, would be the one about the coldest night of the year, as I can imagine people wondering if they should pack a heavy sweater for their trip to see Mardi Gras...
    The other ones were gotten to through people clicking upon pictures that they Googled, the same way that I acquired them, such as the one of Jack Johnson, which is linked directly to the post (I could have saved it to my hard drive and then loaded it from there, and it would become free standing as part of the blog and wouldn't be gotten to by people who Google Jack, specifically.
    The Troll Under The Bridge
    The latter method is, I believe a device of what is called "trolling," and is the reason that I had my whole blog deleted in 2009, losing me almost 3 years of "work," [if that is what you want to call what I do here LOL!]).
    That time, I had written a piece about all of the artists whom I cover with my music, posting stock photos linked directly to Google which got millions of hits per year -and mentioning Brittany Spears and a wax likeness of her in a museum window in front of which I played "Hit Me Baby, One More Time," in Saint Augustine, Florida, as a gimmick.
    The mention of the "Queen Of Internet Searches" and all the potential traffic she was drawing to my blog (even though my blog wasn't a vehicle for inundating people with pop-up adds or planting spyware on their systems) was just too much for some watchdog group at Blogger.
    Add to that my reference to John Lennon with the 20th anniversary of his death on the horizon; and my whole blog was removed.
    Ooops, I've Done It Again...

    When I tried to contact the group (under the "If you feel your blog was removed unjustly..." head) desperately trying to restore the blog; they thought I was trolling them! trolling the troll watchdog group!!-they even had a name for me "he used to go by 'Nite Cruzer (it was more Middle Eastern sounding than that, but it escapes my memory)' but now he is 'Daniel McKenna,' and an inveterate troll!!" he posted words to the effect of in their forum; and cautioned the other group members with "he is after us, that is what he is after) and threatened to scour the web for any other place that I had posted, and shut me down there, too.
    I really didn't know enough about trolls then, and still don't; but my messages to them saying "Please -I don't even know what a troll is!" seemed to insult their intelligence and make them think that a troll was mocking them.
    I started a new "thread" on their forum, which struck them as something, either odd, unconventional, amateur; or maybe trollish.*

    It's very possible that he got his trolls mixed up; or that the real troll used the computer at the homeless place as his weapon (..I don't know, if any one of them not-referred-to-by-me-as-skeezers-yet who sat around that place thrice daily were intelligent enough to run a web based scam off of that computer next to the bookshelves of paperbacks -some of them not bad.
    Unless she was very theatrical and could play "the brain-dead moron."
    Although, there was one guy named Worley, who was from West Rutland, Vermont, which is the very same town of 2,000 people where my grandparents on my mothers side, along with just about all their resultant cousins, aunts and uncles etc. lived.
    This was seemingly a great coincidence, finding someone from a town of 2,000 people that was about 1,000 miles away.
    Since it was a  town that our family had made the 120 mile trip to periodically, as I was growing up; as well as a town where each one of the 2,000 knew the other 1,999; I decided to quiz Mr. W. on the topic of West Rutland, and he was able to nail the name of the swimming hole, right down to the the Polish pronunciation Sabatkas, I believe it is spelled -pretty impressive, along with the name of the convenience store, and then the most Dickensian thing: he was in my cousin Sue's class (of 11) in high school.
    I could have called my long estranged kissing cousin and gotten the scoop on Mr. Worley, maybe asked her if she thought he had the potential to become a troll.
    He didn't seem to share my same astonishment over the magnitude of the coincidence, maybe because he was overtaken by the thought of: Oh, my, I've come 1,000 miles to Florida to get as far away from my hometown, where everybody knows everyone elses business (but in a good way , if you're a salt of the earth good Catholic) and here I was standing next to him; one phone call away from hearing his biography told...must have given him the willies.
    But, he spoke intelligently enough on other topics; and he had an interestingly shaped head; to make you think he is driven by some kind of passion -it was a Stephen King/Neil Young/Jack Nicholson (sp?) shape of cranium and, I'm not ruling out that he wasn't an Internet troll.

    *The spell check didn't flag it; so I guess it is a word.
    Free Computer Blues
    It all started when I blogged from an unprotected publicly available computer at the Saint Francis House homeless shelter in Saint Augustine. No password was required to log on -just wait for the people ahead of you to use up their half hours and turn it over- and for plenty of homeless people, the machine was their prime means of applying for food stamps and disability etc. and they were entering their names, social security numbers, dates of birth etc. and some hacker was having a field day -the already poor and already downtrodden huddled masses were getting letters purporting that they had already gotten and cashed their benefit Somalia, Africa, as a matter of fact; how could they have forgotten that?

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

    Blogging But Not Busking

    Another Night Spent On This Computer Instead Of Busking

    Wednesday morning, and my caseworker didn't call about my food stamps.
    I was in the office yesterday and they e-mailed her to call me.
    They can give me the run around and so they are; is that it?
    Maybe I need to call some kind of lawyer and discuss how sick my homeless and unemployed (though I am seeking work as evidenced by my having registered for the "Hire" program) ass has become from eating out of garbage bins, and schedule an appointment with a doctor who has frequently given expert testimony in tort cases; who will weigh me and conclude that I have been irrevocably harmed by having my food benefits cut off; and we can put an initial settlement amount on the table as a starting point...
     I am going to look into the program and maybe come up with some name that I can drop; like does the department have a "minister of food stamps," or someone; the mention of whose name would make the local office workers put their i-phones down for a minute to see what I want?

    Rain is in the forecast, which doesn't surprise me.
    I took time off to do other things; and now that I need to go out and play; it is going to rain.
    This is just a coincidence and has nothing to do with any evil forced bent upon my demise...
    Music Recording Woes
    I am still trying to download a program which will convert Audacity music files into mp3s which I can post on my page.
    \And, It seems like every free program that I install, winds up inserting stuff on my computer, taking it over.
    I have had adds popping up and telling me that it is "highly recommended" that I click and install a security fix; or a new Java....I don't know who is recommending this highly; I only know that my system slows down and acts quirky while all these boxes are popping up.
    Do I really need to wait 10 minutes (Windows is updating; don't shut off your computer!!) for updates to load onto my machine, when I have 30 seconds to unplug and exit Starbucks before they lock me in?
    Who composes these almost daily updates; and how full of holes is Windows if they have a new security flaw to deal with every other day?
    And are these even coming from Windows or Toshiba or Java or Norton Security, or from hackers who have learned how to exploit the 148 dollar Toshiba Satellites (Saving 60% on a laptop could cost you your priceless data; is it worth it??)

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

    The Hunter

    The Hunger Drive Walk
    I;m number 83! I want to check on my food stamps!
    Like the hunter, driven by the quest for food; who rises without the aid of an alarm clock, following his instincts and in tune to the rhythm of his prey; I woke up a little after noon.
    And, as the hunter sharpens his arrows and his knife, smears his body with essential oils to mask his scent, and prepares to go out and stalk; I threw my laptop in my backpack, put on some deodorant; and headed toward the food stamp office.
    Driven by the most primitive need for food, I walked the mile and a half to that particular place and told them of my failure to have gotten my card turned on.
    They, once again sent an e-mail to my caseworker; who is once again supposed to call me; maybe tomorrow or who knows, she might, according to guidelines, have up to 72 hours to call me;; or more. Giving me time to either give up; starve to death; or get a well paying job in the meantime; saving state money.
     After leaving the food stamp office, I went and charged my laptop at the spot rendered by myself in colorful pixels to the left.
    My excuse for it is that; I am still experimenting with the Paint program which comes free with Toshiba laptops; and I had to be there to charge my computer anyways; and so I was killing time.
    I screwed it up when I resized it; but it was the size of a postage stamp originally.
    After waking up Sunday morning with 70 bucks on me, and proceeding to Sydneys to spike a 1 dollar energy drink with 3 dollars worth of vodka and then to proceed to the music store to spend 6 bucks on strings; and then to the weed man to spend 5 bucks on herb; things have pretty much proceeded in kind.
    I have spent a lot of time on this computer; woke up the next morning with 44 dollars; and have hardly busked at all and woke up this morning with 24 dollars.
    It would be nice to be able to make 130 bucks again, Friday and Saturday and to have the freedom to do the same next week.
    I cannot yet download and install the necessary application to convert Audacity project files into usable/shareable mp3s. I seems like it is always something.
    The last site that I went to; to get the LAME program, as that is what it is called; hijacked my computer, changing the start-up page; giving me a search program which I never asked for and (can it really be as good as the Goliath, Google?) probably don't want.
    It also had a silly program wanting to clean my "registers" in order to speed up my computer.
    The ridiculous thing was reporting finding like 387 errors in my "registers" and asking me if I wanted to fix them for free with a click. I would say no and another box would pop up and tell me that "they" "highly recommend" that I fix my registry errors.
    If I like the increased speed of my computer after that free fix, then, for a small monthly fee I can...etc...
    How LAME is that?
    think of  that computer HAL from that movie: "This is highly unusual; you've never tried to shut me off before; I highly recommend that you keep me running; and, in fact, for your own good, I'm going to remain running regardless of what you do..." type of thing.
    The shit you have to deal with with a 160 dollar laptop, I guess.
    387 errors on a computer that I just took out of the box, sure...

    Time Off To Do This

    I promise to update and fluff out the personal bios in the sidebar, am looking forward to it; you characters...
    Better Recordings Already Exist
    I have begun to delete the crappy recordings off of my sidebar.
    I can't believe that I was in so much of a hurry to have music on my blog that I posted those songs...

    I think I will heat up some granola in water over the fire, with liberal amounts of real butter, added to the water; along with salt...
    Clear Sailing today!!
    Then, it will become like oatmeal, really.
    Food Stamp Lady Didn't Call
    The food stamp lady never called on this; supposedly her last day to do so.
    I cannot help but think that there is some "I never got the e-mail" involved here; and I will get my stamps; and they will have delayed me about 20 days along the way.
    I do not doubt that this is built in to the system.
    I have to make a special trip
    I guess I have to go to the office tomorrow and show persistence and maybe get them this time.
    I want olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, oatmeal, Bob Marley relaxation drinks, etc..

    I Am Working On Antother Story

    I'm going to work on a story which will be published within the next 2 years..

    Sunday, May 25, 2014

    In Rare Form

    • 57 Buck Friday
    • 60 Buck Saturday
    • 1 Dollar Sunday
    I guess that I am in rare form, having had a 57 dollar Friday, and then a 60 dollar Saturday...
    The First Noticeable Effects of Drinking Upon Me
    These are only estimates; as I am drinking again, but in moderation when playing, so as to promote 60 dollar nights.
    I continue to get complements on the harp playing, even as my 5 harmonicas have accumulated a collective 12 stuck notes, and the ones which aren't stuck are tonally challenged. The reeds are probably gummed with barley, hops, rice and pure mountain spring water.
    Last night, I had an instance of the-guy-who-just-started-playing-guitar-at-the-age-of-21, who, in adherence to an apparent trend, thought that I was amazing, and tipped often, and accordingly.
    It's the ones who throw another 5 dollar bill after each song which they like whom I need to come up with a snigglet for.
    When I got a 20, at one point, I said out loud: "Freedom!" and then went on to explain that there are a lot of things that I like to do, other than busking, which a generous tip affords the freedom to pursue.
    That being said, I now give you one of the worst pieces of art which I have ever rendered, and one upon which I squandered some of that freedom money.
    Don't even ask what that thing across the forehead is...
    It's a self portrait.
    It sucks.
    I started to experiment with the different "brushes" available with the Paint program which comes free with Wiindows.
    I learned by trial and (see drawing) error.
    There is promise there, and if I were to be taken on as a student by the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, I think there would be seen a drastic improvement in my brush technique.
    Alex The Caricaturist
    One thought that I am having is that Alex In California, a reader and most frequent commenter has offered to draw a CD cover or two, for me to use in the near future when I produce a CD.
    I posted the above in order to set the bar, so to speak, on the level of artistic merit that I would like any forthcoming caricature to achieve.
    Now I am off to try to find out about editing the mp3 files that I recorded at the Lilly spot, some of which might be worth posting as "demos."

    Saturday, May 24, 2014

    Friday Updated

    I get practically no sleep but get cleaned up and make about 40 bucks...
    I slept at the sign spot for probably about an hour all night.
    I finally cracked open the Monster Energy Drink by my head at around sunup, deciding to just stay up. I would be listening for the phone to ring from the food stamp lady who has me jumping through rings, herself.
    She is supposed to call just to tell me, I guess, weather or not my food card will be turned back on...or not.
    It's the "not" aspect which perplexes me...
    Ok, if your card IS going to be turned on then you will know by checking the balance on the morning of the day that they would turn it on, according to their procedures.
    If it is NOT going to be turned on, due to some glitch, you will know the same way; by checking the balance. In the latter case, you would be calling the caseworker, first thing in the morning.
    So, (and this is a big so) ...
    Why does the caseworker have to call you "within 2 business days" to tell you weather or not, at the end those 2 business days; your card will be turned on -which means everyone gets called, one way or another, when; only the people whose cards were NOT turned on would call in the latter case, to find out what is going on; cutting the number of calls down.
    I think that it is either A: This gives the caseworker 2 whole days to delay turning a card on, (further substantiated by the fact that mine did not call upon the first business (yester)day and will now have the whole weekend to not call, and this buys the state 2 more days, which saves them about 13 dollars. Those 13 dollars's add up...
    This is assuming that, if and when she calls on Monday, it won't be to inform me that my card will be turned on at some time in the future, saving the state more 13 dollers's...
    This gives me time to maybe get a job LOL), to perish by starvation; or to procrastinate with something like: "I really need to get back on their ass about my food stamps, I keep sleeping too late to call the lady; but f*** it, at least I'm finding some mad Styrofoams all over the place lately with some real killer gourmet!!!  as a mantra.*
    ...if, and when, she calls on Monday...

    This is saving the state a lot of money; and is only accomplished by putting the ball in the court of the food stamp applicant and making it incumbent upon them to act in some way to keep the process rolling. This really weeds a lot of nonfunctional-for-whatever-reason people out of the program.
    * For example.
    I had all my summer laundry hanging in the trees over my head Friday morning at the sign spot; and was able to get to the VA Center a little before 8, and put it in the laundry.
    I was  going to nap, but decided that the Veaux Carre Baptist Church, on Dauphine Street might have some clothes which I could change into after stepping out of a hot shower; and they did!
    I was soon stepping out onto Dauphine Street with "Steppin' Out" by Tony Bennet in my head and wearing clean kakkhis to go with a fine red tee shirt, a decently thick all-cotton fabric; with the logo of a cruise ship which goes to Italy on it; and rocking new socks.
    I blogged, grabbed my clean laundry from the VA, stashed the clean laundry in the sign spot trees, took a short nap, of the kind that Napolean used to (it is said that he didn't sleep like normal people, but rather in short naps, here and there; probably didn't want to miss any warfare...
    I wanted as light a pack as possible. The weight of the clothes might have been like "the straw which broke the laptops screen," of myth.
    Probably about 40 bucks was made tonight. I haven't counted yet. I got salads and yogurt and fresh mushrooms and bean sprouts, a loaf of bread, an apple, a tin of sushi, and that is about it.

    Wednesday night I made 22 bucks, or so, after having had nights of 9 and 6 bucks; um. on about 2 hours of playing each.
    Royal Street with an amp would have been better; but...
    Tonight, I knocked off at about the same time that a couple of young punks (whom I think are private school kids just trying to be punks) started being punks and insulting my intelligence by having pretenses toward thinking that I didn't think they were punks trying to steal money...

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    The Real Rick From Austin

    Pretty Darned Close (to art, that is..)
    The Real Rick From Austin
    Thurdsday, May 21st, 2014
    I send Rick off for Austin.
    This afternoon, at about 3:30 p.m., Rick emerged from under the dock, on his way to the Megabus stop, with a ticket for passage to Houston on his person, to go with a heavily laden backpack, a blue sleeping bag, the same shade as mine, and a blue guitar, the same shade as mine.
    His plan is to stop in Houston long enough to make an additional 7 dollars for a ticket to Austin, where he has lived for 18 years; he is 36.
    I told him that he had chanced to come to NOLA during the worst 4 day period that I have seen in 3 years, as far as tips were concerned.
    The weather has been really nice, though. "Austin is hot 9 months out of the year," he said.

    We exchanged Facebook names and phone numbers. I invited him to crash under the dock his last night here; or I should say, his last day here as, we were up until almost daylight, after I had busked for about 3 hours and made 6 dollars and 1 cent.
    A nice young couple from British Colombia, Canada had sat on Lillys stoop and chatted with me for at least one of the hours, effectively blocking the tip jar; but more accurately, giving the tourists, who have been stingy all week, a chance to slip by while I was preoccupied, with their wallets intact.
    John, as that was the guys name, eventually said that "Break On Through To The Other Side," by The Doors, was his favorite song, and so it may have seemed predestined that they stop and chat when they walked up and heard me playing "Light My Fire," by that same quartet. I could see them hesitate before sitting down; I had one dollar between the sharks after playing for about and hour; and at that point, I was ready to ask them for just 35 cents, so that I could get a 16 oz. Steel Reserve and call it a night.
    Megan, as that was the young ladies name, handed me a bill, which I thanked them for, without looking at, and stashed under the one that I had.
    It turned out to be a 5, which I appreciated them for; given that, in Canada, it would have been an 8 dollar and 43 cent bill (They had probably felt the "pinch" upon exchanging their Queen Elizabeths for George Washingtons; and this might be part of the reason the tourists seem so cheap this week -if they are mostly from Canada) [note to Great Britain: Send more Lidgleys with their pound notes LOL!].
    And the pack of smokes and one beer that I redeemed the 5 for for was priceless.
    This was after running into Rick From Austin, by Rouses Market on Royal Street. It looked like he had his own 6 dollars in his case, next to his cardboard sign which proclaimed "Texas bound."
    He had plenty of good weed, though; something which didn't come to light (excuse the pun) until after I had smoked the last of mine with him.
    He had gotten upset after I hadn't loaned him the 3 dollars which he needed in order to leave here today.
    He got it anyways, New Orleans style "...there's like a Spirit here..."
    He walked off, mad over the fact that I had proposed that we busk at the Lilly spot for a half hour to see if the 3 dollars materialized; rather than just hand it to him out of the 7 dollars which I had made at that point -I thought that that would be a character building opportunity and would bolster his confidence in his ability to make ends meet off of his music alone...just asking for it would be taking the easy way out. I always feel 100% better after I "get out there" and earn what I need, rather than hit someone up for a loan; and that has a lot to do with my attitude towards skeezers in general.
    But Rick marches to a different drummer (excuse the pun) and was probably more interested in ascertaining that he had found a true friend in me, one whom he was musically compatible with; had a "connection" with (not to mention a guitar and sleeping bag of the exact same colors) and who would value that friendship over 3 of his 7 dollars, especially given that he was in a bind and too proud to ask a stranger for money. It wouldn't be skeezing, in that case, given his nature and his circumstances, but the skeezee wouldn't know that.
    So, he had walked off angry; but then calmed down a bit and was at the point of forgiving me when, at the next corner, a lady walked over to him and handed him 2 dollars, then he was able to make the other one by playing; and is on the 4:45 p.m. Megabus bound for Houston as I type this.
    I called the customer service line and informed them that I had registered through and was thus, actively seeking employment in cyberspace, and my caseworker is supposed to call me, yet again, within the next 2 days...or on my 17th day without having any money on my card. There is some truth to the rumour that they make people jump through these hoops, counting upon some of them giving up; or passing away through starvation...
    Rick and I had grabbed a lot of food out of the Rouses Market trash at about 2 a.m., and took it to my spot when there was plenty of darkness left in the night to hide the smoke from the driftwood fire which I soon had going.
    He spoiled his appetite by eating a large chocolate fudge cake with M&Ms on the top and never got around to warming up the red beans and sausage over rice which he had been looking forward to.
    I threw it away this afternoon, having had my fill of a pork loin steak, simmered in vinegar and real butter and ("add a little bit of water," advised Rick, who is a cook; "It's called 'braizing' and some of the best steaks in the world are done that way...") water, with a huge kale caesar salad wilted on top with a few chopped up tomatoes.
    I felt great after eating it and was ready to do my pull ups and sit ups and exercises with heavy rocks; but then finished off the butter by applying it to a loaf of 9 grain bread, eating half and then falling asleep.
    I woke up with 2 dollars and 48 cents, as the drought continues.
    I am going to have to pack all my clothes and sleep at the sign spot, perhaps tomorrow night, so as to be in position to go to the VA Center, take a hot shower, get laundry done and pick up a hygiene kit which contains, most notably, a razor.
    I am pinning my hopes upon and warding off depression by thinking about emerging Friday with clean clothes on a clean body and with 189 dollars on my food card, so I won't have to risk getting dirty by digging through any trash for a night.
    Anything else which comes along would be a bonus.
    There is irony in the fact that, now would be a good time to travel and perhaps see family and friends in New England, because it is so dead here -so dead that one is hard-pressed to come up with any money to travel with, even though now would be such a good time to do so...
    I used up about a buck and a half in batteries for my spotlight, in making the 6 dollars and 1 cent last night; not to mention, brought my strings one day closer to death and put some more wear on the harmonica and sweated more into my nasty clothes.
    I could have been a glowing example to the skeezers of a man who is sensible and prudent enough to salt away money during the boon, in anticipation of times like these. I could be walking Bourbon Street in clean new clothes and shiney shoes, with a stylish haircut; smoking American Spirits and having better odds of making anything in these lean times by playing brand new Marine Band harps over shiny new strings.
    I had 208 dollars (more than half of them one dollar bills -comprising an obscene wad almost as thick as a brick) the day I bought this laptop and an mp3 player/recorder, etc. That brick could have greased my way through this past week...but maybe a lot of that would just be vanity and maybe the skeezers are proof against shining examples in general...
    These things might serve me better in the long run (I've become a "blogging fool" of late; for what THAT'S worth...and have captured audio of such things as Rick and I showcasing our musical compatibility) and it's probably not my commission to be whipping out an obscene wad of bills, in clean new clothes, but after too much drinking, and announcing: "See what you all could have if you can just kick that heroin habit!" to the Skeezers of Bourbon.
    Skeezer Magnet 
     This guy skeezed me just minutes ago.
    Coming upon me; he must have thought "What have I here?" I was at a spot where people go to smoke weed.
    "How's it going?" Scoping out my cigarette pack.
    "Great. Nobody's bothering me or asking for anything. I come here to get away from the bums..."
    Seeing my laptop: "Are you outdoors?" ...Do you pass out drunk anywhere with that next to you at night?
    "I've got a few places to crash..."
    "Do you smoke weed?" The spot where I was plugged in is littered with blunt wrappers; but wasn't a couple weeks ago when I plugged in my Android phone and hid it under the mulch; from where it disappeared within a couple hours.
    "I don't use illegal drugs, sir!" I said, firmly, leaving him room to think that I might be a cop or something.
    "I didn't even know there was a plug here", I couldn't have been the one who pocketed your Android phone a couple weeks ago; that is, if you even had one stolen...I don't know.
    I motioned to the outlet with my hand. There it is. An outlet. Now you know...
    "There's one over there, too," Why don't you go sit over there and admire that one...
    "What do you do with your music?"
    "I load it.up to my website." ...and I'm really busy right now, too...
    "How long does that take?" I knew what he was getting at; he was wondering if my mp3 player was some kind of expensive I-Phone device.
    He was now sitting close enough to me; uninvited; to be able to snatch the thing and run with it; and was actually looking around, as if to see if anyone was watching. Do these derelicts realize how transparent their motives are?!? It's the sociopaths who are oblivious to the feelings of others that give themselves away like that.
    I moved the thing into my pack and then took upon myself a "I'm really busy right now" attitude, and eventually he fell asleep (shown, courtesy of my mp3 player which is better at doing that than taking pictures).
    The laptop is a skeezer magnet. If a guitar on your back indicates that you are making money and can spare change and cigarettes; a laptop is a guitar on steroids...
    He was wearing "Not even considering working" flip-flops/pillows

    And so now, I have the laptop charged, along with the phone for the food stamp lady...some will give up; some will starve to death; others won't have their phone charged when the call comes in..sorry... and will sit outside PJs Coffee, drinking a McDonalds coffee (I have $1.96 left on a gift card) and posting this up quickly.
    Then, I will spend my last dollar on the first beer of the day and head towards the Lilly spot where I will start the sharks out with worthless tokens and shiny foreign coins and perhaps this will be a Wednesday night that will belie history and produce more than 7 or 8 dollars (I'm not sure that I wouldn't settle for the 7 dollars right now in leau of playing LOL!).
    Other than that, let me cut this short, if that is possible at this point...

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    I Meet Louise The Tarot Card Reader

    • Catch 22
    • Rick Goes Away Mad
    • 9 Dollar Monday

    I'm stressing over money as I sit here not making a cent; and blog instead; about stressing over money because I am sitting here not making a cent as I blog about not making a cent because I am not making a cent blogging about not making a cent because I am blogging about it instead of being out there trying to make a cent.
    Sometimes I think this blog gives me another mechanism by which to procrastinate; like being paralyzed by fear of going out and not making a cent.
    It's a Catch-22.
    Drinking alcohol is a factor.
    I don't really think that God, as I understand Her, is withdrawing all of the blessings of the past sober month, which I was quick to attribute to Her, because, if that were true, then she is punishing all of the other buskers citywide, as well as the skeezers...that's an awful lot of power to be wielding by cracking open a Hurricane.
    It is possible that my song choices have been more poorly decided; and, instead of feeling more in control and more facile as the night wears on and I gain a mental advantage over the intoxicated audience; I begin to fade right along with them; and once they reach the point where any sloppy little ditty will fascinate them; that is just about what they are getting out of me...with a capital "s."
    As far as the money spent on booze, it has just been shifted over from the Energy Drink Account and The Endowment For American Spirit Cigarettes and its ilk; so I'm not hurting myself there...
    As far as bathroom runs and the time taken to break down for which and then set back up after which; that is about even, too as I had been pounding a gallon of water at my spot.
    A Double-Whammy
    As far as waking up progressively more depressed in the mornings, there is a biochemical connection to the consumption of 48 to 64 ounces of a "depressant" each evening; but there is also a connection to the economy which, the last time I checked, is pretty much mirroring last years performance at this time.
    A year ago, my friend Ted, wired me 50 bucks from Boston, after a phone conversation that we had during which "It's been pretty dead here, lately," was probably uttered on my end.
    I picked a rough time to spend 160 bucks on a laptop, 30 on an mp3 player, 20 on a charger for that; while trying to keep myself in food (with the card cut off) and water and candles and instant coffee and briquets and guitar strings and new harmonicas and clean clothes and 64 ounces of a depressant each day; and then to start spending 4 or 5 hours each morning on the things; instead of putting "extra" time into busking, to combat the effects of the slow economy now...
    It's a "double-whammy."
    And it's the little things which bother the most; such as not having water and instant coffee and candles and a newspaper each morning; nor briquettes to cook a lot of free food which I have had to throw to the aquatic life in the river.
    Early this morning, I spent myself down to under a dollar with the purchase of a gallon of spring water, but then decided not to start a driftwood fire because the sky was already lightening by the time I got to under the dock and nothing reveals smoke like the first orange-yellow rays of the rising sun glimmering off the river.
    The End Of Us...
    I could have had fresh pasta with real butter and a huge salad on the side with olive oil and vinegar and then boiled some ground coffee and filtered to so it would be ready when I woke up. Except, I was out of olive oil.
    I instead, saved the butter and the rest went to waste. I had some sushi and went to sleep.
    The food stamp lady called and did our 10 minute phone interview which I waited 15 days for; and then gave me a website where I am required to register on, so that job opportunities will be e-mailed to me.
    Then, I need to call the customer service number and inform them that I am indeed registered there; and they will e-mail my caseworker that she can go ahead and turn my account back on; maybe tomorrow.
    Rick From Austin
    Rick showed up at the Lilly spot at around 10 p.m., and basically wanted to "borrow" 3 of the 7 dollars which were between the sharks.
    He showed me some kind of  "Green Dot" card which he had purchased so that he could load money to use for the cheapest Megabus fare (plastic only) but then showed me that, somehow the numbers had already been scratched off the card (something he inexplicably didn't notice when he bought it) and he had some kind of problem which sounded more and more convoluted as he went on; It almost would have been better had he just asked for it; minus the story. He needed the money in order to get at the 29 dollars which he had already put on the card; was what I gathered..
    At one point he said that he could pay me back, because he was going to go to the Walgreens on Canal Street which "is open all night," (which it isn't) and when I suggested that he break his guitar out and we would play for an hour or so and maybe make the 3 bucks that he needed; he said "I don't feel like playing at all right now!"
    The End Of Us
    When I suggested that "when the going gets tough, the buskers get busking" he looked up and down the street and complained that that would be useless "because it's dead."
    This started me thinking.
    Then, why, after not having been able to make 3 bucks on Royal Street, would he come to the Lilly spot, see how "dead" it was but still expect that I would have made enough to have 3 bucks to spare?
    "Can you at least smoke me up?" I asked.
    "I don't have any weed at all! Not even a bud!!" he said, in a tone that suggested that that may have been his biggest problem of all.
    He got pissed off, and said "F*** it; I'll go and busk and make 3 bucks, one way or another!" and stormed off. Now he wanted to play. It just didn't seem logical; and I wondered if he had done a hit of crack and was now jonesing for a 5 dollar sack of weed. "This is the end of us!" he added.
    Coming Soon: I meet Louise the tarot card reader...

    A Better Rick

    A better Rick
    Here I sit, charging up phones and laptops and mp3 players; while listening back to some of last nights performance at the Lilly spot,as recorded on mp3.
    Rick said, last night, that I played the harmonica well, which was a bit of a surprise, because I have recently become more inhibited about playing the thing; because of a few plugged holes which often seem to be the ones needed to finish a melodic line begun on the unplugged holes; and the fact that Barnaby and (now) his next door neighbor, the husband of Laura, Barnabys landlady, are in agreement in that "we like your guitar playing and your singing, but your voice has so much more soul than your harmonica does..."
    This has had the effect of making me more shy about jumping in on that instrument and just sounding out things, relying upon just my ear and instincts...knowing that someone may be cringeing across the street. It is a totally right-brain thing for me; with the other side of the brain only holding the information that the harp that I have chosen is in the right key; thus giving me a fighting chance at making it sound musical.
    One of the benefits of this approach is evident when occasionally people will comment that I don't play the harmonica like anyone else whom they have heard. This is probably because other players that they have heard started out by learning simple scales and songs like "Oh, Susanna," and are thus grounded somewhat by some rudimentary theory; whereas I just sound things out; and sometimes discover things like playing the F major harp over an A minor progression, which gives me a pallate of sonic colors not normally heard from players like Neil Young or Bob Dylan, who just honk on the thing (also) but who try to match the exact harp to the exact key.
    But, people seem to be divided in their opinions on my playing of the harp; but it was nice to hear Rick say that I played it well, because he has a very good sense of pitch.
    He let a guy play his (blue, like mine) Yamaha, and the guy said something like "Wow, this is really in tune!" to which Rick replied "Yeah, I have a pretty good ear..."
    Maybe I haven't heard the last of Rick, who has a bus ticket for Austin, Texas, leaving tomorrow (Tuesday, the 20th).
    I could see him tonight; and maybe jam with him.
    He has slowly gotten over what he must have felt was a slight of his musicality after I told him that we could busk together for "an hour and a half, or so" but no more, because we haven't worked out enough material to sound tight together for much longer; outside of repeating material.
    The originals only go so far; and usually put people in the mind of other artists, whom they request. One of his songs remind people of the band Modest Mouse (Rick takes slight offense at this, as he sees that band as being sophomoric and simple) and the people often ask "Hey, do you know any Modest Mouse?" at which point, Rick plays a song by them, and I comp along, making musical sense and sounding good (optimally) but not playing exactly what is in the Modest Mouse boxed CD volumes.
    The music that we do has more potential "down the road", as there is "gold in them there hills" of interesting original art, but for the 3 hours in front of Lillys, our earnings are subdued a bit; as, I have found a way to milk money out of it; as the lonely troubador who has been pushed to the fringe by a society whose tastes are more mainstream and who don't understand my art, and who want to sit down for a personal interview and a glimpse into my head and my lifestyle; some of whom are thinking: "You never know, this guy could be famous some day; and I'll be able to tell everyone that I hung out with him; bought him beer and talked to him for a couple hours and threw him the 50 bucks, on the way out, that he used to buy that harmonica that you are seeing right there on MTV...He nicknamed it 'Melvin' after me!!"
    A Matter Of Style
    Rick is more interactive and will stand up with his guitar strapped and encounter people on an eye-to-eye level; both approaches have their merits; but his would be better for him a little further down Bourbon Street where there is more interactive encountering going on; or on Royal Street, where he went to play after feeling that I had slighted him.
    We remain friends, after having gotten over that glitch; and might jam together tonight.

    I am almost flat broke and wearing dirty, stinking clothes and picking up butts and etc. etc. just like before I quit drinking for a month.
    Jim, The Artist
    I saw the artist on Jackson Square who had been giving me the thumbs up, as I walked past him, when he would say "Well?" and I would reply: "22 days!" And he would say: "Great! That's the best news I've heard all day!"
    He saw the can of Hurricane in my hand and shook his head.
    "I made it 30 days," I said, not apparently making an impression upon his back as he walked off, still shaking his head.

    Food For Thought
    Tomorrow morning, the food stamp lady is scheduled to call me for an interview; and I hope she does, and that my card gets turned back on.
    Part of what has been hurting me is missing that little 189 dollars this month...

    Sunday, May 18, 2014

    What is the easiest way to stop this stupid thing that I am ?

    Another musician, Mark has died at 43; a suicidal overdose on something, supposedly because of his Asian girlfriend; half his age. 
    He always played the spot across from Rouses Market, after the heavy hitters left. Like Doreen's Jazz Band
    He is dead; and the spot is open.
    I never liked that spot.
    His Asian girlfriend is available now, and I think about grabbing her, but, the couple times that she has come close to me, her body stench was such that I gleaned that she wasn't a sexual creature...If sexual intimacy is an important part of your life; you don't reek to high heaven like that.
    She is as afraid of sex as the 8 year old who wets her bed to try to repulse her step-father. 
    Too bad Mark killed himself supposedly over her.
    Preakness Prediction Right On The Money
    Ride On Curlin will "place" behind California Chrome (shown)

    I had a lousy night and wound up with 3 
     less than I woke up with, but my horse grifting skills are still sharp.
    It is now Sunday night. 
    I have just turned Anna (the electric violinist from Poland) on to one of my spots near the casino, where I am now; and I can hear her soaring melodies over a pre-recorded loop soaring down Canal Street, as I sit here and blog.
    She will make at least 100 bucks, because she is a 20 year old girl playing the violin; while I sit here making nothing except this blog post.
    She just stopped right now. This is probably because a rich tourist stopped to ask her some inane question like: "How long have you been playing?," or "Are you classically trained?" to both of which she would have pat answers which won't impede the 20 dollar bill from going into her case.
    I just had a conversation with her; after she came up and greeted me outside The Unique Boutique.
    She praised the sign flying skeezers.
    She said that the first person who agreed to work for "slave wages" was an idiot and opened a floodgate and ruined the world.
    She said that anyone can work for themselves and applauded skeezers, even the ones that flew bogus signs about being hungry and broke and homeless; and then went off with containers of gourmet food to the store to buy expensive booze on their way to the hotel...."At the end of the day, they have done great...these people with all the money; they don't care how they spend it...they know they (the skeezers) are lying and they (the skeezers) know that they are lying, but it is a beautiful thing for them (the skeezers) to be able to run their own business and not have to deal with a boss that treats them like a slave."
    I ventured to Anna that I could snatch up a young girl and sell her on the Internet, and she had no objections to that; since; I would thus be free from a boss who was only interested in getting rich off the sweat of my brow and I wouldn't be feeding into that system...
    Wow. Polish girls, these days.
    I just poked my head out and saw very few people out and Anna just stopped playing. 

    obably is going to knock off because she is probably used to making Tanya Huang type of money, and has probably only made a measly twice as much as I have made the whole night in a half hour....and she won't play just for the love of it; as she is the musical equivalent of a lying skeezer. 
    If people give her money for whatever reason; then, good for her, and they won't miss it because they are so stinking rich.
    I told her that if she sacrificed for a few years and saved her money; she might just want to start a business, maybe a violin school, and then she might find it necessary to hire a janitor, yet only have enough in the budget to pay him the going-rate of 10 bucks an hour...then what, Anna, you slave driver? She will have to get back to me on that one.
    She is a disciple of Waire? the other electric violinist, whom I have sketched the skeleton of a profile of, in a past post.
    He makes such great money, playing random notes over a 2 chord loop (e minor to G major 7, for example) that Anna was instantly drawn to him upon her arrival. They've been seen kissing.
    She was very friendly and seems to look upon me with admiration, because I am an entrepreneur, like herself.
    But, if I were to adopt her philosophy, then I would, by hook or crook, get myself an electric violin or equivalent, learn how to stay in pitch on the thing; paint my body purple and play it at 90 decibels; not necessarily playing anything recognizable (as this is not advisable, because people will know that you haven't a clue musically if and when you screw up the familiar tune) wearing only a purple bikini bottom....and maybe my hat.
    Then, Anna and I will soon be clinking our martini glasses together on the balcony of the hotel overlooking the French
    Quarter, and toasting "To the stupid, arrogant 1% who run the world and fill our tip baskets!!!"

    There are plenty of performers who look at the business of busking as just that -a business. If you are going to give up 6 hour of your life; and you can do it one way and make $350.00, or do it another way and make $30.00, then, which is better? 
    Unless your goals are more far-reaching and you hope to someday have a million-selling hit song about playing for peanuts and sleeping under a wharf...but that requires an equally sound business strategy which must be ardently put into motion...
    I had another shitty night, money-wise, 9 dollars, or something.
    If I spend 5 on weed, then I can't get American Spirits; If I get American Spirits, then I can only get one beer; if I get coffee filters then I can get neither.

    This is the worst couple of days that I have had since I came here.
    The fact that I have just began drinking again after 30 days off is just a coincidence.
    Right now I am pissed off at everything; not the least of whh i this fucking lapo0, whih when ( try t0 type jnormally, spts out garbage like this....and I have to pent more time hitting th3 bak qane th3 delet3 buttons instead of juw5 typingg...

    Once again I think about quitting.
    ...let Anna inherit the earth.

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

    Preakness Prediction and Ricks Last Two Nights Here

    • Rick And I Break Off
    •  Preakness Prediction

    *Horse Race Theme plays on violin*
    Ride On Curlin will "place" behind California Chrome (shown)
    After waking up Saturday morning; sleeping sideways on my bed, so that I could accommodate Rick, who was at the other end and still pretty sound asleep at 12:45 p.m., which was the time that I had designated, approximately 8 hours earlier, as the time that I had planned upon coming out from under the dock, before the boat came back between 1:08 and 1:18 p.m., and after getting 8 hours of sleep.
    I didn't bother to stir him, because time wasn't that critical.
    I thought about the 15 dollars which I had in my pocket, after a night when we had split $46.90 at the Lilly spot.
    Not as bad an average per hour, if you factor in the solid hour which we took off to go get beer and weed -things which could have been already provided for, had I woken up with more than 2 dollars on me that morning -and the hour being the one between 11:40 p.m. and 12:40 a.m, which is in the "lucrative" window of opportunity.
    It may have cost us 39 dollars to run that errand; but we were pretty much in agreement in that; I wanted another beer pretty badly, and Rick wanted some weed pretty badly. And it was my own fault for letting myself become broke.
    We went in 3 dollars each on American Spirit cigarettes and 5 each on weed, and that is where a third of my take for that night went.
    Rick seemed very pleased to have made 24 bucks; but  I was thinking about the laundry that I desperately need to do, along with a shopping list of things to replace; and about how I had forgotten to get water (how much of an essential is THAT to forget) and didn't blog at Harrahs like I had been doing; and how sleeping sideways and blowing off my habits like reading Dickens by candlelight, doing my push ups and pull ups and things like in the morning had been neglected.
    \I decided that I wanted to go back to being a loner; and told Rick as politely as I could, first thing in the morning without my having had coffee.
    I didn't want him to stash his sleeping bag in the girders, because that would be like him booking himself in for another night.
    A little more like Rick
    "Do you want to busk for about an hour and a half tonight," I asked.
    He was stonily silent for a few seconds before saying that he might come by and jam, but in a tone of voice which said "I don't need you and your 24 dollar spot."
    I just felt that we had about an hour of tight sounding, somewhat rehearsed, stuff, and that we had lost out on a certain amount of tip money by practicing on the spot (as opposed to busking on the spot).
    He took it pretty well, but seemed a little hurt and angry.
    I'm just not ready to start a band with someone and become instant cardboard-mates, after it had taken me almost 2 years to work my way into the circumstances which I now "enjoy." At least not the cardboard part...

    And, I get cranky when the money gets tight...a bit.