Monday, June 30, 2014

I Can Shoot A Video, Really?

I guess I had seen that the built in camera on my laptop has built in video functionality; but I always assumed that I could only produce crap like this....

I Buy A New Shirt

Yesterday, I came out from under the dock, after having had the 18 dollar Saturday; and having spent 28 bucks the whole day; with 78 bucks on me.
I went and bought a new shirt. The one that I was wearing, I had wiped my face upon; and it had coffee and mustard and olive oil stains upon it.
It should hide rat feces stains pretty well
I was eventually on my way to the Lilly spot, but came across Tanya and Dorise, at the intersection of St. Louis and Royal Streets.
Well, soon, Balil (the guy who gave me the guitar that I'm playing) showed up.
There was already evidence of him there in the form of his 2014 Corvette, parked near the spot where T&D were breaking down their stuff.
We broke into a jam which is becoming customary between us; on "Big River," by Johnny Cash, or Johnny Mercer, or Merle Haggard, I forget...
Soon, someone threw a bill into Tanya and Dorise' basket, which was sitting there.  
Tanya immediately fetched "it" and came and laid a 5 dollar bill next to me.
I think the person might have thrown a 1 dollar bill in on top of all their money and Tanya just grabbed a 5 and brought it over.
"I taught that weeping willow how to cry, cry, cry..."
She may have been enacting some kind of Buddhist principle where you, unknown to the person, give him something and you thereby feed positive energy into the 7 pedaled flower of selflessness and nurture it at the cosmic level; helping it to blossom several-fold in your life.
But I was wise to her, so I probably screwed her out of her blessing; my bad...
Maybe if she reads this blog, she will walk up to me and say: "No, he really DID throw 5 dollars!"
(Trying to recoup her blessing, of course, bless her for trying...)
But, I had a new shirt on; and a crisp 5 dollar start to the night; and I didn't add much to it; but I discovered how to shoot a video on this laptop and, well...let's see if t works....
Here's A Song That I Don't Remember Doing, But I Kinda Like It , It's called
F*****g Paula

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Thing I'm Doing On Facebook

  • The Great Daniel Friend Vote Off
  • 18 Dollar Saturday Follows 106 Dollar Friday
  • Shooting On Bourbon Street Last Night (and not a movie this time)
A Grazing While I Grazed
Last night, at about 2 in the morning, when I was scrounging for food; there were people who said that they heard what sounded like gunshots.
I stuck my nose around a corner; stepping over a large pool of blood at that corner; and observed a man who was shirtless and overweight and looked South American, laying on his back in the middle of Bourbon Street; having CPR administered to him; and there was also a girl sitting on a curb with a lot less attention being paid to her who was holding a rag to her head. A head which had been "grazed" by a bullet.
The Facebook Thing
The thing I am doing on Facebook is a "vote off" in which all of my "friends" have to vote one of themselves off of my list; and I am profiling each one of my 75 friends, in order to aid the voters in making an informed decision.
This has usurped my attention from this blog; but; in the interest of diversification; here is one of my friend profiles from the Facebook thing that I am doing.
Donna Parrow; where do I begin.
I just drank a 25 ounce Lime-A-Rita and puffed a blunt, that's a start.

I met D"onna when I was a college kid; soon to become a college drop out. I was about 26, and had been in college for 7 of those years; changing my major whenever I got close to graduating in any one discipline, getting more Pell Grants and student loans "for books and ink pens."
I lived at Southwood Apartments, in Amherst, Massachusetts, in apartment 99C, an address about which lore probably lives on to this day, as told by Brunos Pizza deliverymen, about the weird guy who would be playing an electric guitar so loudly that you would have to time your knocks on the door, in between chords; and try to be out of time, otherwise he will just think that it is the drummer that he is imagining in his head and keep going.
His eggplant sub will come to 5 dollars and 20 cents; it will be lukewarm because you will be dropping it off after having brought the people in houses their pizzas and eggplant subs; and, because it was going to Southwood Apartments.
Southwood Apartments was a curious mixture of one half;the innocent, wide eyed, full of hope and wonder, and looking through rose colored glasses, college kids  (myself one of them) who were blissfully ingnorant of the fact that the woman in the next apartment was spending all of her mental health disability check on crack, through the span of three nights,  and masterbating to a picture of Prince Charles (I swear to God, why would I lie, especially in The Great Daniel Friend Vote-Off) and the other half, the woman in the apartment next door; and not much else in between; except there were families, "familias" in the case of the Spanish one in the apartment above us.
They had, like 9 children. Or, SHE; had like 9 children; and the dads were on like a time share; where, if Louey just got a construction job making 25 bucks an hour working a crane; then he very well might be the dude sitting on the couch and flipping through the channels; after she had gotten tired of Ricky; him being around so much because every time it rains he can't work... And the welfare check that she got for having 9 children; adorable, I might add; was something close; the children, I mean; to what a damned good diesel mechanic might pull in each month; and like clockwork it would arrive the first of the month. Massachusetts is what it is...
Well, I was in a situation, as one of the blissfully ignorant college kid half of the population, where I had dropped out of school because A: What am I going to do with a degree in English, except put it on the front cover of my first novel? and B: I was going to work full time and save up so much money that I would return to finish my Senior year of college in grand style; and I am talking eggplant subs here; delivered luke-warm; but not for long because; as the lore continues: "....yeah, he'll give you 11 dollars and he'll say 'theres $5.20 for Brunos, and $5.80 for you, dude! I like to see the little guy making more than the owner!'"
And this was after I indeed got a full time job; and a pretty good one where 60 hours a week was begged of me, and I was making good money and having to wake up at an unGodly hour, so that I basically went straight to the apartment to sleep before I could spend any of it; except for picking up the phone and calling Brunos....and so came the legend of the guy in 99C, and, I am sure that the old crusty veteran deliverymen will conclude the story with: "So, you never know, kiddo! You might think that you are going 3 miles out of the city to some derelict infested hellhole of an apartment complex where not even Prince Charles is safe; but you just never know, you might get a 5 dollar and 80 cent tip; out of that rat keep your head up; especially in Southwood, if anyone say's "pssst, over here" just keep walking."
Well, Donna Parrow (you thought I forgot what the hell I'm supposed to be writng about, didn't ya?) lived in Southwood.
I got laid off from my full time job and I was collecting half of my average salary in unemploymet benefits -it was Massachusetts in the late 80's, afterall- and I decided to augment my resources, upon which I was already getting up at the crack of dawn and playing my guitar and my bass and my keyboard and my drum machine and recording music all the live-long day; I decided to start dealing in a medicinal herb thats healing properties had not yet been officialy established by any medical association at that time; but I was getting it from a guy whose nickname was "Doc," and that was close enough for me.
I began selling treatmets for depression, glaucoma and loss of appette at Soutwood Apartments, in the tobacco form.
I ran into a guy who was sitting in a wheelchair who said that he could benefit from one of my treatments; and he gave me his apartment number.
The next afternoon, I decided to go knock on his door. I had gotten a shipment of medicinal herbs from a Jewish guy on the north shore, who will remain nameless because this isn't intended to be a "tell-all" story; right Dona? lol!!
I was walking across the yard towards his apartment.
I had seen, up ahead of me, two little girls headed towards, and disappearing into the same building where I was headed.
The older one was a very cute Puerto Rican looking girl of about 11, and the littler one was about 6 and looked like a model,  if you shrunk the model down to about one fifth size.
I went inside the building and mounted to the second floor and was about to knock on the guy in the wheelchairs door but I couldn't because it was wide open; and inside were the very same girls that I had seen crossing the courtyard.
They invited me in like it was nothing. The littler one was holding a clay object which she had made at school. It was interestingly colored; frog green and blood red, glazed and fired in a kiln; and it was an ashtray.
The little girl had made an ashtray. While her contemporaries were making paperweights and doorstops; the little girl was showing off to me proudly; an ashtray. The most practical 6 year old in the universe.
Her sister was in the bathroom; and called to me and asked me if I thought that the cut on her lip which she was looking at in the mirror; was going to become infected or something. I was in college, afterall.
I went and looked at her lip. She had been in a fight. I was suddenly aware that I was alone with a cute 11 year old Latina girl in a bathroom only twice the size of a broom closet; and she was showing me her lip up close; and I thought: Is this kid not afraid of anythiing? What if I had been Daniel the pervert? Oh, wait, I AM Daniel the pervert, but you get the point...
So, then, to make a long story short, these people came into my life; and there were plenty or times when I lived with them. When I did meet Donna, and saw her puffing on Newports, and flicking her ashes into the green and red clay ashtray it was classic.
To her credit, she was just a pretty good mother; and she probably saw how I had become like a second father to her adorable pugulists and potters; and it was just a happy time; and we all benefitted. And we all rose together.
At some point the fortunes of the Parrishs' changed and they were able to leave Southwood Apartments along with their concerns over having their tires slashed in the parking lot; and move to an apartment. And then to a rented house. And then finally to Florida to a house which her and the guy formerly in a wheelchair had bought.
And, each step of the way; I had somehow shown up and wound up going, right along with them; from the ghetto to a peacful spot in rural Florida with a horse shoe pit in the back upon which I practced so much that I would go out there in the total darkness of the peaceful spot in rural Florida; and launch the shoes into into the inky blackness, using only a mental visualization of there the stake was; and I would often hear the tell-tale CLANK! coming from exactly 45 feet away, out of the darkness.  Add the enhancement of that proclivity to the treatment of depression and of glaucoma to a certain list, if you catch my drift...
And so that is my profile of Donna; she is kind of like family; disfunctional family with a capital D. LOL!!!!!!!!
Just kidding, Donna.
So, I guess I haven't said anything bad to balance the profile and help you all vote more informendly, but that's the way the cookie crumbles in The Great Daniel Friend Vote-Off;  It's kind of bland, kind of vanilla...
2 Hours Later...
Ok, now I'm almost through a fifth of Jmm Bfeim now  an iwant to say shes a selfish conniving ruthless manipulative controllingbitch.!!...
Just kidding again, Donna; hee hee hee; this is fun!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

106 Dollar Friday

I make a kick-ass recording later, totally blacked out...

I got back under the dock, and unburdened myself of a load of food; to include about a half pound of "Irish Butter," and a loaf of 9 grain bread, salads to include such things as "baby kale," tomatoes and okra, salmon in the plastic thing, and other things that I am forgetting.
Then I made a recording that I didn't remember making until I woke up the next morning and plugged in the laptop. I think this is a pretty "candid" recording; too light on the vocals, but I am in the process of solving that perplexity. 
If you didn't enjoy "Under The Dock," which was yesterdays post,  beseech you to listen to the above
I started out with a worthless coin, which even said: "No Cash Value" on it.
I had "copped short" on Canal Street, earlier -telling the weed girl that I only had (my last) 4 dollars. She let me go; without popping a cap in me.
I'll destroy your camera!

I started playing at about 9 in the evening. My spotlight was medium bright, and fading.
After about a half hour, a group of about 4 young African Americans came by, and one girl in particular amongst them came over and requested that I play "Me And Bobby McGee," by Janis Joplin. (so much better than if she had asked for Scott Joplin)
I played and she sang. I was sounding the song out from memory and only had a couple of glitches. She was a good singer and hit some good bent notes, and that probably gave her the satisfaction and the venting of energy that it took to throw me a 20 dollar bill.
"Where's your tip thing?" she asked.
"I usually just put the money between the sharks, you know, so it looks like they are already circling even though I haven't even counted it yet; but tonight, I'm just starting out with this..." (holds worthless coin up to the spotlight).
"Well, now you have a 20 dollar bill," she said.
That's how I knew that I had a 20 dollar bill, even before I had looked at it.
I ran to Sydneys and bought a 4 pack of AAA batteries, and a pack of American Spirits, and then ran back for a beer, on second thought before I had gotten too far a away.
I set up the ultra bright light over the 8 dollars or so which was left between the sharks and played; and a group of about 5 came by; and it seemed that they liked everything that I played. I played the recognizable Neil Young song; threw in some harmonica; then The Original Song, and they seemed very sincere in throwing me a good tip of about 8 bucks; but then, I saw the guys taking money out, but just holding it in out of view; and they asked me to play something like: "Play what you were going to play before we came along," and, whatever it was (forgive me I'm drinking again) they wound up handing me 40 more dollars, each bill coming with a handshake; and they said "We really enjoyed ourselves," and then added: "Keep on doing what you're doing; keep following your dream."
I wound up getting about 106 dollars; after it was counted over a veritable banquet of food; diminished only by the fact that I had not gotten charcoal briquettes; and had to pass upon the lamb steaks.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Handful Of Change Wednesday

Wednesday night, it rained for most of.
Home studio
I spent a lot of time messing around with the mp3 that I posted, which is my best quality of recording in a while.
A lady gave me a hand full of change, between 4 and 5 dollars; as I was getting some fruit and a few cartons of tabouli salad, roasted turkey breast and scones for the rats, etc. from outside Rouses Market. That was all the money that I "made."
It is Thursday night and raining again, though it is supposed to stop soon.
I guess I will go out and play; since I am broke.
I'm pretty happy with my ability to record under the dock during its quiet moments; when the boat is at rest and is buffering the waves against crashing on the rocks nearby. I do believe that I am going to record a cult classic under there, soon.

An Mp3 To Show For The Day

Sober Days Reset To Zero
Yesterday, I did my computer stuff first, and then went out towards the Lilly Spot.
I had been going on 9 days without drinking, and so, when I saw an almost full bottle of Chivas Regal 12 year old scotch, sitting in a shoe box in front of an art gallery where a party had been thrown, my first thought was: "What am I going to do with this?"
I knew that it couldn't have been there long. Because of the high value of it, I took it with me; thinking that I could easily sell it for 10 bucks.
I smelled it and tasted it to make sure it hadn't been watered down.
I thought that I could even sell shots of it at my spot, by standing the bottle up next to me, and then when people made comments like "Wow, you're drinking the good stuff!" I could offer them a shot for a buck, saying that I spent all my money on it; and haven't made much back, or something.
But, the taste led to another taste, and pretty soon I was busking on the stuff.
A group came along and tipped me 10 bucks over the coarse of about 4 songs, even though I didn't know any "Smashing Pumpkins" music.
The scotch had the desired effect of putting me in the mood to play; yet not impairing me. It's the nightly ritual of drinking which wears you down. It seems to worm its way further into your brain on each successive night; until you become the "moody drunk."
Decent Sound Quality Achieved*
I have been inspired to work towards making a musical blog posts by setting the text to music, or at least the headlines. The above recording sounded good through headphones. If it sounds too crappy, then the problem is with the mp3 hosting site or the internet connection, or both... 
This morning, I finished off the bottle, and made the recording above, after the boat left with its noisy steam engine; and the river was calm, for a few rare moments.
It is representative of the type of sound quality that this laptop is capable of.
* I just listened to it off this blog and the reverberation is way higher than what I mixed it to. I'll have to figure that out.
The first jam is an improvised thing, of the type that I do at the Lilly spot; followed by part of "Almost Blue," by Elvis Costello, a song that I am ill advised to do at the spot, due to its soft volume. In between are snippets of me singing along with the calliope, as I so often do...
There aren't any overdubs. That is where the songs become convoluted; because all of the background noise from each separate track gets added into the final mix. Plus there is the latency issue to deal with.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Stoned Mason

Last night, I Played just until I got a single 5 dollar bill thrown to me; and then I went off to do computer related stuff.
In the morning: 
Click here to hear: I Recorded Under The Dock, (click to hear just jamming on a bit of the Costello song; with attention to the sound quality; and especially how obnoxious the waves crashing in the background is)
and that was about what I did after I finished my stone masonry.
I jammed on an Elvis Costello song. It was mostly a test to see just how obnoxious the sound of the crashing waves from the river would be in a recording.

Stone Masonry
I got up ;this morning at about 11, and realized that I had slept only 7 hours, assuming that I had slept the whole time. I wasn't very tired. My amount of tiredness fell into the category of: if I wasn't looking forward to anything, then I could go back to sleep; but, if I had a compelling reason to get up; I would.
No More Head Foot Higher Than Foot
I went back to sleep.
When I awoke, it was about mid afternoon and the boat was gone.
I decided to do some radical stone masonry upon where I sleep. The 6 day fast had made me skinnier, and I wanted to turn some of the food which I have started to eat; into muscle.
Lifting rocks which are just light enough for me to lift and then heaving them with all my might would be a good activity to help promote this.
I unpeeled all the cardboard and removed the plank; and then set about to take all of the huge rocks out from underneath. I tossed the rocks of the size of a potato and smaller, in one direction and the huge rocks, I threw as far as I could. There were some which I could just barely lift; and I kind of rolled them away, down the slope towards the river.
I then returned all of the small rocks to where my bed is, and was easily able to smooth them into a flat surface and now my bed is pretty much flat; rather than inclined with the head about a foot higher than the foot..    

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Virtual Heaven

I am changing the above box to display the top 2 posts in the past 30, as opposed to just the number one most visited; because of the following perplexity.

The above is displaying the most viewed post in "the past 30 days," and I was hoping that it would change every so often and lean towards highlighting the best post of the month, until another comes along and is more viewed. but it has become stuck upon the above displayed post.It keeps getting viewed; daily; to the my utter bewilderment. It isn't really such a "classic" of a post...
It is the one about Sherman, in Baton Rouge, on the night when he arrived at my busking spot on his bike with his flashing helmet and his camera on him somewhere; and kind of stood around back when I was still kind of an infant at telling people nicely: "Hey, I haven't made a cent while you've been standing here," and wound up telling him just that.
I thought that some one person might be using it as an entry point into the blog, but that didn't make sense because that person would then have to navigate to the most recent post from that page.
That post was viewed 5 times, just today.
I think I know what the problem is:
It is the reference to "Computer Heaven," the computer repair shop in Baton Rouge, where I took my laptop, and then blogged about the adventure (see "It really isn't such a "classic" of a post..." above).
The words "Computer Heaven" (and even a depiction of their logo, even) has had me unwittingly trolling for whomever Googles the above store name. So there are people on the worldwide web who are Googling the name of that particular store, which I will not repeat, at the risk of being more of a troll, and especially probably Googling images related to that particular thread. It sounds like it could be a porn clearing house, or, a place that fixes computers.
So, I am going to remove the logo, and maybe reduce the number of references to that store; and I will see if the traffic to the blog is more reflective of the quality of the posts, rather than through the follies of people who are trying to go to virtual heaven.

23 Dollar Friday
Saturday was kind of rough.
After making the above amount, in about 2 hours, I knocked off a little early at half past midnight, charged this laptop at a spot across the street from a hotel which has a security guard who can see me, then went to get on wi-fi and did yesterdays post, knocking off around 4 in the morning, so as to give myself a good chance to get under the dock. 
It was day 6 of the fast and cleanse and the abstinence from alcohol. I had started to put
honey and apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper in the distilled water that I had basically been living off that morning, and wanted to add the ingredients which were (hopefully still) under there. Those being molasses and sesame oil.

I managed to go under at around 4:30.
There was a pickup truck parked above (even at that hour) and a guy was pulling a bag of something out of the back of it. As soon as he disappeared into the interior of the boat, without having exchanged words with anyone along the way, as far as I could tell; I ducked under.
It was nice to be home, after 2 days away.
I flipped on my flashlight, as I neared my spot, to give it a once-over, to A: make sure that some skeezer wasn't sleeping in my bed. B: Make sure some skeezers weren't crouched behind my wall waiting to ambush me C: Make sure my sleeping spot hadn't been dismantled and all my stuff thrown away by the security people D: Give the rats a heads up to get off my quilt and go sleep somewhere else E: Make sure the black capped night heron didn't leave a dead rat which was too large for it to swallow, but not too large for it to kill; on my quilt; and F: Look for signs that the place had been visited i.e. anything missing or moved around. Those are the 6 basic reasons that I flip on my flashlight as I get to my spot.
I read Charles Dickens by candlelight, sipping the above concoction, for about an hour, then blew out the candles and continued to read by daylight until about 8:30.
I slept very well and was out by around 4 in the afternoon, and headed directly to the Lilly spot, after picking up a gallon of water and drinking a mango guarana juice drink which cost 4 dollars.
There was a limousine and a Rolls Royce parked in front of it and part of a wedding party was trickling out of the house to my immediate left.
I wasn't quite feeling in the mood to play anything that might get their attention and their tips; such as "We've Only Just Begun," by The Carpenters.
Then, some carpenters across the street started running a loud drill or a loud sander, and so I took a break, to go get a 5 dollar sack of weed.
So much for trying to play an 8 hour shift just to see what the take would be. I figured that I could forecast about 60 dollars, conservatively, if I played 8 hours at the Lilly spot. My best 5 hours there was $213, but I have never gone 8...and I wouldn't that night.
I would give the carpenters time to finish their work, and maybe the weed would put me in the mood for that Carpenters song.
There was some kind of gay event going on, and fag after fag was going to and fro from Lafitts. They were not tipping.
I had made 2 dollars, after playing what I thought was some pretty good stuff.
A Very Skinny Face
Daniel Prepares For Role As Mick Jagger By Fasting
I took another break, returned at about 11 and played for another hour and a half and got about 18 bucks to bring my total to 20 bucks for the night, after the gays were gradually supplanted by a different group of tourists. The gays seemed to be totally self conscious, and engrossed in their interactions with each other. I guess they don't think that it would turn another man on to see them tipping a street performer. Maybe some movie will come out featuring a really gorgeous hunk who, in one of the famous scenes, would tip a street performer; and that might change their perceptions. They might even quote the guys line in the movie as they throw the 5 between the sharks. This happened back when I was a pizza deliveryman, and the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles movie came out, and the characters ordered a pizza and tipped the guy in one scene (I guess; I never saw the flick). I was getting tips from kids at the door, who would say "Here you go, pizza dude!" in a turtle-like voice; mutated, but still turtle-ish.
I had one group of young guys around me, who seemed to be fascinated with the harmonica, and, like a showman, I played and sang and then took guitar solos and saved the harmonica for the final "buildup."
One of them started to say "You know, I wanted to give you something, but I don't have any small bills; so I'm just...." but then had a second thought (he was probably stoned) and thought better of throwing whatever it was going to be. So, maybe I almost had a 40 dollar night.

 About 20 Dollars Saturday
I did a very abbreviated session on this computer and was under the dock by about 4:30 this mornng.
I ate some bananas, a peach and a plum, introducing solid food, after 5 days off.
I looked pretty skinny in a picture that I took of myself to put on this blog. I wound up cropping it so that only my face is visible. It's a pretty skinny face, though. 
13 Dollar Sunday
Sunday, I was up and ready to come out at noon, but it rained for about the next 2 hours.
I got to the Lilly spot and must have played for about an hour and made 13 dollars, and then was off by 11, so that I could charge this laptop and make this post.
Now it is 2 o' clock, Monday morning and I will go by Rouses Market, since I'm starting to eat again; and see if I can find fruits and vegetables, and then will be under the dock at around 3 a.m. and will just go from there.
I am now going to load Audacity and see if it takes MPEG-4 files, because that is the format that the sound recorder on this thing puts music in. If it does, I will post a jam that I did with Rick Park, from Austin, Texas.
I listened to it; and it has its moments.... 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

12 Dollars In 50 Minutes Friday

Weather Hinders Efforts
I got to the dock too late this morning to go under.
It was about 6 a.m., and, as I approached I saw the silhouette of a head, sitting dead center on the second deck; which moved as if to keep me in sight as I started to go out of its view.
That spot would be where a security guard would sit in order to have a panoramic view of the dock; and I decided not to risk going under. I plugged my cellphone into an outlet near the Coke machine and acted as if  I was charging it and texting someone; waiting to see if the person was just taking a cigarette break and would go back inside the boat.
I theorized that it was indeed a security person whose job it probably is to watch from that spot throughout the night, and who probably parks herself there about an hour before the day shift is due to clock in, so that they; and any early arrivals would see her at her post upon arriving and wouldn't be able to refute that she had indeed sat there all night.
This was inconvenient for me as, the temperature would reach the 90's and there would be a brief rain shower in the afternoon; both factors making sleeping at the sign spot difficult.
The dock is at least 5 degrees cooler, being in the shade and by the river; and is rain proof.
And so, I couldn't sleep through most of the day. I sat up and read the newspaper for a while, and then wound up going to the air conditioned library for about 3 hours on this computer, mostly working on a Facebook project that I am in the middle of.
Returning to the sign spot at about 2 p.m., I figured that I might be able to grab 7 hours of sleep and then be at the Lilly spot by 9:30 p.m.
Then came the rain storm, driving me to the cover of the Saenger Theatre overhang across the street to wait it out.
I wound up sleeping on and off from about 5 until after midnight.
I got to the Lilly spot and set up a little after one in the morning, played for about an hour, and made 12 dollars.
My "money" song was "Big River," by Johnny Cash (or Merle Haggard, I forget).
Day 5 of Fast Complete
I have been on the fast and haven't drank alcohol for 5 day now, and it has improved my ability to play music. I think I use both sides of my brain when I am sober, as opposed to only one side when drunk and stoned.
It occurred to me that I don't really have to worry about money as long as I am sober, as I walked down Bourbon Street, past all the drunk people, who seemed to sense that I wasn't on their wavelength and left me alone.
Looking Askance At Skeezer
I walked past "Just a girl and her dog trying to survive" who was holding that very sign which must be more than a year old now. She was actually turning her head left and right and making sad puppy eyes at every passing tourist, but looked away from me. She knows that I know that she is a dog skeezer. I sometimes wish that the IRS would nail her for back taxes on years of skeezing -pay up or sit in debtors prison for a couple years. But, in that case, I suppose they could get me for a few thousand bucks, too. Then we would be just a girl and a guy trying to survive in debtors prison.
I just can't adopt the attitude, expounded by Anna the Polish violinist that, if tourists are "stupid" enough to believe the sign and give you money, then do it; and do it with no pangs of guilt at all.
Maybe I have been conditioned from being a chess player to "Never make a move counting upon your opponent to make a mistake or miss something that you are able to see.
Now it s 3:30 and I will try harder to get under the dock by being there within the hour; regardless of who shows up and wants to chat with me here until sunrise, unless it is Elvis Costello or the ghost of Charles Dickens who comes along.
Now, I am off to download a few e-books to put in my "Reading Room" folder, and some sheet music to put in my "Music Studio" folder and then I might go quickly to Facebook to see if I can find some people from my distant past that I think about every now and then...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Pressed For Time

I don't want to miss my chance to sleep under the dock with my feathered friends.
This morning, I couldn't get to sleep, so I went for a walk to the music store and bought strings, and a pack of cigarettes, after breaking down in my effort at quitting those.
I wish I could have just bought one, but, they put 20 in a pack to keep you well hooked.
I wound up sleeping from about 3 p.m. until 11 a.m. and called off busking; having about 13 bucks left over from Wednesday.
Day 4 without food, or alcohol is in the books.
I had better get going while I can still use the cover of semi darkness to cloak my clandestine activity.
Then, I will be able to sleep from maybe 9 till 5 and hit the busking scene for a full Friday night of playing sober...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Back To Busking

Something seems to be working.
Tripling the the time that I have been putting into this blog seems to be increasing my about 20%!
United States
United Kingdom
I stayed up until the sun joined me, this morning.
After the second consecutive night of not having busked, because I wasn't feeling in the mood, but rather spending about 5 hours blogging and a little bit of Facebooking because I WAS feeling in the mood; I got to the dock about 7 this morning, after having waited for a store to open so I could pick up more apple juice to enact day 3 of the juice fast.I learned that 7 o' clock was too late to go under the dock, as, various crews were bustling about the Natchez at that time; too risky...
I went to the sign spot, where I found that I couldn't sleep.
I sat up and read most of a New York Times, which I had found in a box near a trash can on Royal Street and stuffed into my pack; to help cushion this laptop against the bottles of juice and water; or for toilet paper in an emergency; or to do as I did, and read.
As I sat there sipping apple juice, and trying to will myself not to smoke cigarettes, I came across the article about Tony Gwyn the former baseball player who just died at an age just 3 years my senior from cancer, attributed to chewing tobacco.
I still couldn't sleep, hindered by the temperature which would peak in the 90's (as Tonys career did) and so, went to the air-conditioned library and put another 5 hours in on computer related work.
I wound up falling asleep back at the sign spot at about 2 p.m., with the satisfaction of knowing that I had figured out how to, and had loaded a bunch of sheet music into this computer, and looking forward to adding copious amounts of songs to my repertoire. Before dozing off; I learned "My Sweet Lord," by George Harrison.
I woke up several times, the last one at exactly 9 p.m.
I saw this as a symbol that it was time to go to work (the "9 to 5" shift of convention).
I was finally in the mood to play music, and headed straight to the Lilly spot; no stopping for beer or cigarettes, "do not pass GO".
Getting to the spot, I observed that one of Lillys air conditioners had produced a stream of water which ran through the spot where I sit, so as to be under my spotlight. I also observed a pan-handler sitting on the stoop.
It is known that I play there regularly and, so far, anyone sitting there for that purpose has yielded the spot to me upon my arrival. I haven't had to invoke the name of Lilly.
I went to Laffits Blacksmith Shop Tavern, to try to find a piece of cardboard to put down under me.
I was foraging for one, when a man called to me who was sitting with a lady in a couple of the chairs which are out front.
"Do you want to jam out on a couple songs, I play harmonica?"
I broke the Indiana out and played in the key of E, while he played the harmonica. This lead to a conversation, during which I gave some of my history, both past, and recent, to include the juice fast and the fact that I wasn't drinking, as I declined their offer to buy me a drink.
At one point, a skeezer came by and murmured something to the gentleman, who returned: "Sorry," to him.
"I don't have any cash.." he added with a shrug of his shoulders, as he skeezed off in a northern direction.
This could have been a test of me, to see if I had adopted the purpose of skeezing them myself, and to see if I would stick around and continue my "believe it or not" life story, given this knowledge.
I really wasn't "money motivated," -at least not with the intensity of someone who is dying to get high, as opposed to someone who wanted batteries for his spotlight, scissors to cut his own hair, and a set of new guitar strings. 
By 11 p.m., there was a steady stream of tourists passing the stoop and keeping the pan-handler busy, trying to get "something to eat," to supplement what he had already eaten that was causing him to slur his speech.
I told Ron and Amy, as those were there names, that I was ready to go to my spot to play and that I hoped the pan-handler would relinquish it.
That became a mute point, as they walked there with me, with Amy speaking up, telling him: "Hey, you're on our steps, you need to go!"
The couples well-dressed appearance may have erased any doubt in the skeezers mind that this was true, and he complied immediately. 
Skeezers are quite knowledgeable in the intricate subtleties of fashion, and the tell-tale signs which will distinguish the real McCoy from, say, a homeless lady who has found a nice dress in the Goodwill box, and is using it as a ploy in order to enter bars.
I sat down and began to set up my rig.
The spotlight and the sharks seemed to amuse the couple, along with my "Free music 40% to 60% off, Tonight only. All songs must go!" sign.
"Oh, look!" said Amy to Ron, at the sight of my harmonica.
I started the sharks off with 6 pennies and a 10 euro cent coin, as that was what the past few days had reduced me to.
I played "Little Wing," by Jimi Hendrix, with a bit of harmonica added.
Amy was very complementary, telling me that I was very interesting, and before the couple went off to enjoy Bourbon Street, she said: "Put that out of sight," pointing to a bill which had found its way into my case.
I pocketed the bill without looking at it, while thanking them; as is my custom. Looking at it in front of them would be something like leaving the price tag on a gift that you'd given someone ...maybe in reverse...
I then went back to playing, with only the 6 cents and the 10 euro cents between the sharks, and was enjoying myself, especially the precision with which being sober engendered.
Skeezis Bicanis
Then, along came two dog skeezers, headed towards the "crazy" lower numbered blocks of Bourbon Street.
A guy and girl in their late teens; each one of them with a dog on a leash (a double dog skeeze) and with visions of riches in their eyes.
As they approached me, I knew that their primary attention would be focused upon whatever tip jar I had, and their giggles and their tone of voice just about told me that they had spotted the 6 pennies and 10 euro cents and were making me the butt of a joke.
I was so tempted to pull out whatever bill I had in my back pocket and say: "Hey, I need some small bills to start my tip jar with; do you have change?" I had to deal with with my pride.
Having seen them digging through the Lafitts Trash looking for unfinished drinks; I had a good idea of what the bottom line of their ledger sheet probably looked like.
I asked myself: "Why should I care what a couple of dog skeezers; excuse me, double dog skeezers (skeezus bicanis; is the Latin, I believe) thought of me?
I asked myself, also: "To what purpose would it serve me to have them perpetrate a rumor that 'He has a lot more money than what you see when you walk by'?" throughout Skeezerhood.
I swallowed my pride and washed it down with some apple juice, and then kept playing.
Soon, another well dressed gentleman came and put a 5 dollar bill on top of the 6 pennies and 10 euro cents, when I was struggling to remember "Duprees Diamond Blues," by The Grateful Dead, another of that mornings downloads. And then, a black man added about a dollar and a half in change.
The bill in my pocket turned out to be 20 dollars.
I decided that $26.50 for about an hour of playing was satisfactory; and so, knocked off to come here and blog. It is already 5 a.m. and I have been at it for about 4 hours; and am going to miss my chance to go under the dock, if I haven't already.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It's A Black Crowned Night Heron

...One of the few species known to attack man?
⦁ 2 Days Without Alcohol
⦁ Bird Photographed
This is NOT a reprint; I lengthened its neck

Now begins the third day without drinking; and it is probably a blessing that the Quarter has been so slow that, had I been drinking, I would have gotten out and busked, then spent the miniscule take entirely on booze, along with all the extemporaneous impulsive purchases which are byproducts of the state of intoxication; like popping into McDonalds for a couple of McDoubles that I would forget eating until I woke up with an itchy scalp.
The second day was typical of the last time around. I am struggling with the same deadly sins.
I had the typical animosity towards the beggars which I usually get when I am flat broke; exacerbated by the withdrawals which I was feeling. I have admit that I struggle not to envy those who make "300 dollars a night," just sitting there with their cute dog and an "anything helps" sign.
I also cancelled my busking session for a second straight day.
This was partly because the self conditioned correlations between playing well and getting money; and money and getting drunk, were not in place
And partly because, it was so slow that my audience consisted of little more than the "Do you have any change for something to eat?" guy on Lillys other stoop; and the "I bet I can tell you where you got your shoes" guy, patrolling back and forth in front of me, along with the "Welcome to New Orleans, how are you doing? If you need any directions or any restaurant recommendations, I'm right here; and speaking of restaurants, I haven't eaten all day..." guy, who was a tall, thin (to fit the part) black man with a small backpack on his back, and carrying an umbrella.
I'm sure that the umbrella goes on the market as soon as a first raindrop is felt.
He is well spoken and about the most decent hustler that I have seen, and I withold the designation of "skeezer" from him. He is a skeezer "light."
A Time To Write
I opted to come here and regale you all with this blog post, as well as catch up on things computer, in general (I could work for 5 hours per day for a month before I felt comfortable with the progress that I am making with my blogging and writing and the organizing of my thoughts.
It is frustrating to come up with a new idea when there are old ideas sitting on the back burner) instead of trying to manufacture a positive attitude and play through my pain, until the joy of it came back two-fold.
I had a couple of positve things occur at the Lilly spot, though, before packing up and leaving.
One young guy, who turned out to be British (Gibsons are like a thousand pounds, eh?) asked me if there were any "guitar shops" in the area, which led to a discussion about guitar playing and guitars in general.
I took out the Indiana (proudly) to show it to him and discovered a bit of enthusiasm in myself for playing it (though its strings are worn and I am going to have to tough it out and play it that way when I do, in order to come up with string money. There is comfort in the knowledge that that particular expense won't have to wait in line behind the expense of "the first couple of beers to get going" when I do decide to play!
The Coke Dealer
The second thing, which was ironically positive was the guy who came along trying to sell cocaine to me.
"I got the good coke," he said.
I had 6 cents on me, but decided to kind of test him. "Oh, I'm off that. I've been clean for a couple weeks!"
He stopped in his tracks and became quite animated; like a fisherman who has one on the line. "Pffuh! Well, give it another go! You won't be disappointed; I got a 10 dollar bag right here!"
It is just this type of sociopathic attitude that bothers me the most about skeezers in general, and people like Leslie Thompson, whom I could sense was thinking things like "What an idiot; I got him drinking, and now he's spending money to get me drunk, too drunk to realize that it's happening! I love it! Whew!!" when I hung out with him for that short period of time last year.
I decided to give the coke dealer/fisherman/demon possessed sociopath more line: "No, man. I tore through almost 200 bucks on that stuff; and I just barely have enough money to pay my bills now!"
"The Right Choice!!"

That was like touching a match to a powder keg (excuse the pun). Instead of relenting with: "I understand, let me know if you change your mind," he started to extol the high quality of his product, after having approched to within 3 feet of me. "You won't regret it!," he added ...nobody ever regrets blowing their rent money up their nose and winding up out on the street, right?...
"Well, yes or no?" he asked.
This reminded me of both Leslie and the other skeezer, "Tarrentino" who both ejaculated "The right choice!!" after I had opted to get either the stronger spirits (in the former case) or the bigger bottle (in the later).
I fixed my eyes upon his, seeing a demon looking back at me, and jogged his memory with a very firm: "I just SAID no!!," wherupon he walked off.
I like to test people, just ask any of my friends...
This was ironically positive, because I found that, had I wanted to, I could have played the hell out of my guitar; fueled by indignation.

Now, to more important matters...
Bird Photos Obtained
This crappy, grainy low-resolution photo was taken this morning of the bird (inset) which had come into my sleeping area.
I had to turn my laptop around so the camera faced them and ten snap the pictures.
The one standing at the waters edge is a second bird of the same feather; slightly larger, that has recently shown up.
"Now there are two birds," one might think. But, think again: There has arrived a third one of them; the largest of all; rivaling a turkey in size. That one has kept its distance, also staying at the waters edge.
Perhaps the larger ones enjoy fish, while the smallest one favors small mammals.
I have still not been able to positively identify the species of bird; and am thinking of going to an oronthology (or avarology or whatever the branch of science is) website and trying to post on a forum of some kind under the head of "Ask the experts" in order to identify the bird.
They emit a single cry, sounding like "Waauukk!!" upon taking flight.
The smallest bird (inset) and the one which I witnessed making a meal of a rat jumped up upon my cardboard and positioned itself with its head towards a gap in the rocks, as if listening, within seconds of my having put my boots on and walked off a few yards to "use the restroom," as if it had been patiently waiting for me to leave.
Alex In California IDs Bird
 Alex In California, a blog reader had suggested in a comment that the bird might be a Night Heron, and a search of that term produced pretty much a dead ringer for my visitor, though, the neck on the one shown to the right is shorter than the one (and now 3) that frequent the dock (maybe just for the summer months; or maybe because the rat population has exploded under there due to myself as a food provider).
"You Heard Me?"
While conversing with a young black guy, I felt compelled, at one point, to tell him:
"You're 3 feet in front of me, and speaking pretty loudly; the background noise is relatively low; and I have a pretty much average aural capacity ...I think you can forgo asking me if I heard you after every statement that you make....

"And Yet, I Am Unemployable..."
At CVS, when I was getting my apple juice for day 3 of the juice fast, the young black lady behind the counter said not a word to me.
She spoke to the next customer in line though, who happened to be a middle aged black man, asking him how he was doing.
Whaauuk! Say's the Black Crowned Night Heron...
Then she answered his reciprocal inquiry by telling him that she had "sprung" her toe, and that was why she was limping (although she was standing still at the time).
"Maybe you broke it; you should have it checked!" said the concerned guy.
"No, if it was broke I wouldn't be able to walk. It's just fractured." was her self diagnosis.
And yet, I couldn't get a job at CVS if I tried.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Bird Strikes

2 Days Sober
I have mentioned that a certain bird has been ranging closer to my sleeping spot, since showing up about 2 weeks ago. I have not been able to identify it by Googling "southern Louisiana aquatic birds," and so have decided to just try to draw the thing (below).
A few days ago, I woke up to find the thing standing an arms length away from me, intently staring into the gap between rocks where I sometimes place food for the mice to eat.
I said: "Big bird, are you alright; are you alright?" in as soothing a voice as I could muster. It was busy staring into the gap, perfectly motionless.
I didn't want to move quickly and spook it; but that became a mute point; as, it wasn't going anywhere. 
I eventually wanted to reach for a cigarette or something, and so I sat up to do so.
It shifted its gaze to me for a second; gave me a look of annoyance, and then went back to watching the mouse hole.
I dozed off for a while before being woken by squeaking sounds, and the feeling of feathers brushing against my arm. 
The bird had a hold of a mouse or baby rat down a hole right by my side (where a piece of a cookie or something might have fallen from me the night before) and as it fought to keep its balance, and angle its beak better into the gap; its wings were just about flapping in my face.
The mouse or whatever it was, escaped, and the bird gave me another annoyed look and then slowly walked off to another spot.
There was no dust on me.
It is one of those birds (like seagulls) which look a lot bigger than you had thought it was when it is standing right next to you (or towering over you). It has a slightly downward curving black beak which looked a lot bigger and a lot sharper up close than I thought had thought it was, also.
I had tried to feed it before, but had no success with cheese nor oven roasted turkey breast.
I was up most of Monday morning, reading by candlelight, sipping apple juice and distilled water alternately every half hour, as the second day of my fast and cleanse was beginning.
I had dozed off right before sunup, and would wind up sleeping most of the day. My body seemed to be tired from all the tension which I could feel gradually easing up in my neck and upper back.
I woke up to the sound of  a small rat frantically squealing. It is a sound that I have heard in the past, and always attributed to the rats fighting amongst themselves, perhaps over food stolen from me while I was asleep.
About 20 feet away was the bird, which had a rat about the size of a chipmunk by the tail and was shaking it vigorously, as if trying to snap its spine. I put on my glasses and turned on my flashlight for a better look.
The racket which the rat was making made me wonder.
Was it just an uncontrollable reflexive reaction to being in pain, or in fear?
Was it trying to frighten the bird into letting it go?
Was it calling to the other rats to come to its rescue?

Or is it a genetically programmed thing whereby the other rats who aren't doomed become warned that there is a bird around, so that they could be on guard?
I had a notion to try to rescue the rat but was pretty sure that the bird would just fly off with it; keeping out of my reach. Then I thought about how many rats there were; yet only one bird; which makes the bird kind of a novelty.
After almost a minute of being shaken; the rat was still squealing and flailing around.
The bird hopped up onto, and ran the length of, a fallen tree trunk which led to the riverbank, still holding the rat by the tail. There, it dipped the rodent like a teabag into the muddy water, held it there for a few seconds, retracted it; whereupon the rat squealed, then repeated the process until it was silent and still. Then it tilted its head back and swallowed it whole.
I couldn't decide if I had just witnessed nature in all its beauty and splendor; or in all its disgusting cruelty.
"That's f**ked up!" I couldn't help thinking out loud.
We (humans) are supposed to believe that they are (all) dumb animals with no feelings...
Earlier This (Monday) evening, I came out and bought some more apple juice and then walked, feeling light-headed and weak, to the Lilly spot, where I decided not to play at all.
I had no money, but no desire to spend any.
I chose to charge my laptop while making a cartoon drawing of the bird attacking the rat, organizing my folders and writing this blog post.
Skeezers were as bad as I have ever seen them.
Dumb Skeezers With No Feelings
The first thing I saw when I came out onto the river walk was a black guy sitting on the first bench which I came to, who said to a couple who were walking just a little ahead of me, "Can you help me out with a few bucks, so I can get something to eat?"
When I went to get the apple juice, the "I'll bet you 20 dollars I can tell you where you got your shoes!" guy was outside Walgreens pestering a couple people ("You got them on Decatur Street in New Orleans, now pay up; a bet is a bet!").
And, when I came out, the "Party Police" guy was "fining" people because they weren't having enough fun (what a barrel of laughs HE is, and close enough to being dressed in impersonation of a police officer that some of these foreign tourists don't know any better).
When I got to the Lilly spot, I saw more skeezers than tourists, up and down the street, which helped make my decision a bit easier.
After I left, I ran into the guy in the "Sponge Bob" costume, who tried to bum a cigarette. If Sponge Bob didn't make enough for a pack of smokes, then, what was I doing out there?
Then, I ran into Louise the tarot card reader, who asked if she could borrow 3 bucks because she hadn't made anything in 5 hours and was going to need an all day bus pass, so she could eat at all the homeless places (today).
And, here I am, ready to make a very cautious and circuitous trip to the dock. It feels more dangerous around here when the skeezers aren't getting their "way."
Time To Get Out Or Go In
If I don't travel soon; I will have to consider trying to rent a place, possibly from Dorise; and just deal with the possibility that I might fall behind on the rent at times and then catch up on it when the once-in-a-blue-moon 100+ dollar tips come my way. I'm sure she understands the nature of the business; and as long as she doesn't see empty liquor bottles and crack pipes laying around if she comes to do an "inspection," might be willing to work with me..