Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Thompson Residence

I am at the library, it is Saturday, late afternoon.
I wanted to come here to burn at least a couple of CDs to my data stick. It would be nice to have something new to listen to.
I woke up this morning on Leslie's floor. I had been having weird dreams.
Leslie is off for the entire 4 day Thanksgiving "weekend."
I am very cognizant of the fact that I had lived with Leslie on a prior occasion; one which ended in a violent separation; and I am vigilant of the same contributing factors in our current arrangement.
Leslie focuses all of his attention on his "housemate," when they are both home.
He woke up this morning and asked me what I wanted to do on this particular day.
I wanted to make it a very productive day.
I could see myself studying sheet music for a couple hours, then, coming here to the library to rip some new music, and then going back to the house to work for about 5 hours on my upcoming CD, and then going into the Quarter to play the Lilly spot into the wee hours of the morning, so as to reduce my dependence upon Leslie's money.
I told him that I wanted to run up to Canseco's Market to get some Goody's Powder to hopefully help beat back the last of a nagging flu which I have had the past few days.
He wanted to come with me.
I started feeling like I was attached to him at the hip; why would he want to walk to the store with me, when I was going to return?
We got the the store where Leslie informed me that he had 4 dollars to go in on a 1.5 liter bottle of wine. I put in the supplementary 4 dollars, and we walked out of there, before noon on a Saturday, with a magnum of chardonnay.
I tried to ascertain just what Leslie's plans were for the day and to arrange things so that I would have time to come to the library and then have the house empty, so that I could record some music, and work it around both of our schedules; but it started to dawn upon me that Leslie's plans might have been only to become inebriated and to have some other person that he could focus all his attention on and involve the attention of and basically usurp 24 hours from...
I am in the Quarter now, under 10 dollars on me; and ready to start making my way again, playing music and weaning myself off of the Thompson residence... 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sunday Night Ghost Town

I woke up Sunday, under the dock, at about noon, after having caught up on all the sleep I missed Friday night.
Tori Amos
I emerged with 6 dollars and 60 cents on me.
I wanted to watch football, and was able to find the Patriots game on a TV and saw the last quarter of it. I know that watching football is almost a luxury that I can't afford.
Then, I bought a half pint of vodka and came here to Starbucks to do yesterdays post.
Leslie had taken the bus back to his house with the $1.25 which I had given him.
There he sat, totally broke and waiting for Thursday to come, when he will be paid again.
I'm sure he was on the phone all day, looking for a loan which he would pay back then; so he could be in beer and weed until that time.
I just didn't have the resources to take the bus out to his neighborhood to get him and then pay both of our fares back; it wouldn't have left anything for the half pint of vodka.
I said that it was doubtful that I would make it back on the last (10:15) bus out on Sunday.
This morning I woke up under the dock just about flat broke and with my chest feeling tight; reigniting speculation that it is something that I am breathing under there which brought on my respiratory issues of about 3 months ago.
Monday Night Football is in town tonight, with the Baltimore Ravens visiting.
Ironically, my last set of clean clothes which I donned consists of black pants with a purple shirt (the Baltimore Ravens colors).
I might have to do something about that before sitting down to play, perhaps put the semi-clean black shirt from my pack on, in order to stay neutral.
Baltimore Rock?
Are their any famous bands from Baltimore which I may be able to prostitute out there???
OK, I just Googled that, and it looks like I should have learned a Tori Amos song, how to croon like Billie Holiday; or play some Phillip Glass.
After the game ends; I might have just enough time to make the last bus back to Leslie's, where I could spend Tuesday and Wednesday recording while he is as work.
It would be nice to have the 4 dollars to give him each day so that he can pass out on 48 ounces of 8% cheap malt liquor.
I am going out soon; totally sober.
I'll be starting out the tiposaurus with nothing, and will hope to have the first dollar thrown to me quickly, so it will attract more.
Then, after everybody is in the stadium, I can run to the big Rouses Market for my first beer of the day...or an energy drink.
I can feel another attempt at sobriety coming on.
I am to the point where, half of the time, drinking puts me out of the mood for busking.
There is the conflict of values because in my heart of hearts I know that
Thanksgiving morning, the House of Blues on Decatur Street will be serving their annual meal to any and all. Last year it was a blend of people from all walks of life; about 30% skeezers.
The food was brought in by a catering service and there were huge pans of all kinds of Thanksgiving fare.
I only ate a little bit of turkey, then, with very little gravy and avoided most of the rest, out of fear of eating soybean oil and waking up with a stiff neck and kinks in my back, swollen glands, etc.
Leslie looks forward to eating "a hundred dollar meal, for free," and has been talking about it for the past couple weeks now.
It is about time for me to go over to the Super Dome, and hopefully not encounter any resistance to myself sitting on a milk crate at my spot and playing one or two songs repetitively, hoping at least the harmonica will attract people from up to 50 feet away.
I have no idea how much, if anything, I will make.
I just don't want to be paralyzed by trepidation and not even make the effort.
If playing sober isn't fun; I should look for another profession.
The guitar has brand new strings on it, thanks to Brian Hudson, who gave me a set on credit the other night.
I can always walk the 3.5 miles to Leslie's house, should I not even be able to clear $1.25.
The 136 dollar night, 16 days ago, is becoming a fading memory...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How Leslie Works

I am sitting in Starbucks on a Sunday afternoon.
I am craving a cigarette.
The weekend was chaotic.
"Am I contributing to the chaos of the weekend, Daniel??"

click here >>>Here Is A Song/Medley: "Dreaming Of Tanya on Venus"
Leslie does not work on the weekends. What he does, I discovered is talk incessantly; this after getting some alcohol and/or weed into himself; the thing which is job 1.
To his credit, he has been making it to his job on time every morning -waking up without the aid of an alarm clock at 6:30 AM, this, after having passed out merely 4 or 5 hours prior in quite a stupor.
Then, it is incumbent upon myself to shake myself out of my own stupor under the same conditions and drink an energy drink or a coffee as soon as the door slams behind him as he sets out upon his 16 minute walk to the job site.
And then set up the Snowball microphone on the literal coffee table; break out my notebook/scratchpad and the issues of Sheet Music magazine which I have been transporting at the clip of 10 at a time; from the sign spot to Leslie's house.
I don't want to laden my backpack any further and risk cracking the screen on this laptop, as has happened the the last 2 of them...
"I'm on 5 hours of sleep; read my palm; that V shape above my thumb
is when I will kill someone who won't shut up!"

I have been making strides in recording with the Snowball microphone, and have immersed myself in the projects such that I have lost track of time and missed meeting Leslie at the Shell station after he gets off work.
The Shell station is a 15 minute walk from the house, as it is right by the University of New Orleans, which is where Leslie works, for the Popeyes Chicken franchise which is located on the campus.
The Shell being where the closest can of cold beer is to Leslie's job site, he makes a bee line there, and if his manner of greeting me when I have rendezvoused with him there is any indication, he appreciates the opportunity to drink with someone else. 
I hear everything, Daniel...

But, it doesn't have to be myself; sometimes someone else will show up whisk him away.
So far, when one of us has had money the other has not.
While he was waiting for his paycheck, I basically bought all the beer.
I was able to purchase two 24 ounce cans of Hurricane Lager, and administer them to him; and these would effectively put him in a state of mind where his prime concern would become "I just want to go and lay down in a warm house..."
This only cost me about 4 dollars per day. I was able to stretch the 136 dollars which I made on a Saturday 2 weeks ago for quite a while, even after spending the first 55 dollars of it on the Snowball microphone...
Leslie has weekends off.
Friday night, I had played at the Lilly spot from about 10 PM until 12:08 AM.
The latter time is etched into my memory because the last bus back to Leslies house departed 23 minutes prior to the time when I first had the impulse to check the time.
I wound up playing longer; but afterwards spending much of the 23 dollars which I had made while waiting all morning for the first bus to run.
I got back to Leslies and 7 in the morning.
Before I had slept 5 hours, he was awake and had found the half bottle of whiskey which I had found on the sidewalk while walking around the Quarter; and had placed atop the refrigerator.
I could tell from the tone of his conversation (which technically wasn't a conversation because I was trying to sleep for another 3 hours) and the fact that it kept coming back to the bottle of whiskey atop the refrigerator "...I see you brought home almost a half bottle of whiskey...hmmm..." and then shortly thereafter "...Kentucky Dale; I've had that before, it's not bad..."
I was quick to tell him to help himself to the whiskey.
It then became impossible for me to go back to sleep, as he drank whiskey and talked and eventually shouted, as if he was in a bar with loud music playing.
And he would shout rhetorical questions "How could somebody do that!?!" but questions nonetheless; and, even after I tried to mumble my answers "...I don't know, Leslie..." in the most sleepy tones which I could muster, he wouldn't stop talking.
For 7 hours he gabbed, recycling a lot of material from past rants.
I eventually determined that I was going to have to go into the Quarter on 5 hours of sleep and play with worn out strings on my guitar.
I then felt sorry for Leslie after he stated his intention to walk the 3.5 miles into the Quarter, not asking me if he could borrow the $1.25 which it would take.
He phoned a couple people trying to get a ride.
I gave him the money for a bus ride, after pushing the emotions out of my head from feeling that I had been manipulated
I should have gone into the back room to sleep. I don't know if this would have helped or if he would have pursued me there and talked my ear off.
Now it is Sunday, and I slept under the dock last night.
I went there when Leslie went to the bus stop, where the first bus home in the morning would stop, with the intention of sleeping on the bench while he waited.
There was evidence of someone else having been at my spot under there. Things moved around or missing, and an empty suitcase with a handle and busted wheels discarded.
It was pretty chilly, but the quilt was up to the task, though it needs to be washed.
I stand to benefit by making the arrangement with Leslie work out.
I could have about 40 hours per week of studio time in a place which is relatively quiet. I would just have to disappear on the weekends, maybe just crash under the dock on Friday and Saturday nights.
Then, there has been the interruption in my quest to get housing of my own.
It would be possible to take a 30 minute bus ride to get to the Rebuild Center to check my mail and continue my pursuit of getting a medicaid card and a house; can't forget the house, either.

So, where it stands now, I will try to get as much quality recording and practicing in; and might consider a 5 or 6 week jaunt to a place such as Arizona for the winter.
Busking generally pays better outside of New Orleans, especially if you are "from New Orleans," and I think I could pass the coldest month comfortably and then get back here in time for Mardi Gras.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Huberts Trip

This is my "Alice's Restaurant" of songs, I suppose, but I hope to make it less repetitive and less a song that one has a once-yearly tolerance for, around Thanksgiving.
This is about the first third of the song, and is a
Hubert's Trip (first leg)

Click here to hear)

skeleton, compared to the finished version that I envision.
The advancement that I made here is the realization that a song which I have played several times has a lot of advantages as a vehicle to make a recording of, than a song which is being improvised (pulled out of one's ass).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

8 Days Away

well, hello It has been 8 days since I bought the Snowball microphone and holed myself up at Leslie's house, where, while he was at work, I could record.

The First Snowball Recording: "Now I Can Suck In Full Blown Stereo" (Click Here, I Can't get it to be underlined)

The "Snowball" microphone, made by Blue has kept me in the "studio" and away from this blog; but, now for some catching up...

I hope you enjoyed that song.
I was so tickled to have such audio capabilities that my mind soon turned to , and their sonic capabilities....
Tanya and Dorise

I wake up at Leslie's and there is beer and weed laying around the place.
The Tanya Song (raw) (Click here and crank it)

I decided to work on "Oh, Tanya" for a second day; mostly because that second day was so cold that going into the Quarter to busk seemed a risky gambit.
Going into the Quarter to sleep on a bed of mulch under a bush was a questionable prospect to me, also.
It was the second day which produced the above song.
The above song is like the second song that I did with mybrand new Snowball microphone.

Sidebar: The snowball microphone sat there like an extraterrestrial visitor; waiting to record me and beam the signal back somewhere...
I intend to add to it (the song) before I play it for Tanya and Dorise, during one of their breaks...

Right Now
Right now, I am at Starbucks on a Tuesday night.
Leslie is out front busking with his brand new bongos.
Yes, Leslie bought bongos with his last paycheck; but not before paying the light bill.
The bongos are featured on a recording which I am uploading right now; which is the next progression of the Tanya song above.
In many ways it is better; in one way it is worse. The original had the passion of  man who realizes that he needs a certain woman fresh in the air; mistakes and glitches notwithsatnding.

The Next Song
Is a gem.
It is a symphony which features 9 tracks; all of myself. I was tempted to try to make it sound like Prince.
I have had the luxury of waking up in a house with the heater set on low but going; and in a quiet atmosphere which begs the plugging in of the Snowball microphone.
I have spent maybe 5 hours on this song; I prefer to spend 6 to 8 months, like the real artists; but; once again I am impatient and will "release" music which is not quite perfect but is much better than the imperfect music previously posted. (click here, if you have the stomach)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

100 Dollar Saturday

Having made over 100 dollars on Saturday night, I am turning my attention towards getting a USB microphone

This (below) is the most recent recording which I have made in the silence and reverberation of the back room at Leslie's house.
It is just me jamming on the chords to "Love Me Do," by The Beatles with the guitar and harmonica; with the idea being to get the best possible sound.
Now that I have the money for a USB microphone, there should be a noticeable improvement therein; in the near future.

I didn't wind up playing Friday night, as I was matching Leslie, drink for drink.
Saturday, he was finished by about 3 PM, and took the bus home.
I wound up playing for quite a while, perhaps 4 hours and making a little over 100 dollars; with one 50 dollar tip helping matters.
I was playing "Sweet Home Alabama," in a regular rotation, and there were certainly a lot of Alabama fans here; because of the big Alabama/LSU game; 50 dollar tippers that they are.....

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Past Week A Blur

As I sit here at the library, it is Tuesday afternoon at around 3:30 PM.
I am missing the "feeding" in the park across the street, served weekly at this time by a mostly vegetarian group from somewhere.
It is possible that they are getting paid through some non-profit "feed the homeless" organization; because they are pretty punctual and their food is of a consistently high quality; they know their cumin and their chipotle.
Leslie has called.

His next 504 dollars will not come for another 9 days.
So that means that the last installment has weathered 5 days of his reckless; impulsive spending.
He told me that he was coming into town.
I am curious about how much money he will have with him; I could hear faint reverberations of that particular tone of voice that he uses when he is broke. It the "I hate to ask; but I DO get paid in just 8 days...." tone.
On a Tuesday night there is not much for me to do except to try to put in a few hours of playing at some point during the night.
2 Dollar Monday
Last (Monday) night, after I had watched the entire Monday Night Football game from outside the Royal Sonesta, consuming about a quart of beer through each quarter of the game, I went to find the Lilly spot very barren of traffic. I made 2 dollars off of a total of about 12 people that walked past me between 10:30 and midnight.
The Leslie Conundrum
 I had a talk with David the water jug player about Leslie.

He was curious about why I "liked" Leslie.

I came to the conclusion that Leslie, if managed properly; can be an asset.

He hates to come home to an empty house (and used to imprison his friends at his former residence which was buttressed by fences and barbed wire).

I had a good time recording music in the empty room at the back of his place. He was at work, and it was quiet there; especially after I unplugged the refrigerator.

Quality Not High Enough To Warrant Staying At Leslie's

Listening back to the outcome of the first recording session there (which can be heard in yesterdays post) it became apparent to me that; until I get a better microphone than the one built in to this laptop then it is not worth the aggravation for me to try to use his house to record during the days when he is at work.

20 Empties In The Morning
While I was there; I washed all the dishes which were piled up in the sink; wiped down the counters and threw out the trash after gathering it up off the floor and the tables. About 20 empty Abita Beer bottles the bulk of it comprised....

He came home from work with about 3 beers in his stomach and 9 more in his insulated beer toting pack. Then, the challenge for me became how to escape graciously from his hospitality and come back in to the Quarter so that I could at least work a few hours.

Leslie would have preferred that I hang out there at the house and use "our" money to keep a constant flow of beer going.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Leslie House Jam

Two Links Below
If I have made any progress in recording music lately; it may be because I have found a quiet room in Leslies new house; where I can lock the door to the place when recording, and have a much lower level of stress about someone trying to rob me of my stuff while I'm using it...
The two links below are a couple of the better things that I recorded at Leslies new house, while he was at work....... 

Because (mp3)