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.


Alex said...

Alex from the tablet her... Snowball mics are 69bux here at Fry's electronics so I may take the plunge. Lessons with a classically oriented teacher would do me best but I won't be able to afford them until I'm so good its been like I was classically trained so things like a good mic for feedback may help me a lot.

Put a colorful cover on your CDs and they'll sell... Once your victems get back to davenport iowa they'll find out how bad you sound but then it'll be too late lol.

Anonymous said...


Did you know that Jean died?

Daniel McKenna said...

Alex, you could record some trumpet blasts of notes or pieces of melodies and e-mail me the mp3's; then I could load them into Audacity and incorporate them into some song; -one of my ideas is to parody a lot of the performers here (and it will tie in with all the other CDs) -songs by a street musician about other street musicians-
And, Hubert (of Hubert's Trip) plays the trumpet; I have the ability to change tempos and pitches and cut and paste and edit, so I could add a verse about when he played his trumpet at the Grand Canyon and fit it in; or write chords around it to make a new "section"

Alex said...

First, who is jean?

Secondly, Daniel, as long as you are buying booze and weed with food stamps don't expect any more material aid from me. Your artworks are colorful enough to use as CD covers and as for trumpet blasts, why not record them from the performers in the field, explaining carefully to them that you plan to make a song or three making fun of them, theyre sure to go along.

Anonymous said...


This is The Urban Survivalist from the old site.

Did you use the handle "Garlic Breath"?

Alex said...

Ohhhh... I was thinking it must be someone from an old old site... I have a faint memory of a jean, sad to hear it. I still have no idea of who you are so your secret is safe.

Anonymous said...

Do you remember my handle? What happened to the homeless forum anyway?

Alex said...

OK now what forum it was... I don't know what happened to it I don't go to it and haven't in years.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't exist anymore; that's why I asked.

Jean's handle was Milky Way.

Are you still in central CA? Silicon Valley area, right?

Alex said...

I'm still in the silicon valley area yes, still one foot in homelessness, I did actually make enough to pay income taxes last year ... Seven grand which is the kind of money I made right out of high school in non adjusted dollars, back in the early eighties.

Internet is shit here. I have the use of a tablet but a 486 running windows for workgroups would run circles around it! I have part time work and think anyone who depends on the internet for a living is a damned fool.

Anonymous said...

What's life like out there? Weather? Economy? Cops?

Anonymous said...

The weather is decent, the economy sucks but then it does everywhere... I can always hustle up money when I need so there's that.... Hustling awareness ribbons I make I can always make a hundred in a day after expenses on a nice warm day. The cops here are nice no shit, I've never seen them be anything but nice even to homeless people just don't be an ass and you are cop proof here

Anonymous said...

Nice cops?! Wow.

What's the charity like? Are there many soup kitchens?

What are the racial demographics there? I'll assume mostly white and Mexican.

Would you recommend it for a homeless guy?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, frankly I'd recommend San Jose for a homeless guy.

Plenty of charities, if you're a veteran, they especially want to get you off of the street, I've made good money panhandling (years ago and I hope I never need to again but it was a nice $20/hour gig) and once you know the right people (information about soup kitchens is, as always, a closely held secret among the local homeless, you have to talk to *them* to find out about them, dialing 211 is useless, but there are apparently tons of soup kitchens).

Demographically, yeah tons of whites and mexicans, and more blacks than you'd think of San Jose having. Plus Asians of course but not that many Asian homeless folks, just a few.

There are vast homeless camps here, look up "the jungle" in San Jose, it's a real thing, there are also tons of other camps, and lots of almost wilderness places to camp that are still just a bike ride into the middle of town.

There are also opportunities to climb out of homelessness, like jobs selling flowers, selling ice cream (gotta push a heavy cart for miles) jobs in car washes, stuff like that, Labor Ready downtown, etc. Plus you can do street art, street music, imagination is the only limit.

Yeah. Recommend.