Thursday, December 18, 2014

30 Dollar Wednesday

Wednesday morning, after waking up with about 8 of the 9 dollars, which I had made the previous night ($14 total, after a black guy, who had a wad of cash, handed me 5 dollars when I was in the Wal-Greens, buying a bag of chips and a half gallon of prune juice at 2 AM, on my way to the sign spot; he may have seen the prune juice and felt sorry for me ...I've been constipated before, dude, and it's no fun...) I went to the Starbucks to blog.

I left the prune juice at the sign spot; effectively postponing my Dr. Christophers' 3 day fast and cleanse and mucous free diet project; for at least one more day.

I ran into David the water jug player, who had asked me if I had any weed.

"No, if I spend 5 bucks on a "nick," it will only leave me 3 dollars for beer."

Having at least enough beer money to get drunk is to me what that blanket was to Linus in the Peanuts comics -something which David understood perfectly. "Go about your business, man! To tell you the truth, I'm already high and have drank 2 half pints of vodka, already!"


As I blogged yesterdays post, I was listening to one of the albums which I had burned onto my stick at the library, then transferred to my laptop.

It is convenient for me to check out 2 (my maximum) CD's upon each visit to the library, and burn them to the stick, while I blog on the library computer; then transfer them at Starbucks.

I am starting with the "A" section of the libraries CD rack, and working my way through the alphabet. Yesterday, I burned a Brian Adams disc, and a Greg Allman one.

Record Review

The Brian Adams disc, entitled "The Tracks Of My Years," is full of cover songs, which were meaningful to Brian, back in the 70's; and which had become "engrained" in him, as he put it in the liner notes.

I was immediately impressed by 2 things: The amount of energy the guy puts into his vocals -he really is a "belter,"- and the sound quality, which stirred up insecurity in me about my potential to approach his sonic level, even with the snowball microphone. It really is a "good sounding" album, even if you hate the songs and/or hate Bryan Adams.

A Sound Comparison

Johnny B.'s CD, which he played for me in his apartment, sounded as good as Bryans.

"I spent $30,000 on that CD; It'd better sound good. Plus, my brother is one of the top engineers in the business," said Johnny B., about it.

4 Out Of 5 Stars

The downside of Bryan's album is that, there are some songs which he belts out; where his voice sounds a bit cracked and, perhaps, damaged after years of performing. 

And, it is as the album progresses that the rasp intensifies, as if he recorded them all in that order, in one session. In fact, in the last few, he sounds irritatingly (to me) like Rod Stewart. I have hated Rod's voice ever since hearing "Maggie Mae," when I was in the 8th grade. It wasn't every schoolboy's dream to sing like him. He sounded (and sounds) "horse."

I never pressed Johnny B. for more information, to satisfy my mild curiosity about which famous artists his famous brother has engineered.

He once told me that he, himself, has had songs "on the radio." 

I keep asking him his last name; then keep forgetting it (probably because I brush by him at 2 AM, at the end of my night, and well into a "blackout" stage, often).

I started to show Johnny the snowball mic and extoll its virtues; and he cut me off with: "Dude, there are 15 thousand dollar mics out there; I'm not going to be impressed by any 50 dollar job, out of Radio Shack!"

So be it.
Nice Recording, Daniel!

Maybe I can aim for "1950's Chuck Berry" quality recordings to get me started. Hey, that was good enough to get The Fonz and Pinky Tuscadero Rocking at the hop...

I had stopped at the Veaux Carre Baptist church on Dauphine Street before going to Starbucks to blog; trying to get some more thermal protection out of their clothing room.

I got the two extra tee shirts, and the wool socks; and a barrage of questions from Luke, who was the one who had handed them to me.

He wanted to know if I was "saved," told me that I didn't sound too "sure" after I said: "Sure," and, I was eventually able to escape with the shirts and socks; after being prayed over.

I made a beeline for The Unique Grocery, and my first beer of the evening, feeling like an immoral heathen (the cost of free clothes from a church) every step of the way. Nothing makes you feel like a beer more than having someone trying to convince you that you don't need one for a half hour.

I drank the beer before updating the blog, and then another, as I walked down Royal Street.

The second beer had only cost me 25 cents, after I had handed the Ethiopian guy 2 dollars for a $1.25 can, whereupon he asked me: "Why did you give me 2 dollars?," handed one of them back to me, plus 75 cents, out of 4 quarters, which he (magically?) had in his hand. I normally would have pointed out the mistake to him; but being so broke....

He will remind me tonight, if he noticed; and I will unflinchingly apologize for my oversight and give him a buck.

Maybe the prayers were working...

I had 5 dollars left, and detoured to Sydneys for one more beer, before going to the Lilly spot.

The first hour or so produced no money for the tiposaurus at all, but rather, some sarcastic comments made by some types who reminded me of the kids I went to Catholic high school with. "You're awesome, man! Keep rocking!" Like a kid who is insecure and jealous.

I kept my cool, and tried to push any thoughts out of my head that I was being punished by God for drinking beer after having been prayed for.

Lilly came by and we talked for a while about where I had been; and I regaled her with The Leslie Thompson Story.

I took a break and spent myself down to almost nothing at Sydneys, and then returned, thus fortified, to play some more.

After almost another hour of being either ignored, or hearing more juvenile heckling, by people who all seemed to be of the same ilk from the same cheap country, and with the all the beer gone; my mood began to darken; and I started to slip lyrics like: "What if you worked all night and didn't get paid?," and "It's alright, I don't have to eat tonight" into my improvs.

The "Point Of Quitting" Effect

At the point when I had just about had enough, and had packed up the tiposaurus, but not the guitar yet; a kid of about 18 or so, sat down about 4 feet to my left.

I deemed him a "traveling kid,' by dint of his backpack and attire, though he seemed to have perfect teeth.

I grabbed my ax, and went into kind of a crunchy metal type rhythm and vented my anger lyrically; kind of feeling like I, at least, had the perfect audience, in him (and before he could ask me to play some Sublime or Radiohead).

It became apparent that he had no money; after he complimented my music profusely, and then added the: "I wish I had some money, 'cause I'd hook you up!" which every busker hears, every once in a while.

I played some more, venting more angst; and a guy came and placed 2 dollars on my backpack as, I had been so close to packing up and leaving, that I didn't even have the tiposaurus out, nor my case open.

"The Guy Who Wants To Play Your Guitar" Rears His Head

"Sure, if you put 10 bucks in my case..."
Then, up walked a thin young guy, who had dollar bills pinned to his black tee shirt; advertising that it was his birthday.

He asked me if he could play something on my guitar.

I hesitated and contemplated saying: "Sure, if you tip me 10 bucks, in case you break a string." That is exactly what Jay the really loud singer would have said; I've heard him say that after people merely request a song.

As I hesitated further, he appended: "...or sing along with you," whereupon I agreed, and we both sang "For No One," by The Beatles, as I played.

A lady soon materialized, who was on her phone, trying to locate her husband. She (almost absentmindedly, it seemed) threw a couple bucks to the tiposaurus, which was back out; as I had changed my mind about quitting after having gotten the first tip of the night, which was 2 hours old. The persuasion of 2 dollars...

Now You Can Play

Then, I ceded my guitar to the birthday guy; especially after he had asked a guy, who was wearing a shirt and a tie and carrying a Hurricane drink from Lafitts, and who had quipped: "Sounds good," as he walked past if he would (consequently) throw me a dollar or two. And since, by then, I had placed him with the non-skeezing population of the planet. Even the way that he had asked the gentleman if he would tip me was easy, not skeezy.

The guy threw 2 bucks.

The birthday guy played "Crazy Love," by Van Morrison on the Takamine and we harmonized, while more money went to the tiposaurs. 

Then, after a few verses, I recognized that the chords were the same as those to "The Weight," by The Band, and I broke into that; and the birthday guy knew it; and we sang and harmonized and a splendid time was had.

After he handed the guitar back to me, I played one of my originals, which he liked so much that he pulled one of the dollars off of his birthday shirt and gave it to me.

By then, there was another young lady listening, and I felt like I was playing and singing well enough to welcome her attention, and her 2 dollars. There

"Wow, You Weren't Even Playing!"

It slowed down, traffic-wise, as midnight approached, and the traveling kid and I had a metaphysical discussion about time and mass and energy and the power of love, etc. during which a guy came "from out of nowhere" and put 20 dollars next to the tiposaurus.

"Wow, your weren't even playing!" exclaimed the traveling kid.

Maybe he was tipping our conversation about the power of love...

Skeeze Not, Want Not

To his credit, the traveling kid never tried to skeeze me, and I ultimately asked him if he needed a couple of dollars (out of the 30 or so).

I saw a correlation between the disproportional amount of 2 dollar tips, rather than ones, and the fact that the kid was sitting by me -with perfect teeth; and looking like River Phoenix or Johnny Depp or one of those guys.

I'm not a good judge of beauty in other men; but the predominately gay part of the quarter where I play is...

He didn't need a couple of dollars.

That fact, and the perfect teeth lead me to believe that he was probably the kid of wealthy parents, who was sowing his oats, or going astray, depending upon ones perspective.

Now it is Thursday night, as I wrap this up; it is 6:07 PM.

It is lightly raining. And about 55 degrees. Darn.

The Recovery Is On

I bought razors, showered and shaved at the VA, and am on my way to get batteries for the spotlight; so that I can be illuminated, after 3 weeks of darkness (and ranting, raving lunacy).

The only thing I am missing is patchouli oil (Lilly likes it).

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