Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New Orleans Fat Tuesday Nudity

(I am trying to break the record for most hits upon this blog)
Ά Ash Wednesday And A New Moon 
Answer To Comments Section
 Now's the time to at the very least look into one of those mic and Bluetooth setups like street preachers use because then you can stop straining your voice. You gotta croon, bro. I'm normally anti amplification, but except for opera, voice has been aided since it was possible, almost 100 years ago, and street-shouting is out.

Response (To Alex In California): After dropping 25 bucks on the juicer; which will fortify me immediately with health benefits, I plan upon going after an amp and a mic; but rather than jump on Royal Street with them; at least right away; I will use it to boost my vocals and add a bit of reverberation at the Lilly spot; bringing my voice up comfortably over the guitar but only increasing the overall volume by a few decibels. The payoff will be in that I can get right up on the mic and reproduce vocalists like Rick Ocasek, of the band The Cars, who basically kind of warbles and groans; or even some of the more subtle Elvis Costello stuff like "Beyond Belief," which is a nice melody, but it is as if he is singing it in someones ear, as if the lyrics are a secret.
It is already Fat Tuesday; the day before Ash Wednesday; and the last day of Mardi Gras; the last hurrah and the last chance to tip street musicians; ostensibly in a lump sum to bring them current for the whole carnival.

It will be the "we've been hearing you all week, and you sounded good; we hope to see you next year" 20 dollar bills falling to the tiposaurus, I hope.

I did not play last (Monday) night; I slept.

Sleeping Schedule Inverted For my part, I have inverted my sleeping schedule by sleeping from 2:30 PM, Monday, until just now, 2:55 AM, Fat Tuesday. Three hours into the day to end all days of the festival.

I worked on, and completed, the jigsaw puzzle, finding to my dismay that it is missing 2 (out of a thousand) pieces. I had planned upon using it and future puzzles as wall art, by stiffening them with Jigsaw Puzzle Glue©* and then hanging them at various places on the walls here.

*I think that, instead of paying like 4 bucks for a bottle of Jigsaw Puzzle Glue, which comes with its own glue brush affixed to the inside lid, and is made "specifically" for gluing puzzle pieces together, I can just get a 69 cent bottle of Elmers Glue, water it down some, and then use a 59 cent watercolor brush to spread it. Puzzle glue, at 4 bucks a pop, looks suspiciously like watered down Elmers; the object being to dilute it so it won't go on and dry too thickly, possibly clouding the image behind it.

It has been raining off and on, just like it did Sunday (7 Dollar Sunday, for those keeping a tally) and my window is cold to the touch, supporting the weatherman's theory that it would be in the low 40's (and raining off and on) now.
On The Puzzle (left): The 2 missing pieces out of 1,000 are in the green bow of the woman in the foreground; and on the hard wood floor, bottom right.
҉ Money
 Having gotten enough sleep, I am now in a position to do the "marathon" set of busking; where I will try to break my record (of about 5 and a half hours) as being the longest that I have ever gone in a day, since I came to New Orleans 3 and a half years ago.

ה Health I have gone 14 days without drinking; and Fat Tuesday, upon completion, would make 15...

But, I have an almost full 375ml bottle of Skyy Vodka, sitting on the bed stand of the bed where I don't sleep; it is the bottle that I don't drink. It would make a great gift for David the water jug player; who normally drinks Skol vodka; from the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. I have already made a gift to him of the blue guitar; the very same "Skyye" blue, and there would be something very cosmic about me giving him that excellent vodka which costs 4 times that of what he drinks.

He might even (if he drops acid) see a connection between myself and my blue gifts to him. Then, if he were to run into "Blue" the stripper friend of mine; and she were to ask him if he had seen me; and he were to respond: "Yeah, I saw him earlier"...he gave me a blue bottle of vodka...and she were to reply: "Well, if you see him again, will you tell him that Blue is looking for him?" then that would be cool, and he would really be getting his moneys worth out of the acid; with THAT additional mind blowing.

Ancient History: 1998 I was once on a vodka "kick," back in 1998/1999. I was living with the Russians at the time. Nina, my wife, (by an arranged financial agreement) who was 4 years my elder; and her son, Michael, 22 at the time.

I will retro-fit some of that history into this blog when I have the time to fluff out those years at the end of the last century; a time when becoming a busker in New Orleans was not even yet a gleam in my eye.

But there was vodka; and plenty of it.

To the Russians credit, they did enjoy their vodka, but in metered portions. During any given meal, an average of 4 or 5 toasts would be performed when the 50ml drams would be clinked together over some gibberish in Russian (which, by the end of a year I was starting to get the gist of), followed by "Daviy!" (which I already knew meant: "Let's go") right before the swallowing. They would often bite into a pickle and then inhale the essence of the same pickle immediately thereafter, as a chaser. These toasts would come at intervals which basically followed the 4 or 5 courses of the meal. Then, the table being cleared; strong coffee and tea and "tort," or cake would be set out; and a nod would be given towards sobering up a bit, before the revelers endeavored to drive home.

I became a connoisseur of vodka, learning that the Smirnov no. 21 (at about 12 bucks a bottle) was the everyday table vodka to go with everyday meals; but brands such as Absolut, Ketel One, Three Olives, Stolichnaya, and a brand that has a beautiful stained glass-like "painting" that can be seen through the vodka thats name escapes me.."Cathedral?" (all 20 or 30 something a bottle) were broken out upon special occasions.

It seemed like we had 2 or 3 "special occasions" each week at our residence ("Tonight we having party; is Marat's Birthday...") given the natural holidays like Christmas and New Years, added to all the family celebrations. And so, I became a connoisseur of vodka. Until one day; and this kind of brings things to the present.

In all of my trips to the liquor store to try a different expensive vodka (Nina had a bottomless purse) I one day was attracted to Skyy vodka, which is made in San Francisco and comes in a blue bottle.

The young guy working at the store told me that a popular way to serve Skky vodka was "frozen."

You put the blue bottle in the freezer where it would sit but the vodka wouldn't freeze. I suppose its temperature would drop down to freezing, or below, if that's physically possible; but it would remain liquid; and you would drink it that way.

At the time; after a couple month long affair with vodka, I was starting to wonder if the kinks in my neck that I often woke up with were related to vodka, which is made from grain, but one doesn't know which grains -could be corn, or wheat or even potato.

The Skkye Was The Limit

My first shot of frozen Skky vodka made me feel kind of queasy and I could almost feel my neck wanting to stiffen up. I put the bottle back in the freezer and left it there.

That was when I quit drinking vodka (16 years ago) and went back to red wine as my nightly staple. The blue bottle sat there in the freezer for months, being shuffled in and out of the way of other frozen things in there. I never did finish it; and it was eventually probably given to one of Michaels less savory guests from the latter period of my stay there after Michael had discovered American drugs and the pedigree of his visitors trended downward. But that is another story for another time.

So now, I have sitting in my apartment a bottle of Skyye Vodka, either a symbol of quitting; or; the bottle could be sitting there saying: "You never finished me, Daniel. I sat in the freezer for months until Michael traded me for crack. That guy in the store who told you to serve me ice cold was a fool (he doesn't work there anymore, you know). You never gave me a chance, try me at room temperature...you can look out your window at the pretty Fat Tuesday parades as you do. It's been 16 years, Daniel...finish me off!!"

I am pretty sure that any of you readers who are recovered alcoholics (and you can remain anonymous; just use your first name) would tell me to get the bottle out of my apartment immediately; as if it were a bomb which mercifully has not detonated and detroyed the place; yet.

It is now 4:30 AM, and I am very well rested. I think I needed the sleep because, after having given up upon the jigsaw puzzle when my progress slowed way down; I woke up and snapped the remaining 75 pieces or so into place in short order.

The sun will rise in less than 2 hours; and, if I were to decide to run to the Big Easy Market (7 minutes walk away) and back; I am sure that the skies would already be starting to lighten up, making me feel safer, to offset the dangers in the pack of fresh cigarettes which would be in my pocket on the way back.

6AM I have returned from the store; it was pretty cold out. My fingers were stinging, indicating temperatures at or below 40 degrees.
A rare aspect showing Lilly spot, left of green hedge

My plans to play a lot today, into tonight, will have to revolve around the thermometer. The forcast high, of somewhere in the 50's will be OK, until the high pressure sets in, with its cooler temperatures. It will depend a lot upon the amount of foot traffic out there, whether or not I just sit there with the guitar, after it becomes too cold to play; and gather in a few tips for at least making and effort, or by playing the simplest 3 chord songs that I can pull off when the temperature is in the high 30's. ("Take It Easy," by The Eagles or "Knocking On Heavens Door," by Bob Dylan, perhaps).

I have put my backpack, heavy jacket and one hoodie in the wash, and may follow them with a second load of the rest of my stuff, minus what I am wearing.

As soon as they are dry; I am good to go into the Quarter, where I may try to find a new (to me) and interesting "daytime" spot to play at; or I might just take my chances at the Lilly spot. There certainly might be people who are hanging out at Lafitts Blacksmith Shop Tavern, since a lot of them have had all week to discover it.

At midnight, the police do a "ceremonial" sweeping of Bourbon Street, at the commencement of Ash Wednesday, kind of mixing church and state; and the street does kind of thin out after that. People in the know will get their partying done before then; and I might have a pretty good 6PM til midnight shift. Or, perhaps people will vacate the business end of Bourbon at midnight, but not being content to stop partying then, will seek refuge at Lafitts, where the tentacles of the public spectacle of the police ceremoniously running the people away, don't reach.

Who knows. I don't remember what happened last year and the year before.

In my 14 days without drinking, I have seen more pot just magically appear out of nowhere, have not been able to curtail my tobacco use, and I sit up from the time I get home at 2 in the morning, until well after sunup, drinking a lot of strong coffee.
Full Beers, everywhere...

When I go out; the thing I look forward to most; on my way to sitting next to a bottle of fruit juice and playing music for drunk people; is the energy drink that I will buy along the way. And these too, have morphed from the sugar free 0 calorie ones, which I took in for their B vitamins and their other mystic herbs like milk thistle and saw palmetto, guarana and (probably the only "real" active ingredient) caffeine -and which tasted good to a guy who had been living on water for 3 days- into the coffee flavored ones, loaded with heavy cream and sugar, and with the vitamins and herbs added as almost an afterthought. These are delicious, of course (and at 3 bucks a pop, they should be) but are targeted towards the heavy cream and sugar addict who started young with almost a whole box of Count Chocula cereal in milk (which would end up being chocolate milk in the bottom of the bowl) and now, as an adult, still can't let go...

The life-affirming diet which I started with fruit juice only, then distilled water only, has eroded to the point where, last night, I cracked open one of the cans of "cooked beef" (ingredients: beef, salt) that came in the big box of cans that Travers had given me on the night when we retrieved Howard from the woods; and ate some, along with my pasta and vegetables.

I woke up kind of lethargic, kind of achy, kind of depressed, in a manner similar to what was common when I was drinking; at about 10PM, with about 6 hours of sleep under my belt and time still to hop a cable car and be at the Lilly spot for the prime hours; but decided to sleep it off. The rain pelting my window, and its coldness to the touch sealed the deal.

It is now 5 AM, Fat Tuesday; and I contemplate the run to the store for cigarettes and an energy drink.

I will take a hot bath and then meditate; and hopefully settle upon a strategy for facing the day. I will need batteries for the spotlights; but cannot think much past that; oh, and a set list of songs that I know but often forget that I know, when I am trying to fill more than 5 hours with playing.

The washer should have stopped by now; and I can smell the potatoes baking in my oven. I am using the timer for the dual purpose of baking the potatoes and timing my laundry, so that I can tend to it as soon as the machines stop; so as to save time. I hope I don't wind up with wet clothes and burned potatoes, though...

I just ran to the corner bar for more quarters for the dryer and it is pretty darned chilly and raw out.

I will go into the Quarter and look around, but first I will don many layers of freshly washed and dried clothes. 

Addendum: I am now at EnVie Cafe. I am on my second double espresso.
They are doing a thriving business; so much so that one of the barristers was visibly stressed out; didn't laugh at my jokes; nor give a little bit of ice to a guy who walked up and asked. They were selling a lot of their alcoholic coffee drinks. I hadn't even noticed that they had them; I guess they downplay them by the time I usually arrive around midnight. Coffee and whiskey; coffee and shnapps.....
I am soon going to the Lilly spot to test the waters i.e. to see if I can move my fingers; and how generous the tourists are; in that order...

Words: 2,407

1 comment:

alexcarterartist said...

Elvis Costello? Ric O(t)casek? Hm, that goes a long way to explain your "singing".

if you're gonna strain, why not go full on Tom Waits?