Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Peace of a Puzzle

He is still there, staring at you...
  • 43 Dollar Wednesday
  • A Case of Caseworkers
  • Day 10 Sober
I am at a new coffee house, shown, which is about 4 blocks from the Lilly spot.
I am taking the luxury of having made 43 dollars last night as a cause to sit here and blog, as they are open until 1 AM, being right on Decatur Street, which doesn't sleep much, if ever.
Plus, there is a cold wind blowing in, and it is forecast to be at about the freezing level for tonight's low. There weren't many people out, even the parade route seemed to be populated by a subdued amount of revelers.
Back to yesterday, though...

Yesterday, (Wednesday) I was up all day, working on stuff, and dealing with 2 different case worker types.

I only slept from 5 PM until 7 PM, before starting the night..

I was working on music related things, until such a time that I decided to stay up until the caseworkers office opened; then go there to see what the paperwork was all about, which they had knocked upon my door the previous day about, wanting me to fill out; but then retracting the request, upon my informing them that I had just gone to sleep an hour prior.

This particular (this) morning, I stayed up, rather than risk having them knock on my door when I was in my deepest R.E.M. cycle.

I headed them off at the pass, by going to the office at 9 AM, and answered questions regarding what my "goals" were, as they pertained to having a dwelling. (i.e. how was my government subsidised place going to help me to be all that I can be).

The converse, or next, question was specific to the obstacles which I could possibly foresee creeping up, which might threaten my long term goals in light of having a dwelling. This question seemed to imply that a person could somehow fall prey to some ill fortune which would bring to ruin their long term goals, which having permanent, assisted, housing are there to help facilitate.

I suppose that a guy vegetating in his place
on the couch in front of the TV, eating himself into obesity and dying an early death would be a disappointment to the tax payers, and the agencies set up to help the veterans.

I wasn't sure how to answer the first, so I asked: "You mean, like, now that I have all that closet space I can build up a wardrobe and really knock 'em dead on job interviews?"

"Perfect!" said Tim, my case manager, his pen already in motion, documenting my "response."

And, there were about a dozen questions; and I'm not sure if they are ever going to be read by anyone "higher up" than Tim, my caseworker.

The question about obstacles was peculiar, in that it was paraphrased as "What could come along which could cause you mess up in your goal to stay housed permanently?"

Tim acted like he didn't understand the question, either. Perhaps someone higher up is just trying to make Tim stay busy.

It is a small price of "rent" to pay to have the ever concerned for my happiness caseworkers knock (every Monday morning, at least, it seems) upon my door to check up upon me.

I think they might be under the onus of arming someone with some quantifiable justification for the tax dollars being spent to give disabled veterans "permanent, 'assisted'* living."

*It was some similar word; meaning that there would be a building manager, an assistant building manager, a building director, an assistant building director; a maintenance guy; and about 5 caseworkers, each assigned to check up upon a group of us.

If my permanent housing could eventually facilitate the attainment of my goals and fulfillment of my dreams (and it is documented in a file cabinet somewhere) then we are cooking with gas; and the system is working.

Tim asked me for a time-frame, for the long term goals that I think having permanent housing are going to help me realize.

"If I tell you, like: In 2 weeks, I hope to already have 10 applications in; then in 2 weeks; you'll have to come knocking on my door to see if I succeeded in my goal, right?"

"Right." ....good point.... "I would say that, within a couple years, Tim, I ...."

I was very wide awake after answering the 12 questions, one of which brought the jigsaw puzzle which I could now work on, to reduce my stress, thanks to having a dwelling; to the table, so to speak.

That prompted Tim to mention that "The Goodwill has jigsaw puzzles," and I decided to stay awake longer.

Tim was soon dropping me off there, with 83 dollars in my pocket, on his way to go do something else.

The Juicer*

 There was a Jack LaLane, "Power Express (or something)" juicer in there with a $22.99 price tag on it. I want it.

I am gambling that it will still be there, further into Mardi Gras, when I will hopefully have more than 83 dollars on me, and when buying it won't swallow up a quarter of my funds in one gulp. But, I do want the juicer.

I also want to go online and try to find a rudimentary manual for it; just in case there is some trick to using the Jack LaLane juicer which is not intuitive. The thing is just sitting there, as is, with "you figure it out" written all over it.

Sure, you just turn the thing on; make sure the blades are whirling around at great speed; and the thing is probably making a lot of noise; then remove the pusher thing, stuff your fruit and/or vegetables into the space vacated by the pusher; then use the pusher to force the fruits and vegetables against the whirling blades; and juice will come forth out of it somewhere; and pulp will wind up caught in some filter. In there, somewhere.

I think I will investigate it more, and perhaps try to take it apart some, to see if I can intuit how it is going to make juice and if it has all the parts required to do so. I'm pretty sure it originally came with a Jack LaLane juice catching plastic bin, belonging underneath the spout, wherever that was on the thing.

I suppose I could always return it, if it doesn't turn carrots into juice.

One thing I wonder is, if the blades go dull on those things, or if they are guaranteed "for life."

I think that Jack said that a juicer can extend your life (when he was alive) and so that would be all the more impressive a guarantee. Still, I can see carrots wearing down a tungsten steel blade, over time.
43 Dollar Wednesday

I guess the best I can hope for, when I spend my $22.99 plus tax on it; is that the previous owners hardly ever used it, because they bought it upon impulse after Jack LaLane, in his leotards, talked them into it, using a lot of "before and after" photos, and actual testimonies, in the process; and then they just got too lazy (and that's basically why they are obese; because they are lazy...) to open the thing after each use and clean out the pulp, then wash the pulp out of each and every part, in hot soapy water, to include the whirling blades; then PUT IT BACK TOGETHER (forget about it) and the Jack LaLane Power Express juicer just sat there on the formica counter, in between the breadbox and the toaster. That's the best I can hope for.

I want the thing; and now after a:

44 Dollar Wednesday (and 9 days alcohol free) I have over a hundred bucks on me, and I might be ready to pounce upon it.

Do you know how much carrot juice is (like 5 bucks a quart!) and how cheap carrots are? And, you can bake like, pies, out of the pith that you scrape out of it, after each use. I want it. 
*I have gone online to discover that the juicer is at least a 75 dollar value, and even found some new ones selling for 100 dollars. The blades ARE guaranteed for life; and it is purported to be "quiet" and "clean."

I also want a battery for this laptop, so that, for one thing, I can go around the Quarter, capturing live audio with my Snowball microphone, of the different street performers and work them all into some kind of collage of a song; maybe like a "remake" of Revolution #9, by The Beatles, only with Tanya Huang, instead of Yoko Ono, featured...

I left the juicer there, and was ready to leave, thinking that Tim, my caseworker, may have seen jigsaw puzzles at some other place, when I spotted the one and only jigsaw puzzle in the place, on a shelf laden with venetian blinds and other window shading things.

It was $1.99 and looks like it must have gone for well over 10 dollars, retail. It is 1,000 sturdy, fully interlocking pieces.

Another Case of Interruption
I grabbed some unlined colored paper, for making music charts for recording, for another dollar, and then, went back to the apartment, just in time to run into Davaughn, who is not my Unity caseworker, but is my "Volunteers of America" facilitator.

He wanted to take me to his office so that we could send off for a copy of my birth cirtificate, which is necessary for them to have, in order to have my deposit paid upon my place, through their agency.

After returning from there, I was up for a while longer; long enough to have gotten the jigsaw puzzle started; and wasn't asleep until 5 PM, just one hour before I usually leave on the evenings blogging and busking excursion.

Somehow my internal biological clock had me physically ready, upon waking up an hour later; to run to Starbucks to blog; and then to the Lilly spot.

Is was a Wednesday; but there were a couple of Mardi Gras parades slated.

I wasn't on a cable car until a quarter 'til 8 PM, thinking that I would be at Starbucks by 8; except the cable car dropped us off short of the parade scene, leaving me a 5 minute walk which would cut into my blogging time.

I would order a double espresso, once there; having time to plug in the laptop and let it boot up, before one of the barristers yelled "espresso doppio!"

The cable car discharged us right across the street from where they sell pot all the time. There were cops everywhere, and nobody "appeared" to be selling any.

I had taken about 16 dollars with me; or what I had made the night before. Worst case would be that I would only wipe out one days production, should I spend it all and then not make anything back.

I went into Starbucks; after fighting my way through the throngs of people; all pressed against the barricades along the route, waiting for the floats and the marchers and the bands and the livestock.

Painted faced children were abundant; playing catch with objects which they had caught off of floats; the vendors, usual ones and extra ones that have materialized for the carnival season; selling Mardi Gras related paraphernalia -a lot of things which lit up; like small Frisbees with strobing LED lights affixed to them; there were everywhere the beer holding parents of the kids; people were representing different positions on the globe with their tee shirts (I saw an Iowa shirt on a guy, for example; and there were plenty of early twenties British people taking in the festivities) and behind it all; leaning against the store fronts, watching everything from the vantage point of being well behind the line of parade watchers, and not trying to catch any beads or strobing Frisbees; and in their usual skeezing spots; were the skeezers; standing there, looking left and looking right, always quick with a "You got another one of those?" to smokers one and all, and basically working the hustle of trying to strike up a conversation with people; get the people to like them and, optimally, have the people voluntarily give them money. Keeping "Hey, I'll be honest with you; I'm outdoors right now" at the ready.

I have no problem with that particular "hustle," and in fact it dawned upon me later, as I was walking up Royal Street towards the Lilly spot; that conversation is something that has been pretty good to me in my busking life. Some skeezer once said, and I heard him; something like: If you can get them to laugh; you're probably gonna get paid.

A double espresso, a short time to blog, and then I was walking up Canal Street, looking for weed; then looping back down to the Unique Grocery to get a Rip-It energy drink, after not finding it; then retrying Canal Street with success; grabbing a second energy drink, a pack of cigarettes and then, heading toward the Lilly spot, in a 13 dollar hole, with about 3 bucks on me.

Once there, I noted not a whole lot of people.

I had only made about 4 bucks, when a group of young British guys came along, who said that they were stunt men, in town for the local filming of yet another movie which will be set in New Orleans.

They made about the 10th request of my life upon me to play "Wonderwall," by Oasis.

I was able to fake my way through it, because, each of the other 9 times, after telling the people that I was sorry that I didn't know "Wonderwall," but that it is right near the top of my list of songs to learn, in my quiet after moments, I took the guitar out and tried to figure out "how does that song go, anyways" and made little bits of progress here and there.

I faked it to their satisfaction, and they wound up giving me 40 dollars, after having hung out around me, chatting and blocking anyone else from my tip jar.

I was generally disappointed with the trouble I was having tuning the guitar. I am starting to think that the electrical box, right off my right shoulder where I sit; emits some electro-magnetic hum which makes it very difficult to tune a guitar there. It is noticeably easier if I just step a few feet away from it.

That may be another reason, along with the darkness of it, that nobody else had claimed the Lilly spot before I came along 3 years ago, now.

I knocked off at about 1:30, which should have meant that I played for 3 and a half hours to make the 44 dollars, but, in truth, I shouldn't count the hour when the nice folks were standing in front of my tip jar so that other tourists had to cut a wide swath around them and it.

As I start my 10th day without a drop of alcohol; I look forward to having the luxury (i.e. the money) to put in a few solid days of work on the CD, which has not yet a title.

It is supposed to be much colder today (Thursday).

I need to go, in a couple hours, on yet another errand to get the social security card from the mail room at The Rebuild Center.

DeVaughn is going to give me a ride over there.

Words: 2,452

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