Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Enemies Out Of Former Friends

I almost fell into the same trap as the night before, by drinking and then just vegging out until such a time as the time got so late that I decided not to go into the Quarter to busk, weighing the cost of the cable car each way against what I might expect to make at such a late hour.

I still went in, knowing that it was JazzFest here, and that there should have been a lot of people in the street.

There were a good amount. I started out, not wanting to play much as I sat at the Lilly Pad; and made a note to myself that drinking earlier in the day and then passing out, and then waking up with a slight hangover, and then going into the Quarter with half a desire to just turn around and go back home to sleep; was not conducive to busking.

I played; after a skeezer who had been near my spot left.

He was skeezing by the trash can outside Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern.

I started to set up and he came over and said: "I'm going to tell you this just the way you would tell it to me. I'm panhandling right over there; and if you were playing right over there; I wouldn't just jump in your space and f*** you up. I wouldn't do that to you, and I'm asking you not to do it to me."

Well, many thoughts raced through my mind.

I am playing past the curfew, which is "illegal." Is panhandling illegal? I am not even sure.

I told him that my lady friend owns the property and that I am allowed to play there; and I stopped short of telling him that I knew everyone in the neighborhood and could ring whichever of their doorbells that I thought would rouse the most passionate against skeezers one of them to run him off.

He eventually left. I played, not too bad; but it was a Tuesday and I think I made 10 bucks in an hour and a half.

I am thinking of adjusting my strategy. Now that I have an amplifier; I think I am poised to make some enemies out of former friends on Royal Street....,

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday's Not Gone Yet

Right now, my list of "things to do" outweighs my ability to accomplish them, but I can't take time out from busking; as that is the master catalyst in getting the things accomplished, as, many (most) of them will require money.
I didn't play at all last night, having had about 20 dollars, an almost full pack of cigarettes and new strings on the guitar when I woke up.
I also had started on a pint of vodka in the afternoon, during a trip to the Family Dollar, where I spent about 5 bucks on food, and continuing at the apartment where I tried to work on some music.
I have a backlog of recordings that I made at odd hours of the mornings, while Johnny B. was crashing at my place.
He thought it admirable that, after an evening of busking (and the high-intensity performing which that entails) that I would still have the desire to play an additional 3 hours, working upon originals, recording, mixing and adding effects, and basically still experimenting with the capacities of the Audacity program.
I now have to go back and cut and paste and slice and stitch together whatever I can from those few hours of music.
We also made about an hours worth of a video, using my laptops built in video camera (and its equally inferior counterpart, the inferior microphone) which is in a format which I have, to this day, not been able to convert into anything which can be used outside of viewing and hearing it on the laptop.
This goes also for a session between myself and Rick Parks, from Austin, Texas, that I recorded of us playing outside of Harrahs Casino, using the battery on the laptop when it was still good, which had some pretty good highlights, as I recall. It is also in a weird (M-Peg4?) format, and I haven't been able to transport it anywhere.
Other than that, it is Jazzfest, there are a lot of people in town for Jazzfest, and they should be inundating Bourbon Street at some point in the evening.
It would be nice for me to be playing some Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, or the music of some other act that some people may have specifically come to hear; but for the time being, that is in the realm of Tanya and Dorise, who can play some 7,000 songs, aided by Dorise having a "fakebook" application on her phone, and Tanyas freakish ability to play any song that she can hum; on the violin.
It's kind of funny how people always ask her if she ever played with a symphony orchestra, and she has; but that was a squandering of her true talent; because the musicians all had the score in front of them and had all practiced their parts meticulously beforehand.
Now, if the conductor just whistled the melody a few times, then said "That's basically it; you got it?"
then, I think Tanya would be one of the only ones playing, once he started moving the baton.

That is a skill which I have been working on; thinking of some song that I've never tried to play and then trying to play the melody from memory; it forces one to break things into patterns and notice intervals and their relationships to each other, in a way that doesn't occur when the piece has been memorized. There is a part of the brain that can imagine the pitch and think: "I've heard that leap before, where is the next note," as compared to "I've got this memorized and have played it 400 times; I just need not screw it up..."
Two very different lobes of the brain.
That is why an improviser will play less amazing stuff in his first few years of improvising, compared to the guy who had sat down and memorized well composed, and well known solos and then rip through them; but at some point (between the 5th and 15th years) the improvisor will overtake the other player.
This is why it is funny to see the occasional semi-famous violinist from Russia, or somewhere, who has just finished a gig with the New Orleans Symphony and has his violin with him; want to jam with Tanya and Dorise, probably because he has been out to dinner and had a few glasses of wine and was inspired by hearing Tanya play; and who has always wanted to try his hand at this "less respected, less demanding, more pedestrian, and certainly not 'classical' in any sense" music that they are playing -just for fun, maybe as a diversion; and perhaps to show off a bit and impress Tanya (-bet 'cha didn't know that there was a world-class violinist standing right in front of you; well, let me show you...").
He then has his clock cleaned by the diminutive Taiwanese girl, who is actually holding back a bit, not wanting to humiliate the guy, while Dorise alters her chords because "not all of that (Vivaldi) stuff works in a rhythm and blues context."

Johnny B. doesn't improvise at all.

When a young lady wanted to play and sing on one of our guitars; he quickly handed her his, and then later said: "I knew you'd be better at following along with whatever she played and making it sound good..."

This was on our way towards a 160 dollar night, and so we were very cooperative in doing whatever it took to increase the bottom line. It was the next night that Johnny B. turned his amp up over me and got himself kicked off of the Lilly Pad....

Monday, April 27, 2015

India House Hostel For Hostile Johnny B.

I saw Johnny B. emanating from the general direction of the India House Hostel, early this morning (about 1 AM). He must have played in the Quarter until after midnight.
Johnny Goes Around The Corner
Johnny's new roommates (left) at the India House Hostel ($15 a night, and right around the corner from my apartment).
I'm surprised that they let him in, considering the "dive" that he took, in going to there from my dwelling...

I hadn't gone out to play, it being a Sunday, and the clock working against me.

I was tired, and hungry and so I ate a good meal, and then went to sleep.

I have finally contacted the food stamp people, and my caseworker said that she was going to send me a letter, pertaining to my account.

I am afraid that this letter might notify me of a reduction in my food stamp amount, based upon the fact that I now have an "assisted living" unit at Sacred Heart Apartments, where my rent and utilities are paid for.

I still had no income to report (it is  a jinx against further income for a busker to ever claim that he makes anything at all) and so, I may remain at the same amount of $194 per month.

Rouses Market has stopped putting discarded food out at night, and what an unfortunate time, for me, for them to have invoked this policy, as I could have filled my freezer with a months worth of food in just a few days, out of their freshly expired refuse...
"Push over, ladies, I don't bite" -Johnny B.

Not too shabby, for $15/night....

Sunday, April 26, 2015

An Angry Individual

Johnny and I had only been playing at the Lilly Spot for a few minutes, and 5 dollars, Saturday night, when Charlie, the girlfriend of Barnaby across the street; came across and forbade the use of amplifiers, citing the fact of the 8 PM curfew, which is technically in existence; and the fact that they (she and Barnaby) had not been calling the police on me (have not been for almost 3 years now) but that an amplifier was too much.
She had started off by telling Johnny B. that she has known me for a long time; and that she considered me a friend; and perhaps intimated, in that way, that Johnny B's amplifier was putting me in jeopardy of losing the playing spot (and for what, 3 dollars an hour more, on average?) because I am actually allowed to play there; after a discussion had taken place between all of the people that live around there.
Lilly and all her horses and all her men, might not alone have been enough, if anyone else were opposed to me being there.
I had a feeling that; somewhere in the agreement was factored in the fact that I played acoustically, and could thus, by moving down to the other side of Lilly's building, be far enough away from the lawyer, whose place I used to play in front of nightly, after I first discovered the spot, until he complained about hearing the same songs repetitively, so that he couldn't really hear me; and everyone was apparently alright with that arrangement.
The tacit message was that, by using an amp, I was making it harder for those who had went to bat for me, and who have basically paved the way for me to have the privilege of being the only street musician who performs on Bourbon Street in New Orleans after 8 PM, to continue to do so; in the face of those who might have their qualms about it, and who might walk past me with a sour looks on their faces; on their way to and fro...
Johnny was probably thinking that he would carry the brunt of the load in helping us make 100 dollars each. He definitely had turned up his amp up a bit more
than it had been the first few nights that we played there.
We had made 160 dollars the previous (Friday) night; and that was a night when I had decided to just relax and play "second fiddle" to Johnny, and I basically let him run his own show, right down to initiating the banter and patter with the tourists -and I would just play lead guitar and add backup vocals.
He seemed to have steamrolled this; and assumed an even larger role of playing "the boss" especially when chastising me over me having taken my sweet time to get to the spot; and he had turned his amp up a bit more; and, at one point when a few tourists were listening, he snapped his fingers and said "Hit it, Daniel!" as if I were indeed "just" his backup musician.
I don't know how much this factored in to the almost immediate arrival of Charlie, who told Johnny that amplifiers were not allowed.
When I talked to she and Barnaby later, they mentioned the fact that they hadn't been able to hear me much at all, over his amp.
Johnny had gone off with quite a flurry of anger, insulting Charlie every step of the way, calling her a "foreigner," (she has an accent from somewhere) along with many other worse things, and, as I stood talking to her and Barnaby, after having told Johnny that I was going to do so to try to pacify them, He passed by, toting his cart, and said something to me ("See you later, Daniel"?) but nothing to either she nor Barnaby, and Charlie deemed this to be exceptionally rude and unacceptable behavior, especially from a guy who otherwise looks very clean cut.
"He just wants a piece of your pie," said Barnaby.
I went to get a beer.
I was returning, when my phone rang and it was Johnny, and he was ranting pretty loudly.
I said "My friends hate your guts," which set him off on a tirade.
He seemed especially concerned with the fact that his methadone (9 days worth) was sitting on my coffee table at the apartment, and any imagined falling out which we may have had which might have led me to decide that I was going to punish him by withholding his medicine; was concerning him to the point that he threatened my life at one point. "Dont' play games with me; I'm nobody to play games with!" types of phrases....
"You can get your medicine any time, I'm just saying that my friends are looking out for me...They might think that they are better judges of character than I, and they very well may be right, because that was never a strong point of mine....but you can get your medicine."
"Ok, fine..."
I went back to the Lilly spot and, after starting off pretty slowly, probably made about 45 bucks; but it was a long set, maybe 4 hours.
When I got on the cable car, Johnny was on it.
I got back off; I didn't want to ride on the same car as he.
He got off and followed me; yelling at my back, something which I don't remember now.
I wound up walking home, stopping at the Big Easy for a last beer on the way.
Johnny was in the lobby of the building; I went and got whatever of his stuff (especially the "medicine box") I saw laying about, and off he went.
He went to the hostel around the corner, which is 15 dollars per night for dormitory style accommodations.
That is about the last that I saw of him. He is a very angry individual.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Johnny Thing Crashes And Burns

Well, upon the 12th day of Johnny's stay at my place, we went out together, headed towards the Lilly Pad.
Johnny had decided to blow off playing anywhere on Royal Street (where "the money is") and to accompany me to the Lilly Pad, where we were going to try to break my single night record of $213, by splitting more than $426.
I could tell that Johnny was in a bad mood, right from the start.
He had nothing nice to say about the guys that work at the "Eat Well" store right down the street from me -guys whom I have become quite friendly with; and then had nothing nice to say about the guys that work at the "Big Easy" store down the street, where we stopped because the first store was out of Johnny's preferred brand of cigarettes.
Then, he had nothing nice to say about the cable car drivers, as we tooled our way into the Quarter.

Then, I went into the Unique Grocery Store, where I was intent upon purchasing rum, instead of the nasty, cheap vodka that I had been swilling down the whole week.

Yes, somehow the presence of Johnny at my place had driven me to drink -the drive wasn't long, I could have walked- but, there I was, inside the Unique Grocery, asking the guy that stands guard over the liquor case, how much the little half pints of rum were. He had to bring the bottles to the register to be scanned by one of the Ethiopians who man them.
These same Ethiopians have been helping me to learn their language, and we have had many helpful (to me) discussions about grammar and the like; with them teaching me additional phrases, such as "see you tomorrow," in Ethiopian.
Johnny was outside, on the sidewalk, his cart loaded with his amp and his milk crates in hand.
He became impatient.
I rejected the first bottle of rum, it being $6.99, plus tax, and was in the process of having a second bottle, which looked cheaper because it was on the bottom shelf, and was named "Bayou Rum," probably, I thought, by some local distiller, scanned when Johnny yelled from the sidewalk out front something to the effect of "What's the problem, why are you taking so long, you've been in there for 20 minutes, what's wrong with you?!?"
Well, for one thing: I have worked very hard to make this life for me which I live, and it is a life free from someone yelling to me, as if they are my boss, the above.
I enjoyed every one of those 20 minutes; learning Ethiopian and the prices of rum (the "Bayou Rum" was a dollar more than the other, by the way -I decided to just get the cheap swill that I always get) and I was just enjoying the slow paced "I'll get there when I get there" cadence of my life, which I have come to enjoy.
Johnny yelled, yet again, from outside the store.
I shook my head and gave him a look which I hoped conveyed the message of "It's been a long time since I worked for someone who was in a position to yell at me, telling me to hurry up."
I finally (after 20 minutes, according to Johnny who timed it) left the store, and was apprised by him that he had been very uncomfortable standing in front of the Unique Grocery store, stating that it was "trouble," and that no less than 3 people had panhandled him.
Reading between the lines, I imagined that Johnny's biggest fear about standing in front of the store while I learned the Ethiopian tongue was that someone would recognize him as a heroin addict and make him an offer that he couldn't refuse, against the 400 dollars in his pocket, which he had amassed in order to go to New York.
"I don't even want to stand out here. When I go into the store, I get what I need and just get the f*** out of the area, I don't stand around," said Johnny, and then added that he thought that I was being "inconsiderate" by taking so long in the store, when I knew that he was squirming in discomfort out front.
It was then that it occurred to me that Johnny might see the whole world in regards to his own interests. I was supposed to have hurried in and out of the store where I have habitually kind of hung out in and chatted with the staff, probably out of procrastinating in going out to play.
Johnny wasn't in the mood to procrastinate.
He told me, after I had hinted that I might not even be in the mood to play at all that night, at that point, that he was all about business, and that he had scuttled other plans to come into the Quarter early to grab a spot on Royal Street, where he would make whatever amount of money; before coming to meet up with me at the Lilly Pad.
"I need to make 100 bucks tonight, so I can go to New York and show up with 100 bucks in my pocket," he said.
It was at this point that I realized that I had unwittingly put myself in kind of a binding contract with Johnny. He had waited until 7 PM, to accompany me to the Lilly spot, putting all of his eggs in that basket; and probably thinking about the 160 dollars that we had split the night before, after 4 hours of playing together, and kind of holding me to my casually stated "promise" that we would play for 7 hours there and try to break my record of $213 (each) for one night.
When time began to elapse, he became quite insistent upon me hurrying myself and very short tempered about every little thing that I did which delayed us. 
For example, when we passed Mr. B's restaurant (which is world famous, in case you didn't know, or have never heard of it) to see if the little Lillies (Chantilly or Angelique) were on duty in there, pausing to glance through the front window for a few seconds; Johnny was "all over me," asking me why I was pausing to look in a restaurant (when he needed to get out and make 100 dollars).
"I like to see if the little Lillies are working, and whether or not I should expect to see them at the playing spot around 11 o'clock on their way into the house, that's all...I just like to peek in there on my way by..."
"Oh, they work there?" asked Johnny.
I couldn't help thinking that I was giving him a piece of information that he was ultimately going to use to try to wrest the Lilly spot from me. 
Perhaps on a particular night when some rich tourist comes along and offers to buy the equally well dressed Johnny dinner, he would suggest that particular restaurant, only so that the girls would see him hobnobbing with the rich and famous and conclude that he was just the kind of guy whom they would be proud of seeing on their front step every night playing music -sorry Daniel, but we're social climbers.
I was thinking this way because I was beginning to think that Johnny B. was all about Johnny B, and nobody else.
For one thing; he hates everybody.
Everybody not named Johnny B. (and probably really hates other people who happen to also be named Johnny B. How dare they?!?).
I am not naive enough to think that I am the only guy in the world whom he thinks the world of (and who just happens to be letting him crash at my place) after hearing him trash everybody in our path; from the security officers at the exit door of Sacred Heart Apartments; to the cashiers at the stores where we had stopped; the cable car drivers ("all they have to know is 'stop' and 'go," a monkey could do the job") people outside the Unique Grocery ("They're just trouble"), and then each musician that we encountered along Royal Street.
Jay, the really loud singer ("He's the biggest liar in the world"), Jessie, the grizzled old guy with the cowboy hat, Christina Friis ("She's using a backing track; that makes me sick; is that what New Orleans has come to? an expletive, expletive, expletive (young lady) singing along with a expletive expletive backup track?!?....Louis Armstrong is rolling in his grave!).
He lumped the other "karaoke guy" (whom I haven't blogged about yet) into the argument. 
Tanya and Dorise (I don't listen to them at all; I can't stand them. It's just a Chinese chick playing the vocal melody to a song over a rhythm guitar!).
Brian Hudson (I've heard him; his songs aren't that good).
And then, he spewed venom toward the "Hillbilly" band that was playing across from Rouses Market, just leaving them with a simple: "I hate that shit," and then, we were soon at the Lilly spot.
He did stop to greet the black guy who plays harmonica along with a recorded backing track, who was at the spot where he usually plays, across from the Hotel Monteleone, but that was probably because he had probably phoned the guy earlier and "given" the spot to him, after he had decided to put all his eggs in one basket and rely upon myself, and the Lilly Pad, in order to get the 100 dollars that he needed.

We got to the Lilly spot, and I set up the spotlights, and then broke out my guitar and played a little bit, while Johnny set up his microphone and his amp and his milk crates.

He doesn't employ anything like my "tiposaurus," or any other gimmicks. There is little doubt in my mind that, behind my back, he would decry the use of such a gimmick, saying something like "I don't need some cute little sign, or a plastic lizard; that shit is lame; if you need a plastic lizard to make money; then you need to find another profession." Yeah, I think he would say something very similar behind my back.

Again; beware of people that apparently hate everybody in the world; but think that you, for some reason, are "the greatest."

We began to play. 
I could tell that Johnny wasn't really enjoying himself.
He had said earlier, in response to me hinting that I wasn't even sure that I was in the mood to play; that he himself played whether or not he was in the mood to or not; because he was a professional; and then added that that was where the two of us differed; and why we could ultimately never form a partnership.
He also threw the fact of my alcohol usage into that discussion.
It was hard for me to keep a straight face when the heroin addict told me that alcohol was holding me back and keeping me from realizing my dreams.
...what if my dream is to be shitfaced every day, Johnny?....
To Be Continued....
Coming Next: Johnny Run Off By Barnaby And His Girlfriend Charlie, Probably After They Heard Him Snap His Finger And Tell Me "Hit It, Daniel" As If He Was The Big Star And I Was Just There To Enhance His Stuff With A Solo Here And There; And Due To Their Fine Tuned Intuition About The General Nature Of People, Barnaby Being A Substance Abuse Counsellor For Example.

Friday, April 24, 2015

80 Dollar Thursday

When I got into the Quarter yesterday at about 7:30 PM, my phone rang, and it was Johnny B., calling me from the Lilly Spot.
He had already had a conflict with Christina Friis, who had paid a guy to hold the St. Louis and Royal Street spot.
Johnny set up and began to play, over the mild protestations of the guy, who was to receive 20 dollars from Christina at the time of her arrival.
Johnny played, and made 45 dollars in the 2 hours before Christina arrived.
Christina arrived and, according to reports, refused to pay the guy the 20 dollars because he, technically, had not held the spot, as evidenced by the presence of Johnny B, singing and playing.
I don't know how the matter played out from that point on, but I know that Johnny headed straight for the Lilly spot, and then phoned me, out of courtesy, and not wanting to just set up and start playing by himself, on a spot which I am privileged to "own" in a way that no spot on Royal Street is "owned" except for any spot that Tanya and Dorise want to play.
"They're an exception," said Johnny. "When people come half way around the world hoping to hear you play, then, you can own a spot..."
I Realize How Good I Have It
I don't know about all that, but I think Johnny is starting to realize just how nice the Lilly spot is.
After all the other performers are gagged by the police, who enforce the 8 PM curfew, I am allowed to continue to play, even if I have to ring Lilly's doorbell and have her come out and explain to the nice officers why I am allowed to play, as per her discussions with the "quality of life," officials who work in some capacity here, etc.
The Lafitts Blacksmith Shop Tavern is the last stop for someone traversing Bourbon Street (there is nothing past it but residences) and, when they leave there, they are most likely returning to the hotel, knowing how much money they have left over after a night of debauchery, and thinking that I am probably the last busker that they will see, and likely to throw me the rest of the money which they had set aside for "street performers and the like."
It's kind of amusing how Johnny played until midnight on Royal street a few days ago, made 100 dollars, and then came to the Lilly spot, where we split about 35 bucks for just an additional half hour of playing.
Then, he showed up a bit earlier the next night, when it was extremely dead, but we split 15 dollars for about an hour of playing.
Then, last night, he was there before even I was, and we split 160 dollars after 4 hours of playing.
Right now, he is in my apartment, probably waiting for me to grab my stuff to head for the Lilly spot, so that he can join me.
Royal Street is hard work, sandwiched between the likes of Tanya and Dorise, and Christina Friis, and Brian Hudson, hoping to get a dollar or two out of each tourist.
The Lilly spot must seem like an oasis to him, where you have the undivided attention of the tourists, and where I have gotten plenty of 20 dollar tips, a couple of 50's and 100's and where one guy gave me 170 dollars, after sitting and talking and listening to some of my originals. That is unheard of, in the bustle of Royal Street.
I am almost worried about Johnny trying to take over the spot.
The other night, he arrived at the same time as Lilly and her daughters, having walked with them perhaps all the way from the Hotel Monteleone.
They exchanged some kind of words, with Lilly saying "I'll call you," at the end of it, then just briefly telling me that she and the girls were "tired," which I have come to understand is their way of saying that they had no time to talk and wanted to go into their house immediately.
I kind of probed a bit, asking Johnny "Is Lilly going to help you get a bus ticket to New York?" trying to fish for whatever the subject matter of their discussion might have been, out of idle curiosity.
"No, we didn't talk about much..." said Johnny.
I wouldn't have put it past him to have said something to her like: "That's a really excellent playing spot; I really like it there, and I'm sure you wouldn't mind having a clean cut guy with an excellent singing voice on your stoop every night. How did Daniel get the spot, and how can I persuade you to give it to me instead?"
I'm not naive enough to think that he gives me any special treatment over all the other street musicians whom he seems to hate collectively, and whom he claims superiority over (Tanya and Dorise totally suck, by the way) and whom he thinks have no claim on any playing spot, anywhere ("You can't sell this spot, or pay anyone to hold it; you don't own it; you aren't a real estate agent, you're a street musician...")
But, that being said, it is 5:49 PM, and almost time to think about busking on this Friday night. I can hear thunder outside, though....
I told him that, if we play a full 7 hours (7:30PM until 2:30 AM) then we could break my record of $213 for one night there.
Of course, we would have to split $426 in order for that to become official.
Last night, I let Johnny take the "lead" in deciding which songs to do at what times, etc. I even let him initiate the banter with the tourists, and it almost became a situation where it was Johnny B.'s spot, and I was just there backing him up.
That was fine with me. I was drinking and hadn't even noticed much tip money at all going in the jar. I didn't want to have to decide which songs to do, and was happy with whatever Johnny broke into.
We made 30 dollars by playing Hotel California, I was informed, at one point by Johnny, who, unlike myself was very aware of the tip jar and everything going into it.
Johnny had found a ride to New York on Craigs List, but the guy called this (Friday) morning, saying that he wanted to leave this afternoon, and not tomorrow, as originally planned, and so Johnny texted him with "Have a nice trip, good luck," or something and is still here.
He is on his 12th day of the 10 days allowed to guests of residents, and has motel money in his back pocket, in case he is turned away at the door upon returning here later tonight.
I can see a tendency for him to try to take over the Lilly spot and make it his. Lilly seems to like him a lot, seeing him as the clean cut guy whom he is, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the fall when he returns.
By then, I should be using the amplifier that he gave me, as a rent payment, to play at the spot on Royal Street that he will be vacating, before going to the Lilly Pad for a nightcap.
He told me that if I make it to New York, he will show me the ropes, and introduce me to "busking in Brooklyn."

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Mollification Of Lilly

I have prepared myself to go into the quarter and play at the Lilly Pad.
Johnny B. has already left, to go and set up across from the Hotel Monteleone, where I first encountered him more than 2 years ago, and when I had dubbed him "The Clean Guy."
And that reminds me.....
Excerpt From January, 2012: 

The Shaman Guy, But First, The Clean Guy
I left the library and walked a common path, towards the Quarter and its The Unique Grocery store.
I saw the clean guy, John B

It is funny when I think of my first encounters with Johnny B. when I dubbed him "the clean guy."
He got a kick out of that phrase when I told him about it the other night.
He has been crashing at my place for an entire week now.

We jammed last night at the Lilly Pad, and split 48 dollars after an hour and 40 minutes of playing.

First Photos Of Johnny B.

It's almost 8 PM on this Monday, and I prepare to go to the Lilly Pad to play.,
I will be joined there by Johnny B., who has seemed to take a liking to the spot after I almost drug him there a couple nights ago.

That night, he had been told by the Hotel Monteleone security guy to knock off at midnight, after he had made a little over 100 dollars, but was trying to get more.

That night, we had played for about a half hour and split $35.50 at the Lilly Pad.

That half hour started at about 1:15 PM.

Johnny wants to see what he will make this evening at the hotel, and then when Royal Street dies down around 11 PM, when just about every business is closed and the only traffic is of people returning to the hotel (and skeezers; always skeezers) he will join me at the Lilly Pad, where I think he was pleasantly surprised to discover; is just picking up at that hour and continues to be a good fishing hole until 4 AM for the resilient busker....

I think Johnny is also curious about how much I will have made by the time he shows up; and if the tipping will go into overdrive after the addition of himself.

The tipping usually does pick up after midnight at the Lilly Pad, and Johnny could interpret this to be a result of him having become added to the mix. But, we sound very good together, in my opinion.

Lilly was beside herself with joy and glowing to see Johnny Saturday night, after having recognized him as being the clean guy that plays across from Hotel Monteleone. Lilly told him that she loved his singing voice.

It also seemed to mollify Lilly, who has shown a concern for me and my well-being and who was one of the most outspoken in advising me to get the hell away from Leslie Thompson when I was crashing at his place. She has a mothers instinct in that regard, perhaps; but was also a longtime resident of the Quarter, as is Leslie.

I think Leslie was happy to see me jamming with Johnny B., as it might seem like a harbinger of myself "cleaning up my act," and surrounding myself with a better pedigree.

Lilly wrung her hands at one point in the middle of complementing Johnny, and looked at his amplifier and microphone, and with an expression as if she was groping for the right words, started to say "The only thing is..."

But I jumped in and assured her that the amp and mic were only going to be used to add ambiance and bit of reverberation, and that the overall volume was not going to be much louder than just myself singing and playing.

Well, I had better get out there, it is 8 PM, and I want to have made a little chunk of money at such a time that Johnny might arrive to join me.

Just so he doesn't think that he is taking a pay cut by splitting "our" tips in half.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Computer Room Intalled

A Rained Out Thursday
Computer Room At Sacred Heart Apartments

It is Friday, and I am posting from the newly installed computer room, here at Sacred Heart Apartments.

I can now do my blog posts in my room and then carry them via data stick to the computer room and post them up.

This eliminates my need to put the laptop in my backpack where it is
A: prone to having its screen cracked from the pressure on another object in the bag.
B: An additional 6 pounds or so for me to have to tote over the 4 miles of walking around the Quarter, which I average.
C: A target for thieves who might see me using it in Starbucks and then placing it in my backpack, (from their vantage point of where they are skeezing outside the place) and then might later on see me walking up Canal Street late at night, as I might be trying to save the $1.25 on the cable car.

I am also no longer limited by the hours of operation of the various coffee houses which have wi-fi.

Johnny B. Has Been Goode

Johnny B. has been quite the class act as a roommate.
He has been true to his promise of trying to save up money for an eventual trip to New York, having gone out each of the past 4 days to play an average of 5 or 6 hours each.

He would probably have close to 200 dollars saved already if it weren't for one slip up on Thursday, when he overslept his appointment at the methadone clinic.

He already has to pay 94 dollars each Monday for a weeks worth of daily methadone "treatments," but, Thursday he had to take an additional 50 bucks out of his money to go and buy actual heroin off the street, as a substitute, to get through that day.

Sunday night, he had made exactly 94 dollars ("The Lord works in strange ways," he had said) which he used Monday morning, depleting all his cash, but paying himself up for the week.

He told his caseworker Friday morning about how he had overslept and missed Thursdays appointment. She blocked her ears, he said, when he hinted at how he had gotten through the day by adding: "Just don't piss test me..."

Johnny and I are in constant phone contact. He calls me at the Lilly pad at about the time he is thinking of knocking off; and is always willing to play an additional hour, or to just hang out for an additional hour (or two) should I desire to play longer myself.

He calls me from the store down the street, asking if I want him to pick up anything, and has bailed me out with a cigarette here and there when I hadn't any.

He also said that he is going to give me a couple of cables to go with the amplifier, as well as a microphone stand, before he leaves for New York. Plus, he has already given me the book of Beatles scores (an $85.00 value).

I am about to tell him that he is welcome to stay past the 10 day limit imposed by the apartment complex, "until they notice and someone say's something.."

We have jammed together a few times in the mornings, and sound great doing Beatles and R.E.M. songs, etc. and I am playing and singing better just from having his influence around.

Tim, my caseworker has met him, and the security staff at the front door all seem to be charmed by him. 

Tim said that the only penalty, should the powers that be catch him staying past 10 days, is that he would be banned for the next 30 days from staying here. This really wouldn't be a problem, as he will not return from New York for at least 30 days.

By then, I might be playing at his spot; amplified, and making close to the money that he does.
He had said that he breaks 100 dollars almost nightly, and that 70 dollars has been his lowest take, when he has been able to play the whole 5 hours from 7:30 until after midnight, weather permitting..

One of my short term goals is to set up the Snowball microphone on the coffee table in the living room and capture the two of us jamming out on a few songs.

I'll also snap at least one picture of him using my laptop camera; maybe with both of us sitting on the couch with our guitars; like the first Crosby Stills and Nash album cover...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It is Wednesday the 15th of April; tax day for some; but just another Wednesday evening for myself, who made 26 dollars in an hour and a half last night ($17.33/hr.).

Johnny B., my new roommate, made 52 bucks, but played for more like 5 hours on Royal Street, through his amp and his microphone.

I now own an amp, but have no microphone, though, I am being patient.

The roommate situation has worked out even better than I may have imagined.

Johnny is very conscientious and often calls from the store on his way home to see if I want him to pick me up anything.

He has, along with the Roland Street Cube® amp, given me a book called "The Beatles Complete Scores," which has me adding Beatles songs to my repertoire, mostly ones that I once played in my late teens and that I thought that I needed to update to utilized the skills that I have acquired since then.

Instead of just playing "Golden Slumbers," for example, I now can play almost the entire medley, after having just pored through the book and refreshed my memory and made subtle adjustments (mostly to incorporate Paul McCartneys bass lines into my chords -bass lines which are transcribed in the scores).

The harmonica notes are even scored on songs such as "I Should Have Known Better." Cool.

Johnny arrived on Monday, carrying the Roland amp and a traveling bag.

He immediately presented me with the amp, as a gesture of good faith in our being able to endure 10 days together successfully.

He has upped my level of performance, as he is arguably one of the best vocalists on the street, and I don't have to feel like I am trying to show off by singing at my best; only that I am speaking his language.

His voice is hard to quantize, falling somewhere between the guy who sings for the Foo Fighters, and the guy who sings for R.E.O. Speed wagon.

He is also very elusive on the Internet, with people having shot several videos of him which have become lost, due to them having posted them on Youtube under labels like "The guy singing across from the hotel." Videos get kind of lost in the shuffle that way.

He keeps telling me that he is going to send me a picture of himself that I can post on this blog, in order to put a face to the name, but he hasn't yet.

I am going to be out earlier tonight, I suppose and put in more than an hour and a half.

But it is already 8 PM, and my laundry still has 20 minutes left; and I am so cheap as to take the 30 minute walk to the Lilly pad rather than spend a buck 25 and be there in 15 minutes; will be close.

I love the fact that I have brand new songs to play; especially if Barnaby is to sit out on his stoop to enjoy a cigarette (and to garner the attention of passers by who will use his chandelier as a conversation starter) and won't have to be subject to "Imagine" by John Lennon one more time...

That's about it from New Orleans.

We had a huge down pouring of rain earlier which exposed some leaks in the newly renovated 1920's era building; but none of them effecting my rooms.

I am waiting for them to put a wi-fi hot point into operation, so that I don't have to tote this laptop in my backpack, where it is subject to having its screen cracked by dint of it being placed in there along with, a heavy jar of pickles, for example.

And then, this blog should become more interesting as, the ideas that I awaken from dreams with in the middle of the night about cartoons and/or stories that I just might write; may come to fruition, as the laptop will be right at my disposal, and with an intact screen...

The Perl program has been restored.

If the paragraphs here are rendered in pretty fonts and colors, then it has been restored well. It only took me 4 hours to re-write the original program, which took me some 70 hours..

Saturday, April 11, 2015

woke up Thursday morning with 7 dollars and 70 cents on my coffee table, after having made a little but spent more on Wednesday.
The album cover to the left is the only presence of Johnny B that I could find on the whole friggin' internet....
This, along with the fact that I could find no photos of the band; means that, as blog readers, you are still in the dark about what Johnny, the guy who wants to crash at my place for 10 days in exchange for a pretty new Roland Street Cube amp; looks like.
I had referred to him in past posts, but just put up a picture of Steve Martin with Jeff Gordon's eyes as a representative of him.
The guy is totally anti-Internet, anti computer; and doesn't care about anything like Facebook, etc. and so I will have to take a picture of him when he stays at my place.
I want the amp bad enough to go sleep at the sign spot for 10 days and let him have the whole place,,,I think we can find some middle ground..
Who knows, maybe it will be ME skeezing cigarettes off of HIM, while he is there.....

Friday night, I had finished with a couple 5's, a 2 dollar bill, and 8 singles, after having had a 30 dollar night playing a guitar which had 2 bottom "E" strings on it, with the one in the wrong spot tuned up 3 steps and the other 5 tuned down, so that they met in the middle.
I was able to play the harmonica along by transposing everything a whole step.
This allowed me to play all of my key of D songs, as well as B minor, E minor and A blues; which is what I had been looking forward to doing when I had gone to the music store to buy a key of D harmonica, and wound up getting another C major, when they had none in stock.
Friday, I left the apartment around noon, after having slept 8 hours and woken up with 20 bucks.
I immediately ran into Tim, my caseworker who was pulling in to the parking lot in the tiny car that he drives.
Multi Legged Creatures
We have been having an infestation of a certain king of caterpillar; and we talked about them, as we observed hundreds of them covering one of the pillars at the parking lot entrance.
Two Legged Creatures
We also talked about my upcoming decision of whether or not to let Johnny Bivona crash at my place for 10 days, in exchange for a Roland Street cube amp ($300 dollars new; but Johnny bought one off a guy on the street for probably less than $100).
I voiced my concerns about the matter, the biggest of which was my fear that Johnny would use the 10 window of opportunity to use money which would otherwise have gone for rent to go on a 10 day bender on crystal meth.
Which leads to my second biggest fear that we would have some kind of "falling out" on about his 9th day on the bender, his biochemistry causing him to become super irascible and ready to misinterpret anything I might say and jump down my throat; and ultimately he would angrily say something like: "I'm outta here! You're getting on my nerves! And I'm taking the amp with me! The deal is off!"
My other concerns; not in any particular order:
He would say things like: "I hope you don't mind but I fried up that fish that was defrosting in the fridge. I was starving..."
Or: "Could you please not peck on your computer keyboard at 4 AM, it's very annoying and makes it impossible to sleep!"
Or, he would show up at the Lilly pad, to tell me that he is calling it an early night, and wanting the keys to the apartment "When you get back, just have the security people buzz me, and I'll let you in." And then, I would "get back" only to discover that for any reason in the world, he never arrived; and I would be consigned to sitting in the lobby, watching the street for any sign of motion, while my ice cream melted and my chicken fried rice grew cold, as I waited to be let in to my own place.
Or, I would show up to discover him an some adoring female fan whom he met while busking; rolling on the couch "It's cool; she showed her ID at the front desk and they let her in; it's just for one night.."
And then, in the morning "Wow, what a sneaky little bitch; I never heard her leave. Don't worry, I'll see her on the street and get your laptop back!"
Or, he would come out of the bathroom after a long shower, and say: "Boy, that felt great; until the water started getting cold; you might want to wait an hour or so before trying to take a shower."
Or, he would leave some crystal meth on my dresser and say: "I'll tell you what; you snort this and you'll busk your ass off for 10 hours straight, playing songs that you forgot you knew and hitting every note; and THEN see if you aren't making at least a hundred a night; easily; and, if you need more, just let me know! (and if you wind up owing me, you can just give me the amp back at the end of 10 days...).
But, I could also think positively and see it as a win-win situation.
I could get him to sing some back up harmonies on some of my songs (I mentioned the idea to him and he replied: "Sure, I'll help you out."
There was a slight overtone in the way he had said it which seemed to imply: "I normally charge 50 bucks an hour for session work -hell, I backed up friggin' John Mayer, for crying out loud- but, I'll help you out, since you're helping me out..."
And, Johnny's stated plan is to bankroll a couple grand through 10 days of intensive busking (which would have him out of the apartment those times) and then to take a Greyhound to wherever his "summer spot" is that he goes to each year when it slows down here.
And, of course, he would want to jettison the extra amp to travel as lightly as possible; allaying my fear of him reneging on our deal.
And, even though it would be the slow season; the spot across from the Hotel Monteleone will become vacated by him when he does go; leaving it as a prime spot for someone else (who has an amp and) who can play and sing AM radio hits from the 70's.
After talking to Tim, I went and spent myself down to about 9 bucks with the purchase of an energy drink and a half pint of gin to spike it with; and a pack of cigarettes.
If and when I quit smoking, it won't be because I am forced to for lack of cigarettes, I surmised, as I walked back to the apartment.
I walked into the quarter, having spent myself down to the 2 dollar bill and 3 singles, and arrived at the Lilly pad where I played from about 10 PM until 12:40 AM, and made about 30 bucks; helped by a 10 dollar tip at one point when I had decided to pack up and call it quits, but then changed my mind, took the guitar back out, and kept going. Bam -10 bucks, almost immediately.
I ran into Johnny on the street car on the way back home. He seemed a lot more calm; and wasn't talking a mile a minute; didn't spar with any other passengers; and told me to let him know (today) what I had decided about letting him crash for 10 days at my place.
I did mention that I was thinking more on the lines of a 7 day period, to which he replied "No, I would have to have the whole 10 days, in exchange for the amp."
I guess that is fair because, even at the "used" value of 200 bucks, letting him stay the whole 10 days would be like getting 20 bucks a day out of the deal (minus whatever fish he might eat).
I am going to have to go over some guidelines with him beforehand.
How much stuff do you have to move from the other apartment (more than one trip?)
Do you have your own toothpaste, towels, laundry soap, etc?
You understand that I am going to hold the key card at all times because it is like Linus' security blanket to me; making me feel that, come hell or high water, I can go lock myself away in the apartment, and relieving a lot of stress of the kind that I had when I was homeless and would go under the dock and flip on my flashlight, hoping that my blanket would still be there; and that there wouldn't be some other guy wrapped up in it.
And, basically, we have to work out a schedule.
Unfortunately we have just about the exact same one, and might wind up taking the cable car into the Quarter together, and then taking it back together at the end of the night; and then cooking a meal and eating together, waking up and having coffee together -which will go against the grain of the "loner" lifestyle which I have become accustomed to over the past 5 years (since Karrie and I were inseparable, both night and day) but it is only for 10 days; at the end of which I will have the ability to make up to 4 times as much money busking, just by adding volume and a little bit of echo and reverberation to my sound.
Johnny just called at 3 PM, he is going to pick me up a set of new strings from the store where they are only 6 bucks -the store that has been closing before I have gotten there the past 3 days...
I did learn a lot about alternate tunings though, while working around my string situation; and even recorded a few songs using unorthodox setups ala the band "Sonic Youth," who; I read in Guitar Player magazine; have a separate, differently tuned guitar for each one of their songs.
I had always wondered if they are just too lazy to learn tricky chord fingerings -lazy like the majority of "youth" out there, sonic or other types.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Bit Of Powder

Day 7 of Drinking Again

Last night, I was feeling kind of depressed, as I walked down Royal Street, towards Lilly's pad.
I had less than 5 bucks in my pocket, and would have to walk past Christina Friis, and the 200 dollars that she was probably accumulating, and then past Tanya and Dorise, and the 200 dollars that they would accumulate during the 15 minutes that I might stop and listen to  couple songs.
I wonder how many tips they lose out upon because of people thinking that their one dollar isn't even going to cause a ripple; like people who don't vote, thinking the same thing.
30 Dollar Thursday
I was playing a guitar with the wrong strings on it; rigged up to the best of my abilities, to compensate.
I, for the 2nd day straight, had lost track of time and missed the closing of the music store.
I am using a low E string in the A string slot, tuned up 3 half steps, which makes it like a tightrope, with the other 5 strings tuned down 2 half steps, which makes them loose and twangy and a challenge to keep in tune.
12 Dollar Wednesday
Wednesday night, I had tried to play the thing with all the strings tuned way down, and it was so radically off that I had trouble finding the first note of songs that were familiar to me. I noticed more than one tourist pause and reach for his wallet, only to change his mind and walk on. 
Amped Up Johnny
As I was walking back to the street car, I ran into Johnny B. who, speaking a mile a minute asked me if he could crash at my place. He offered me a deal of a Roland Street Cube amp, in exchange for letting him stay the maximum (for each guest) of 10 nights.
I started to tell him about the restriction that I had encountered when trying to get Howard in, that one night, when he was turned away because he didn't have a Louisiana ID.
Johnny cut me off mid sentence and told me that he was very familiar with "Unity housing," and basically insinuated that I was in the process of giving him some bullshit excuse to deny his request.
He said that he knew all about Unity housing, and that if I didn't want him to stay there to just tell him so.
I could have taken offense to that, but I walked on, thinking that the reason that he was in his predicament, was probably related to him talking a mile a minute and jumping to knee jerk conclusions about supposed friend's motives, out of paranoia.
He had told me, when I was on about my 16th day sober, that that was ironic, considering that he was on about "a 6 day bender."
In his case, I believe that means crystal meth; which has him singing and playing like a madman for 8 to 10 hours at a time; talking a mile a minute in between songs to tourists, about his past exploits, to include the CD's that he has recorded, the houses that he has bought, and, of course, touring with John Mayer.
I told him that I would talk to the building manager; and that, in my opinion some of the security people are jealous of us disabled veterans getting free places to stay and are looking for i's not dotted and t's not crossed; and any excuse to deny someone access.
This is a different place than the "Unity housing" which Johnny had become so familiar with.
\I will talk to him tonight, perhaps about a 7 day stay in exchange for the amp, and not the maximum of 10.
And I will be observing him closely for signs that he may be looking for a free place to stay so he can pour all his busking money into extending his "bender."
He was ready to fight someone on the cable car last week after the person made a comment when Johnny was taking a few extra seconds to drag his guitar and his (2 at the time, including the one he wants to trade) amplifiers onto the street car.
"Oh, you got some important place to go; you in a hurry? Sorry to delay you," said Johnny snidely.
Then, when the guy said something denigrating about street performers, Johnny, noting the uniform the guy was wearing, came back with "I guess I'm not talented enough to be a waiter!" That was funny, I admit.
But, the point is, Johnny is definitely an "alpha" type of person, who seems to expect to be venerated based upon his past achievements; and, like some other meth users that I have known; has a very short fuse when coming down and cranky. No fuse, really, just a bit of powder spilling out of the end.....

Monday, April 6, 2015

Let us see; It is Monday.
19 Dollar Friday
I drank at the end of Friday night, after, having made about 18 bucks; I found a whole 12 pack of Abita Amber beer, a local brew which isn't cheap. It was sitting by a trash can with droplets of water condensing upon the still cold bottles.
One of them had broken, when the 12 pack had been dropped; and I imagine that whomever dropped it was afraid that more than one of the bottles had broken and that there would be shards of glass in the bottles which had just been fractured but had unloosed glass fragments from the fissures where the glass had fractured....
I also imagine that the friends of whomever had dropped it had argued successfully that he didn't need any more beer, if he is just dropping things on the ground...
Or, perhaps the beer was meant to be brought to a party, in a car with nice clean upholstery, the owner of which didn't want his car to smell like the beer which was dripping out of the 12 pack from at least one (but possibly more) broken bottles. What if one of them exploded inside the Audi?
Maybe it was to be presented as a gift to the host of a party that they were en route to, and they realized that you can't bring a dripping 12 pack to someone's house party....
Whatever the reason, there was an 11 pack of cold Abita beer just sitting there; and I decided that I would stuff them in my pack, which I did; and I cracked one open and drank it; as I walked from where I had found it; one block from the Lilly spot; to the Unique Grocery; where I had at least a half hour to kill before the next cable car was to come.
I was going to be "the guy who is giving beers away," but, to my mild surprise, I was not skeezed once, as I sat there with a few unopened Abitas on the sidewalk next to me.
It was the 2nd of the month and a lot of street people had just gotten their "checks" the previous day...
24 Dollar Saturday
Disappointment, again at the Goodwill
Saturday, I woke up and had thoughts of going to the Goodwill to get the Philips home stereo thing.
It not only had a CD player, it had an AM/FM radio, to go with its speakers which were not very powerful, but were very clean sounding.
It also had a jack for an AM antenna, which I think if very neat. I used to have a tuned AM antenna and could pull in stations from 1,000 miles a way; like WBZ, in Boston.
The Philips had been sold, leaving only another "boom box" which had more powerful speakers which looked like they could handle bass; but the CD player was apparently not functional. "The CD don't work, but the radio works good" was written upon a piece of masking tape, stuck to the thing.
It was very tempting; to be able to crank up my freshly recorded compositions to hear what they are going to sound like, through cranked up boom boxes (once they, you know, flood the market).
Took the night of from playing;  It had been raining off and on.
I went instead to the Winn Dixie and bought 75 dollars worth of the heaviest food items; and then took it back to the apartment, all 60 pounds of it (2 gallons of water, half gallon of juice, sweet potatoes, canned goods, big bottle of olive oil, 5 pounds of frozen fish....lots of cans....

It is now Monday night, and I go out to play; after a little bit of gin; 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools Day

  • 8 Dollar Monday
  • 4 Dollar And 50 Cent Tuesday
  • Attempt At Smoking Cessation Made
It is now Wednesday, April Fools Day.
I am at Starbucks; it is 6:56 PM, and therefore, I haven't smoked a cigarette in 3 and a half hours.
I am working on day 17 without a drop of alcohol; but the alcohol thing seems like child's play, compared to how I feel right now, with a cup of coffee in front of me and money in my pocket (despite having made an almost record low amount of $4.50 last night).

Near Record Low

I could almost say that I set a record for the least amount of money that I have ever made since coming to New Orleans in 2011, last (Tuesday) night.
I definitely set the dollars/hour low, after having played for 3 hours, and made $4.50, plus a good pair of socks.
The socks were from a couple of ladies, who turned out to be from Ohio (40 miles north of Cincinnati) who offered me first a peanut butter sandwich, then added: "or, we have some socks."
They had stopped and listened to me playing "Best of My Love," by The Eagles; and waited for me to finish, before starting off with the oft dreaded: "We don't have any cash, but..." and then gave me the heavy socks, after I explained my aversion to the oil that the peanut butter in the sandwich most likely contained.
I thought that they were on a mission from a church group; but they never tried to pray over me; unless they were doing it inwardly.

Day 16 Sober

I was working on 16 days without alcohol; and had struggled mightily earlier that day.
Twice, I decided that I was going to drink; but just didn't.

The first time was after getting off the cable car, and walking past David the water jug player, who was slumped over on the bench of the very same cable car stop, asleep, and to the Unique Grocery store.

I was about to grab an energy drink, and then changed my mind. I would grab an orange juice and then get a half pint of vodka to spike it with.

But, I didn't do it. I got to the register, where I practiced one of the Amharic phrases which I have learned out of an Amharic phrase book that I downloaded.

It is the language which they speak in Ethiopia, which is where at least 3 of the employees at the Unique Grocery hail from.

I had already known how to say "hello" and "thank you"; but had expanded my repertoire to include "long time no see" (or equivalent) and, distracted by trying to repeat the phrase as I had memorized it; and by the ensuing surprise and joy evinced by the 2 Ethiopians upon hearing their native tongue emanating from the likes of me; I forgot all about the vodka, and walked down Royal, puffing away on a cigarette.

Had I been drinking, there is no way I would have been up in the mornings learning Ethiopian; along with several other pursuits; and retaining what I learned.

I think that is what trumped the urge to drink; an urge which is just spawned by insecurity before going out on a Tuesday night to play -a night which can be dismal, money-wise. The irony there is; Why spend money to get drunk because you are afraid that you might not make any money?

I get a better feeling from communicating in Ethiopian than I do from the bottle, I guess.

A Monster Temptation

But, then I decided that I was going to hit Sydneys before going to the Lilly spot, to get something to drink -something high quality, and a little more expensive; perhaps a micro-brewed ale.

I walked towards that store, but opted for a $2.50 Monster Energy drink, once there. I guess I still satisfied the desire to spend a lot on a drink with that purchase...

I could feel the eyes of one cashier in particular upon me as I walked towards the cooler.

She had given me a disappointed look when I first walked in. Maybe she was having a bad day and "everything was falling apart;" and now even Daniel, whom the last time she spoke with had said that he had gone X number of days without drinking; was back at it; what a world of shattered hopes...

She happily rung up my Monster drink; and I felt like I could afford it, with all the money I was saving on alcohol.

Sobriety On My Side

It turned out to be a good thing that I was sober, on a night when I only made $4.50 in three hours.
A drunken me wouldn't have appreciated the fact that I had gotten a new pair of heavy socks, which are a few dollars in value; and the fact that there just weren't a lot of people out. There were stretches of 10 minutes or so when nobody walked past me
I probably would have gotten angry, in general; and might not have even made the $4.50.

Then, I would have been in that mood when I walked Bourbon Street, picking up discarded drinks, on the way home, past all of the skeezers who had endured the same hardship on a night when tourists were few and far between and cheap to boot.

They didn't seem to be taking it as well.

There were skeezers on the verge of fist fighting; even the female ones. A lot of people who didn't get their fix of heroin that night were about; in my face, telling me that they were "sick" (and I had to do something about that) and I had to take the high road and walk past them without setting them off like a powder keg by reflecting their toxic attitudes back at them. A drunken me would have teased them by saying that I had just spent my last 20 dollars on an eight gram of "donkey" (a opaque corruption of "Mexican tar" heroin) just to tease them mercilessly so they would follow me, begging every step of the way; so I could make snide remarks, and make them suffer.
I was thankful for the 16 dollars that I still had; the new pair of socks; the apartment where I was headed where a new jigsaw puzzle waited for me, with fish defrosting in the fridge, an plenty of pasta, etc.

My playing had been a little off, but that was almost like a correction of how well I had played on Monday night; when I had made just 8 dollars; from a similarly sparse crowd.

Monday, on the way into the quarter, a guy gave me 5 dollars, after I had watched his dog while he ran in and out of a store. That had me entering the quarter with about 20 bucks on me.

Tonight (Wednesday)

The "crazies" have gotten their "crazy checks," today, along with other disabled types.

This means that most of the tenants at Sacred Heart Apartments will have money for the next, I would say, 7 to 10 days.

This morning I woke up and wrote the following:
"This is a dumb song..." is ringing in my head; on this sunny Wednesday morning, with the forecast high of 80 degrees well on its way to coming to fruition.

I feel like jogging, or something; I might do a couple sets of push ups and then hit the street.

I ate fish last night, for the first time in 2 weeks, and I must say that, despite having strange dreams after having gone directly to sleep after eating it, I feel as good as I have since about day 8 of the fast, when I broke it by eating an orange. That orange gave me "a sense of well being."

It is time to take the step to quit smoking, by smoking my last cigarette, inhaling it deeply and admitting to myself that I am not enjoying it, only alleviating the craving for nicotine, and would smoke it even if I had bronchitis and it made me cough until I saw stars.

Out I Go

I now leave Starbucks, on this Wednesday night, hoping to make some money.
My food money comes in about 75 hours.
I am craving a cigarette; but I am also thinking about a beer; to celebrate not having had a cigarette for 4 hours now; a good high quality, nutritious beer. I must walk past The Unique Grocery; I might as well step inside and say "Hello, long time no see" in Ethiopian, while I'm in the neighborhood.