Sunday, February 28, 2016

One Of My Longest Posts

  • 3,000+ Word Post, This
  • $28.28 Friday
  • Clock Management Woes
  • Saturday Night Off (yikes)

Time has been a pain in the ass lately.

Oh, Lord, look at the time!!

It seems that every clock that I look at reveals it to be later than I had been hoping it would be.

It has been especially problematic when I only have a certain amount of it before catching the trolley which is scheduled to arrive at Starbucks long enough before it closes to make lugging along this laptop worthwhile.

The other night, it was almost 8 PM, and I stood there pondering whether or not to take it along, knowing that I would arrive with less than an hour to sip coffee and go online.

The more I pondered, the less worthwhile it began to seem, until I had thought about it long enough to make the determination that I should just leave the thing at home.

Getting a large cup of strong coffee, spiked with a shot of espresso, to bring with me to the Lilly Pad was the priority -more important than whatever I might  accomplish  in a half hour online -probably a scant blog post which would be prefaced with: "I only have 20 minutes to post, but..."

I usually figure that, if I could get at least an hour at Starbucks, then it would make up for being burdened with an extra 7 pounds the rest of the night, beginning with a 10 block trek to the Lilly Pad.

Then, I would have to be extra concerned about a punk running off with it, along with the backpack that it is in -enough so that I would tie one of its straps to the gate behind me.

And then, I would have its weight hindering me along the 3 block walk to Rouses Market.

This brings up another instance of time being a nuisance.

It seems that, I can start a song shortly after midnight, knowing that I have almost an hour to get to the store, and then after what seems like 15 minutes of playing; recheck the time to see that it is suddenly 6 minutes before 1 AM. and that I must jog there. The weight of the laptop then becomes a factor.

Once at the store, I must be careful about packing my groceries in the bag so  that they will put the minimal amount of pressure on the thing, as I have discovered that a gallon of water pressing upon a harmonica in its harness which is, in turn, pressing upon the laptop can put a crack in its screen. Jogging to catch the trolley increases that risk.

$28.28 In 2 Hours And 15 Minutes

So, as it turned out Friday the 26th, I stepped outside the apartment, after having packed all my stuff up and donned the appropriate clothing for the 44 degrees that was forecast, and saw a trolley pass, which would have definitely gotten me to that coffee in time. The next one along would come with no such assurance.

As I had been preparing to leave, I actually had been glancing at the clock every couple of minutes or so, just to make sure that it was not playing tricks on me; half expecting to catch the hands lurching forward; whereupon I would exclaim: "Aha! I knew something was up!!"

As I stood there waiting for a trolley which would turn out to have 11 minutes to make it to the corner of St. Charles and Canal Streets and a large cup of strong coffee spiked with espresso, all I could think about was how I had started my preparations to leave with a little more than an hour to spare, and here I was with only a 50% chance of arriving on time.

Barrister Draws The Line

I was hoping that Starbucks would have been busy enough -with several people having come in just before 9 PM, who would still be standing in a line that I could sneak into the rear of.

What I had working in my favor, I thought, was the fact that the Starbucks barristers have come to know me as a guy who only gets a cup of black coffee, sometimes with a shot of espresso, made by a machine which is easy to clean; just rinses out, and they would be less prone to tell me: "Sorry, we're closed."

As it was, I was planning to come in through the back door which is left open, ostensibly to allow people to leave, as the front door would probably already be locked with a "Sorry, we're closed" sign hanging.

It was Harold, that damned cat, I thought.

When I first stepped outside, he was meowing at the door, and I had brought him inside and put some food out for him. That is what had made me miss the first trolley which would have made it on time.

I got off the trolley one block before Starbucks, with 3 minutes to get there, thinking that I could cover that block on foot faster than the trolley could; which had to load about a half dozen people there whom, I felt pretty sure, would each not have the exact change and would each have to call out to any one of the passengers that might have 4 quarters for a dollar and then have to deal with one of the street types whose hustle is to sit at certain stops asking people who are getting off if they are done riding for the day and, if so, if they can have their all day passes, so they can turn around and sell them (the correct term for them is "trolley skeezers," by the way) who would say: "I got 2 quarters for a dollar," giving the tourist pause to think about that for a few more agonizing seconds.

Then each would, in turn, ask the driver if this was the trolley going to Harrah's Casino; or ask if it was the one going down St. Charles Street, and after learning that it wasn't, would stand there jotting down the directions to the one that does, from the driver, who would repeat them, as per that special courtesy that is extended to anyone who looks and acts -through asking that question- like a wealthy tourist.

By then the light ahead would be red, and the trolley would sit there an additional one of the 3 minutes that I had at my disposal, waiting for it to change.

De-Clawing The Trash Bins

I got to Starbucks at exactly 9 PM, went in through the back door, and was informed that they were closed, and had already "closed out the register." And dumped out the last of the coffee, I guess, or given it to one of the Starbucks skeezers, yes we have them -they know that Starbucks is one of those "caring" establishments (that only buys their beans from suppliers that pay their bean pickers a decent wage, for example) whose policy might just be that if there arrives a homeless person at the end of the evening who really needs a "pick me up," and there is left over coffee and left over scones and/or bear claws, then give them away, rather than toss them in the trash. This provides the side benefit of keeping the trash cans from being dumped out onto the sidewalk to be "de-clawed" each night.

That particular location has a few regulars whom one can smell as soon as one walks in towards the end of a given evening.


Still wanting that coffee and having only a dollar and 38 cents on me, I headed towards the Starbucks at Harrah's Casino, mentally preparing myself for a possible encounter with the young black security "officer," at the entrance who, it seems, has carte blanche in turning away (with a smirk on his face, and the words: "Not tonight," repeatedly uttered, at the request for any explanation) anyone whom he can get away with deeming homeless with the presence of a backpack seeming to suffice in that regard.

As I walked the 5 blocks to the casino, I took inventory of myself, noting that I was wearing my nice shiny black shoes and my newest black jeans.

I took my nice black jacket out of my backpack and put it on, so as to make the pack even smaller, and appearing less like I was carrying "my whole world" on my back -no sleeping bag here- and then took my Starbucks gift card out of my wallet, so that it would be visible in my hand and might imply an affiliation with people who are not homeless, and the plastic card carrying world that they exist in.

I didn't have to worry, as the young smart ass was not on duty.

Instead it was the young black lady, who almost seems to welcome the appearance of me, as I look old enough, I guess, to save her the trouble of having to check my ID; a task which I'm sure is the bane of her working life, as it stands in the way of her receiving a paycheck for "just standing there," or, more accurately, "just leaning on the podium" taking as much weight as possible off of her feet.

Pedaling Wares

I had my strong coffee, sipping most of it down while talking with one of the pedicab drivers out front, who was complaining that it was a slow night.

His name was Gothier (Go-tee-ay) and he spoke rather broken English, with a French accent.

He told me that the drivers paid $120 to take out the pedal powered cabs for 24 hours, and that, on a night such as this, they could make "barely anything," but that, on a good night, they could "quadruple that."

So, I could drive a pedicab with the potential of making almost 500 bucks a night, rather than busking for $212 on my one best night, about 2 years ago, which was probably one of the "quadruple it" ones for him, I thought.

I also couldn't help thinking that, with my "chatting the passengers up" skills, that potential might be even higher than Gothier's, him being saddled with broken English.

I Save 75 Dollars

I went in for a refill, and then set out for the Lilly Pad, which was about 15 blocks from there (or a 75 dollar pedicab ride) noticing that it was just shy of 11 PM, when I passed the "Jesus shadow" clock.

Time has been a pain in the ass, I again thought.

I had been kicking myself over my recent string of 10:30 PM starts, and here I was on a Friday night (albeit a "slow" one, according to Gothier) at 11 PM.

I played for about 2 hours and 15 minutes, making $28.28, according to my accounting later on that evening.

NOLA On 14 Dollars A Day

$1.08 for an energy drink, $5.29 for cigarettes, $1 for a lottery ticket, $3 for an all day bus pass to save myself 75 cents on my daily rides, a gallon of water, some instant coffee and a newspaper later, I got home with about 14 bucks to lay on my bureau, where $2.60 had been when I had left.

A Gift Harp In The Mouth

The new harmonica sounds great.

The only problem has been that, it being a deluxe model, it doesn't fit in the harness that goes around my neck and so I have had to tie it on with strings made from plastic bags.

This is an advantage, in that, it makes me appear even more like a homeless street musician trying to make do -a hinderance at Starbucks turning into an asset at the Lilly Pad; and a disadvantage in that it has changed the angle at which the harp sits and I need to crane my neck a little differently to get a clean sound.

I will also have to work on tying it on tighter, so it remains stationary, as I struggle enough as a harmonica novice without having the thing moving around on me. This can be done by making the plastic loops smaller than the circumference of the harp and then shoehorning it through them so that they are stretched (...or by just saving up and buying a 20 dollar harness that fits it...).

I still don't know the origin of the anonymously sent harmonica, the fact that it came through Amazon hints at my mother, as she used to send me books through them whenever I had been in jail; and she is a blog reader.

But, the fact that the travails that I outlined concerning harmonicas in this blog had to do with musical technicalities, such as being out of pitch with the piano player in Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern, leads me to think that it is from another musician.

The country of origin (U.S.) seems to rule out The Lidgeleys of London -and they usually give me a "heads up" to check my mailbox in the coming weeks.

It was Tim, my caseworker, whom about a month ago assessed that I seemed to be spending a lot of money on harmonicas, to which I replied that that was because I was buying the 12 dollar ones; and added that a Marine Band (the brand that it is) would last me a lot longer.

Still, it is a mystery.

It might have come from Lee Rumbley, a sometimes blog reader from Mobile, Alabama, who is a paramedic and also a musician, and one who had commented upon a video that I posted to my Facebook page of me doing part of my "Bum Suite" on guitar and harmonica. I think he plays with a band called "The Last Walz." I would check, but I'm offline.

The curse of time once again reared its head, and I wound up missing Saturday (last) night, having not gotten to sleep until a little after noon, and having set my alarm 5 hours ahead (I had fallen asleep in the bathtub for probably about and hour in the late morning and was counting that against the "at least 6 hours" of sleep that I seem to need in order to feel fully awake the next day).

I had gotten in on the last trolley, about 3 AM, then, cooked beans and liver, worked a bit on a jigsaw puzzle, recorded a rhythm guitar part to go under a harmonica melody, which I then set to repeat infinitely while I soaked in the tub, seeing if any lyrics came to me (they usually don't; I have to write the lyrics when it is silent, so that I am not constrained by the rhythm of the music and can use whatever meter fits the words, and then put them to the beat later...).

I read a little bit of "Chronicle of America," a year by year, day by day history of the United States.

I'm up to 1841, and President Harrison has just died, 31 days into his term, after becoming ill probably from giving a 2 hour inaugural speech in the cold. John Tyler will take over from there.

I woke up with the alarm, feeling dead tired, wondering if the huge pot of beans and chicken liver (that I had eaten a couple hours before going to sleep) needed to be added to my "do not eat" list -maybe just without so much liver, and feeling kind of depressed, and having had a dream in which I was chasing after a skeezer that had stolen something from me, and whom I knew I could have whipped in a fight, but whom I couldn't catch, even though he and another skeezer were just nonchalantly strolling along the sidewalk.

I tried to run but was just floating as if up to my shoulders in water.

I guess I should have been relieved, upon waking,to see that I hadn't fallen asleep and left the bath water running.

Even after setting the alarm ahead and waking up again, I still felt like one does after eating a huge Thanksgiving dinner; like sleeping.

I woke up at 11:05 PM, and thought that I could still be at the Lilly Pad by midnight and play for 2 and a half hours (my quota, recently) and make who knows how much money, and still catch the trolley back on my 24 hour pass.

Leaving Money Out There

The decision not to was based upon my stepping outside to put Harold out, and discovering that the temperature was in the low 40's.

It is forecast to warm up over the next few days, and so I used that as rationale for waiting until the next (to)day.

Missing a Saturday night, though, makes me feel ashamed of myself. That is something that had never happened when I was homeless. The apartment enables me to be more lazy; something I need to guard against.

Now, it is 9:08, Sunday morning.

A couple of improvements that come to mind: A. Buy my food at Rouses Market before going to the Lilly Pad (whenever I have the money) so that I can play past 12:40 AM. It might be reassuring to know that dinner is already in the bag next to me as I play.

B: Adjust my thinking to where I really don't consider an hour a whole lot of time to get somewhere.

C: Take a glance at the trolley schedule some time and memorize the times that the ones that pertain to my schedule leave from across the street -maybe even glance out my window to ascertain whether or not they run pretty much as scheduled. A lot of people would have already done so, but, I get a D- in "self management."

If I was wealthy, I would actually hire a personal assistant that would do things like that for me.

Me: "Where's my pick?"

P.A. (from the couch in the living room) "The gray one is on the bureau next to your cigarettes, and the orange one is in your left breast pocket; you put it there before you went into the bathroom."

Me: "O.K., Thanks."

You've just read: 3,018 words

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Home Studio LivingIN

My Favorite Mule Short Excerpt-click here to hear

The hat out of a backpack that David the water jug player
is having me store at my place...

  • Harmonica In My Mailbox
  • 10 Dollar Wednesday

I am going to keep pace with my last year's outputting of music by re-doing and re-releasing it on the anniversary of last years date; that way I only have to keep up with the less than manic pace that I set last year.

In that spirit, I am posting a "one year later" bit of the mule song above.

This is, by no means the final production of "My Favorite Mule," it is only about a minute and a half, but goes through the first verse sloppily and then gets to the last part, where I worked out the multi-voiced harmonies that will ultimately go on the finished song.

It is also an experiment with using wooden blocks to play a percussion part that is meant to represent the sound of a mule trotting.

When I deem the songs to be complete enough, I will put them on the "Snowball Era" sidebar, replacing, in many cases the "Crappy Recordings Made Outdoors," that have been there for a while and, which sound so bad that I can't even listen to them myself; but had just wanted to use the technology at my disposal to post something; anything; on this blog.

Bye To Lo-Fi, Hi To Hi-Fi

According to the "statistics" on the mp3 hosting site, and a follow up investigation into who had listened and downloaded; I have discovered that I have actually attracted the attention of a handful (out of a billion) of "Lo-FI" affectionados.

I guess they enjoy recordings made on a shoestring; stuff like the sound of someone singing over a payphone line, recorded onto cassette and then used as the vocal track of a song -the crappier sounding, the better.

I have to make a recording, using my phone's "voice recorder" feature, of one of the mules clopping by so that I can use that cantor as a percussion track for the song. What is heard on the above version, if it is the right one, was myself using wood blocks to play the mule, but not actually knowing the exact rhythm of their hooves. Horses give a "triplet" beat, and music students are often advised to count out the triplets that they encounter on sheet music as "gal-lop-ping," as in ONE-Gal-lop-ping-THREE-FOUR.

But mules might have like a double beat where the front and rear hooves impact basically together, but at slightly staggered intervals, giving it a "flammed" effect, which, to a drummer is akin to hitting a skin with both sticks, but slightly out of time with each other, so that the two impacts sound like one "fat" one.  

10 Dollar Wednesday

Last night, I went into the Quarter around 7:30 PM, with my laptop in my bag, and stayed in Starbucks, drinking coffee off of one of the gift cards that The Lidgeleys of London.
Leaving there at their closing time of 9 PM, had me on pace to actually arrive at the Lilly Pad earlier than I have in the past week or so.

I got there at about 9:40 and played until I had 7 dollar bills and some change in my jar. I was having fun, but kind of got sick of playing, especially after the guitar went out of tune and I discovered that I had left the tuner at home. I guess I am spoiled by the thing, which gives an accurate reading, despite any loud background music. 

When I was tuning to the C major harmonica, I could use the notes from the piano player in Laffit's Blacksmith Shop Tavern to fine tune, but, now that I am tuning down a half step to accommodate the E flat harp, it is rare that the guy in there is playing in the same key.
I guess that, just like any other instrument, it is easier to know "a million" songs, if you know them all in the same few keys of C, G and their minors of Am and E minor.

Working On Music

"Like A Rolling Stone," is the song that I "released" on 2/21/2015, and so I now go to lay down the vocals in the next hour.
My focus is going to be on vocals, since that is what most listeners focus upon.

When I Should Be Busking

I will then take a trolley into the Quarter with only 2 dollars and change on me.

My food card balance is 0 for the next 8 days; such is life.

I figured out that the way to make my card last for the whole month would be to pay 40% of my purchases in cash, and put the other 60% on the card. The card has been consistently running out around 60% of the way through each month.

Mystery Harp

I decided to check my mailbox, earlier today. I do this because, if a resident lets too much of the junk mail pile up in the box, then someone might be dispatched to his apartment to see if he is still alive.
There was a good deal of advertisements for things targeted at apartment dwellers, pizza delivery and Satellite TV, as well as furniture to sit on while you eat pizza and watch TV.

There was also a small package from UPS; but, beyond that, I don't know where it was from.
Squeezing the bubble wrapped contents inside on the way to my apartment, it felt like there was a harmonica box inside.

I was hoping this was so as, before leaving the apartment to go check the mail, I had blown into my E Flat harp, shook my head in dismay and said out loud: "No wonder it sounds out of tune on the recordings."

I opened the package to reveal a very nice Marine Band harmonica, in the key of C. There was no note, and I couldn't find any clues as to its origin in the cryptic codes of the UPS label.

It is larger than the ones that I have been playing and I will have to modify my harness in order to have it held while I play guitar, but I can do that by using plastic bags, twisted into a spiral until they form a slightly flexible string which I can use to tie the thing down tightly on the harness.

I am also breaking it in by playing it softly. All the notes sound clearly and musically and the bigger size is going to be easier to play, I can tell already. 

It is a "soloist" type of Marine Band.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Or Does He?

Friday Night Off

53 Dollar Saturday

50 Days Without Drinking

Dorise Resting

Thursday night, I got in, after having made 9 dollars in a couple hours, after having gotten to my spot at 10:30 PM for the 3rd consecutive night.

I wasn't sweating the fact that, after spending my food card down to 9 dollars, defraying the cost of the food by only 2 bucks out of my cash (with 14 days left in the month) and taking the trolley home, I arrived there with, well, 9 dollars.

I did my laundry, and ran out to get a newspaper at 4 AM. The Friday edition was already in the kiosk.

I had bought instant coffee, corn syrup, olive oil, a gallon of drinking water and a can of cat food for Harold the cat.

Harold's Life Matters

Harold seems to be back on his schedule of waiting outside the door that leads to the parking lot at times that coincide with my own. He has pretty much figured out, I guess, that I return on one of the last trolleys, either the 2:20 AM, or the 2:50 AM and is ready to emerge from under one of the parked cars in the lot, meowing for food, when I arrive at the door.

He eats and then meows to go back outside, but has also figured out, I guess, that I check for him around sunup before I lay me down to sleep, and has been ready to come in those times. Perhaps his outside food source has dried up.

I like to know that he is inside the apartment while I am out playing, and that I am not fretting in vain over which flavor of Fancy Feast cat food to get, in order to vary his diet, and racking my brain to remember which flavors he has "voted off the island" by leaving a little bit on his plate, rather than licking it clean. When I first got him, that was a mute point because he was so scrawny that he was devouring anything, but now that he has regulated his weight, he has shown signs of being a bit finicky, like the cat "Morris," of TV fame, whom he resembles.

About the warnings that I have been getting from people that Harold is reaching a level of maturity at which he is going to start "spraying everywhere," unless I get him neutered; I have no experience with that in a cat, but I have been catching slight whiffs of kind of a cheesy, musty, ear infection drainage aroma that has had me on all fours and sniffing around trying to locate the source of; which seems elusive. That is the best way I can describe the scent, other than to say the the Chanel #5 people have nothing to worry about, should anyone try to bottle it and compete for market share with them; no matter how pretty a decanter they use. Too bad the catch phrase "stays on your mind," has already been taken, should someone try to advertise it on billboards...

Louise's Matters

I was at Rouses Market a little after midnight Friday morning, when I heard frantic horn beeps emanating from a cab. I was thinking that someone inside the store had called for a ride and the cabby was announcing his presence, when out stepped Louise the tarot card reader, after parking it, who approached me and told me that she had been trying to get my attention.

She made some small talk and then asked me how Harold the cat was doing.

I told her about his wanderings, which she attributed to his needing to be neutered, and then offered to help me financially with the procedure.

I am going to have to politely decline her generosity, as, how could I

turn her down if she needed a place to stay for 10 days after she had paid to have the cat fixed?

My dad used to say: "There is nothing free in this world, son."

Again, I have blogged about the Louise Skeeze extensively (see the 3rd week of December, 2015) and, in light of what I learned about her, I can imagine that she would want the cat fixed so that, if she manages to finagle another stay at my place, the place wouldn't stink of cat spray.

Coincidently, the 12 pack of toilet paper which she brought into the place shortly after she moved in (my first thought upon seeing it being: How long does she plan upon being here? -my second thought was: Well, she does struggle with an overeating problem...) is down to its last couple of rolls; maybe that offers some insight into her grand scheme...if you let me stay, I'll bring more toilet paper; according to my calculations you should be just about down to between 50 and 60 sheets...

I got the corn syrup as a budget sweetener. If I could afford agave nectar or honey or (yum) maple syrup, I would have opted for one of those.

I think corn syrup messes with the biochemistry and perhaps blood sugar levels in a way that can bring about depression.

Friday morning, I had a sweet tooth and, after discovering that corn syrup doesn't readily disolve in coffee (unless, maybe, the coffee is scalding hot) I wound up hoisting the bottle up and filling my mouth with it, and then chasing it down with the coffee. Otherwise, it would just be globbed on the bottom of the mug of coffee (which had hardly tasted any sweeter than usual) and I would have to spoon it out and eat it that way. I'm not that big on sweets, and have gone days and weeks without any kind of sugar, but I guess I'm prone to binge upon certain things. Alcohol comes to mind...

I woke up a couple times Friday feeling like crying, such were the depressing dreams, I guess that I was waking up out of. I suspect the gulping down of the corn syrup changed my sugar levels on some count; and I was on some count like withdrawing from heroin as the corn syrup left my body...

I have hit my 50th day sober, and I wonder if I can start counting months pretty soon, rather than days. I also wonder if there is a certain date in the future when I will just unthinkingly take a drink. February 29th kind of makes me nervous, because I could probably rationalize to myself that it will be at least 4 years before I ever drink on that day again...

Tanya Huang was at the corner of St. Louis and Royal streets tonight, playing her violin along with pre-recorded music coming out of a separate amp. She had her dog with her. The dog was sitting in the chair where, for the past 12 years, or so, Dorise sat, and it freaked out when I tried to pet it. I must smell like a 140 pound cat to it.

There was a considerably smaller crowd around her than usual, but she had won them over with her violin playing, and they were asking the same questions, such as "How long have you been playing?" and "Do you ever play with an orchestra?"

She was selling CD's, but only her solo disc, on which she plays all the instruments, and sings.

Of course, I asked her where Dorise was.

"She's resting," said Tanya.

"Did you have an argument?"

"No, we didn't have an argument."

I didn't press any further, and she was soon playing one of the songs off her solo CD for someone who had bought one, or was thinking of buying one.

I walked on towards the trolley, encountering Johnny B. along the way.

He was in a talkative mood, and seemed kind of excited.

He produced his phone and was soon showing me a video of himself playing on the corner of St. Louis and Royal streets and alongside him stood Tanya, playing along with him and looking, to my eye, pretty uncomfortable. She kept shuffling her feet and moving from side to side and moved backwards at one point, almost behind Johnny B.

Johnny B. talked about the huge crowd that amassed, and how it made him actually nervous, and especially about how "In a little over an hour I made about 120 dollars; Tanya just told me to keep it all, she didn't want any of it; of course she makes bukoo bucks..."

The video was of them playing "Daniel," by Elton John, coincidently. Johnny probably has about a dozen songs in common with Tanya.

I told him that I had talked to her, and that she had told me that Dorise was "resting."

Johnny B. , trying to appear more muscular by pressing
his upper arm against the guitar body'; what buskersrefer to as the "puff fish."

Then, Johnny took out his phone again and showed me a text that he had just sent.

It was to Tanya, thanking her for the honor and priviledge of having been abl to play with her, admitting "I know I can't hold a candle to Dorise," but thanking her again, profusely.

I needed to run to get the trolley at that point.

"Ok, I'll catch up to you, I'll see you on the trolley," said Johnny.

I was on the trolley when I saw Johnny pulling his cart full of equipment up the sidewalk, apparently in no rush to try to catch it.

He had better get the last one, I thought. He doesn't want to have to walk through the drug neighborhood at this hour; not with all that money in his pocket.

Any one of those guys could have caught wind of his raking in cash alongside Tanya...

I post the above information hesitantly; because Johnny had mentioned something about them trying to keep the matter a secret.

You've just read: 1,581 words

Friday, February 19, 2016

Jack The Skeezer

  • 3,000 Plus Word Post
  • A Tale of Two Skeezers
  • 6 Dollar Monday
  • 10 Dollar Tuesday
  • Wednesday Night Off
  • 9 Dollar Thursday
  • 45 Days Sober, But
  • Late Starts Giving Fits

Monday night, after arriving at 10:30PM which I had been determined to arrive sooner than; I sat and played for very few people over the next couple of hours, pretty much continually, because I was enjoying it and would have been doing the same, sitting in my home with only the cat as an audience.

Jay The Really Loud Singer at Bienville and Royal had informed me that "these people" hadn't been tipping anything.

I am pretty sure that a few of them made it as far as Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern, as I noted a few groups of like-dressed individuals who seemed to be of the same mind in walking past entertainers without entertaining even a passing thought of tipping.

This Monday had proceeded as a classic example of "a bad day," partly through my own agency.

The reason that I failed to make it to the spot before 10:30 began to take form when I woke up at 7 PM, with less than 7 hours of sleep under my belt.

Each night, I have been coming home to read a newspaper over coffee, mess with a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle over more coffee; and Monday night, I wound up revisiting a recording of my "Papaya Song," after visiting the folder of the same name on my computer.

My latest idea has been to make a separate folder for each song, that way I can keep the drum beat and progressive versions of it; and if I am just randomly jamming in front of the microphone and happen to break into a certain song, I can put it in its folder.

I have a heck of a lot of deleting/housecleaning to do in my music library.
Being sober has made me hear things better, as Dorise Blackmon said it would. and everything that I recorded while drunk sounds sloppy to me now. Everything. While stuff that I have done in the past 45 days can be used again and built upon. Once I have the drums all measured out, I can keep doing the next part until it is right, and then work on the third part for a few hours or a few days. When I was drinking, I would try to complete a song "before the buzz wore off" and would wind up layering new mistakes upon previous ones. At least being sober, a good idea still seems so the next morning.

This can include the most basic drum beat for the song; the beat plus a guitar and voice, all the way up to "finished" versions of the song, the listening to being able to give me ideas about redoing all or parts of.

Last night, I fixed the bass part of the "Papaya Song."

"I'm gonna buy a papaya," is the first verse, and then "Why a papaya?" is explained in the bridge.

The latest discoveries that I have made in using more of the capacity of the Audacity sound editor has increased my production immensely.

I have learned how to record over just a small section by going to it directly, rather than having to replay the whole song, waiting for that part to come up and then sing or play (hopefully correctly, or the process must be repeated) over just that small section.

It is amazing how much time can be consumed by layering 7 individual parts over a 7 minute song; almost an hour, and that doesn't include stopping to listen back to the results, at 7 more minutes each time.

Easy to see how I could be coming home at 3 AM and not getting to sleep intil well after sunup.

When I played Monday night and, after about 45 minutes, hadn't made anything, I started to wonder if this was going to be my third night in 4 and a half years in NOLA to come up empty.

Then, I reminded myself that other such occasions had been averted after I had made the decision to just keep playing until I made something, even if it took 2 hours.

On one such night, I wound up making about 35 bucks after declining to take the 3 dollars that I had after the first hour and call it a night.

A group of about 5 had come along that time and tipped me about 25 bucks after having requested a few songs, sang along, listened to my stories, etc...

I was remembering this when, along came a guy who sat on the stoop next to me.

I had been playing "People Are Strange," by The Doors and had hit every note on it and did a nifty little guitar solo.

"Wow, that sounded great," said the guy, who went on to say: "I mean, I've heard you play a bunch of times, but that...that was good!"

His friendliness in general, from the time he sat down was kind of a smoke screen, as I wasn't scrutinizing him for signs that he might be a skeezer, but, after he mentioned hearing me play many times, it gave me pause to look at him more closely.

He had short blondish orange hair and kind of resembled Jack Nicklaus, the legendary golfer, in his facial features.

I soon discerned that he was none other than a fattened up version of The Guy Who Tips You One Time And Then Shows Up Sometime In The Near Future Trying To Bum A Couple Bucks, Arguing That He Tips You "All The Time." That guy.

The last time I had seen this guy was probably about 6 months ago.

He was drunk that time and had wanted a couple dollars out of my jar. I had only made about 8 bucks at that point and was drinking then, myself, so we both wanted the couple dollars for the same thing.

I refused him the money and said something to the effect of: If you did tip me before, then they were tips; not loans. I think I blogged about it. He had kicked the milk crate that I had been sitting on out into the street, after I'd gotten off it, and was cussing at me as I walked off.

It's no wonder that he showed up acting very meek and friendly; probably thought I recognized him.

Before that realization came, and I had been relating to him as if he were a tourist, we had actually talked about skeezers.

This was after a young, skinny black kid who was adorned in an effeminate looking outfit, to include knee socks, had sat on the other side of him on Lilly's stoop and had tried to skeeze him.


I heard the guy tell the skeezer that he had no money and no, no cigarettes, prompting him to walk off.

Sometimes tourists will say this to the skeezers, and kill two birds with one stone by also seeing if I, myself, lose interest in them after hearing them say that they have no money; kind of a litmus test of the "skeezidity" of both of us.

Skeezers often arrive to bother the people who are listening to me, having perhaps pegged them as being generous (i.e. easy skeezes) by dint of them having tipped me. I love it when some of the tourists turn them down, saying: "This guy's playing music and entertaining us, that's why we tipped him. We don't give money to someone who's just walking around begging."

"The worst thing about New Orleans," I remarked to the Jack Nicklaus looking guy -getting back to him- "is that 'Hi, how are you?' means: "What do you have, what can I get from you?"

Jack agreed wholeheartedly.

"They try to 'play' people -I'm sure you've heard that term..." I added.

"Yeah," said Jack.

" the people are a slot machine or a video game, and if they pull the knob or work the joystick the right way, and press the right buttons in the right order, and maybe even shake it or kick it; they'll get the thing to pay out..."

More wholehearted agreement from the guy.

I continued to play; and Jack started to sing along with me, making his own lyrics up. One particular line of his was something like: "He's out here playing his guitar trying to make some money, but nobody's giving him anything..." It was sung pretty much out of tune.

A few groups of tourists walked past with "That sounds awful" written on their faces. None of them tipped the combination of myself playing blues on the guitar and harp and him spitting out musically out of tune panhandling lines.

"These people are cheap. I wish I had some money, I would give you some; you sound good," said the guy whose character I was now reassessing.

He had no money and, thus, wouldn't be leaving me any in return for for my playing while he sang/panhandled; and I was certain that, true to skeezer form, if someone did throw "us" a tip, he was going to try to lay claim to half of it.

His assertion that he heard me play "all the time" started to reverberate the "I tip you all the time," of his previous visit.

Then, he complained about the cold. This has different meaning coming from a skeezer, than if it were coming from a tourist, who might be from a warmer climate, and was feeling the cold.

"Yeah, I was cold too, before I put on this second hoodie," I returned, pointing out the hoodie on top of a hoodie that I was wearing. Der, you've been here "a long time" -enough to have garnered some common sense about dressing appropriately for the weather; it's like this, this time each year, have you noticed?

This is another problem with  skeezers, aside from their "Hello's" being fraught with hidden machinations -the fact that it is hard not to read a skeeze into every utterance they make.

I was sensing the possibility that he was leading up to asking me if he could crash at my apartment.

How would he know that I had an apartment?

Louise the tarot card reader, whom I had found set up Sunday night, not far from the Lilly Pad.

She "just happened to be" set up 50 feet from where I play; perhaps as part of a strategy to to ingratiate herself, once again, in a bid to worm her way back into my apartment.

The time that she walked over and talked to me was odd, also.

It would be reasonable for her to correctly assume that I usually play until about 12:20 AM.

She laughed just a little too side-splittingly at every little witticism that I threw out; just as she had done after first moving into my place, to go with the flattery over my music that would progressively annoy her over the next few days.

She has seen me walk past her on Royal Street many times, carrying a bag from Rouses Market which would have taken me about 10 minutes to procure, and would be able to deduce that I play until just before 1 AM most nights.

And she is usually still there, reading tarot cards.

So why, on this particular night did she pack up a little after midnight, and then encounter me, having to walk in a direction opposite her usual one to do so, unless she had a hidden adgenda.

If she had waited until I packed up, and I had gone off in the other direction, she would have had to call out to me, which would have negated the effect of the "chance encounter."

Do I really think that Louise thinks of such things? Absoulutely.

The way she managed to leave my place and take all of her stuff with her without leaving me a cent beyond the 10 dollars that she had given me as a down payment upon Harold the cat; telling me that we would settle up the money when she took possession of him; was classic Louise. Harold is sitting on my lap now, 6 weeks later.

Word of my having a "Unity" apartment could very easily have gotten to the Jack Nicklaus skeezer through her, whom has been very outspoken with her opinion that I actually have no claim to my apartment, because the government messed up when they gave it to me, and not her. (I blogged about that pretty extensible the last couple weeks of December, 2015).

It was soon clear Monday night that Jack was oblivious to my interests and was going to sit and sing out of tune along with me, and that I was most likely not going to make a cent throughout.

During my past couple encounters with him, I had tried the polite: "Listen, I need to make some money and it never works out when someone is sitting with me; I guess I just do better when it looks like I'm a lonely troubadour in a big uncaring world, or something...but thanks for listening for a while..." This had led to him cussing, kicking things and going off angry -the "You want me to leave, then f*** you!" mentality, I will call it.

"I need to piss like a racehorse," I said; putting Plan B for this particular situation into action. Disappear for a while and hope that they just move on, or even move on yourself, to a place closer to The Quartermaster -if you really need to make money.

After I came out of Lafitt's, Jack was still on the stoop, but was talking to a figure who was dressed in a full body costume of feathers and other trappings of the Cajun Indian, and whom I could tell was black only by a small area of skin, visible above his elbows.

"Oh, I've got a little efficiency with a kitchenette and a shower and everything...TV, cable...sure, you're welcome to come and crash," the feathered guy was saying.

I was happy for Jack (even though that made it academic that skeezing a place to sleep had been his aim all along) and happy for myself because; off they both went.

As they turned to walk off, Jack threw his empty half pint liquor bottle rather violently against Lilly's gate, right where I was about to return to sitting. It ricocheted off into the street. I'm not sure what that might have been intended to communicate.

Maybe Jack always leaves in a huff -just his style.

My thought was that the gesture meant: "Thanks for nothing!"

The implication was; I found a place to crash and so, I don't need you! You were probably going to say no, anyways.

Damn right, I was.

I pride myself upon being honest, in the sense that I harken to a higher authority on the matter, and not so much other individuals, and that to be made into a liar through the guile of someone else is to have a moral standard compromised.

Sure, there are many whom have learned that, in many cases, it is just "easier" to lie.

"No, sorry, I only have plastic on me, no cash at all," is something that they would say.

While I might say: "I have about 18 bucks on me, but, after I buy cigarettes and take the trolley home and maybe get a sack of weed, I'll be lucky if I have enough left to ride back tomorrow!"

Apart from my conviction that, ultimately, "the truth can't hurt you," I also think I say things like that to test the character of people.

Someone who still persists in asking for the 2 dollars even after I have just told them that it would necessitate me walking 2 miles the next day with all my gear on my back, is someone whom I would walk away from feeling none of the guilt that they might be trying to heap upon me. "If it was you that needed it, and I had it, I would give it to you" is kind of hard to swallow in that instance, also...

All the skeezer would hear, in my above statement would be: "Blah blah blah 18 bucks blah blah, blah, blah blah blah blah blah"

And would become like the shark that smells blood in the water: "Check it out, this is a 20 dollar watch. You can go look at them in the store, it's a 20 dollar watch, and all I want is...etc."

"Great, I'll be able to time myself tomorrow to see just how long it takes me to walk all the way from my apartment to my playing spot carrying all my stuff on my back!"

"You got a apartment?!? Check it out. I'm on the street now, I'll be honest with you. But, I'm getting 200 bucks Friday. Guaranteed. Guaranteed! And, check this can even come to the bank with me..."

"Oh I forgot to tell you; the 18 bucks is on a plastic card..."

But, I think in this case, I was ready to tell Jack the fib that, "Oh, I would let you crash, but I already have someone staying with me for the rest of the week." I would even add that the guy was giving me 100 bucks to do so; just to kind of remind him that he had no money (but he wished that he did).

It is now Friday morning, and I haven't slept yet.

I want to break the string of 3 consequetive nights of showing up at the Lilly Pad at, or after 10:30 PM. It is 5:30 AM, and after making just 9 bucks last night, playing for 2 hours, there is not much else for me to do except go look for some tobacco in the ashtray at the bar up the street, drink some more coffee and then read a bit, and drift off into a peaceful sleep without the burden of a full stomach to contend with.
Sleeping on a full stomach has been giving me disturbing dreams.
In this one, I was on a beach and was able to program the size of the incoming waves using a laptop that just happened to be mounted in a hill of rocks off shore. I programmed a huge tidal wave, and then prepared for the adventure of watching it come in. But I woke up before it did. Feeling depressed, too.
The dream was sort of like the memory of when I had gone to the beach in Jacksonville, Florida, to watch one of the hurricanes come in, back in 2004 -that time, I didn't stay very long because, as cool as it was to watch a genuine hurricane roll in off the ocean, as the wind picked up, the rain began hitting me at 120 mph and felt like being attacked by an army armed with pellet guns; a huge army. I hadn't counted upon that, as I drove out there, practically the only car on the roads, as I recall...
I suppose that was better than if I were in some place that afforded me the opportunity to check out a genuine live volcano up close...
The dream was also connected to my having mixed sound on my laptop before going to sleep and, at one point, having mistakingly set an echo for 6 seconds, rather than the .6 of a second that I intended. Having vocals echo 6 seconds after the fact hadn't produced a very musical result.

It is now  5:54 AM.

I have reached 46 days without a drop of alcohol. I haven't smoked weed in a few days, either. None of that helps me play my best music, ultmately.

The One Year Plan

I have recordings from a year ago, and have gotten the idea of improving them, using whatever skills I have acquired since then. 

Today, I remade "Like A Rolling Stone," by Bob Dylan, after listening to a version that I did February 21st, 2015, which my first impulse was to erase; being shocked at how awful I sounded to myself in my current state.

However, I decided to keep only the rhythm guitars and redo the lead vocal, the harmonica, add a bass and add the snare drum that I found on the sidewalk about 3 weeks ago. The finished product should be posted in the sidebar to the right, soon, if not already.

Then, I will find the next piece that I produced, maybe a week or so after that one; and refurbish it in the same way. By the end of 2016, I should have all of the 2015 material made over. I think that's a cool idea. 

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Dog Gone Cat Gone

  • 26 Dollar Saturday

  • 23 Dollar Sunday

  • Dog Gone Cat Gone

Saturday night, I didn't make it to the Lilly Pad until almost 11 Pm.

I had stayed up the entire previous night, after having stayed in Friday to work on things other than busking.

Howard had visited Friday morning for a while and left his backpack leaning against the back of my couch.

Neither one of us noticed it on our way out. I guess I have become so accostomed to the clutter of my place as to only notice things that are absent from their normal place.

In the morning, the sun came up and, the longer Howards backpack sat there; the more I wondered if he would take it upon himself to show up to reclaim it; choosing early morning as the time that I would most likely be there.

I eventually decided to just call the guy; I had his number from when he left it with security the time he called to arrange our viewing of the Patriots and Broncos game about a month ago.

"Ken" answered.

"Well, I take Howard's calls because he can't hear very well..."

I told Ken that I would try to make it over there with Howard's backpack. Inside, it contained two books and pad covered with his mostly illegible scrawlings. Howard is writing a novel.

There were also pill type bottles in the front pockets, but I ascertained that they didn't contain any essential daily medications, or otherwise I would have called sooner, I told him.

Ken is the guy who lives at the house with "Berta," whose 2nd husband has pretty recently passed away.

They are apparently the couple that had taken an interest in Howard and started inviting him over there for Sunday dinners after they all had gone to a church somewhere.

I would find out, upon meeting Ken later on, that he was the guy who had stayed in the woods with Howard, by the river and had "taught him how to camp."

I remember encountering him in that same woods once, when I had been looking for Howard for some reason, and he had been very protective and had even kind of warned me not to mess with Howard.

It was about 10 AM when I first called.

Ken called back around noon to check upon my progress; see if I were lost, and to inform me that he was about to embark upon walking the dogs; in case I were on track to arrive very shortly. He would probably have told me where to find Howard, and not to worry about the turkey. More on that subject ahead.

Owls And Turkeys, Oh, My!

I got across the river by around 1 PM, after having sat and began reading one of the books from Howard's pack while waiting for the "Algiers Owl," to arrive at the stop. It is called the Owl, ostensibly because it runs late, if until midnight does justice to owls. I found the house where Howard is staying.

I was greeted at the front gate by the two little dogs that had been walked.It is a one story, fairly large house (not appearing to be so from the front which has a small face, but with sides that stretch on back almost 100 feet) with a fairly large yard around, and mostly behind it.

There was a domesticated turkey, which turned out to be the one that I had once taken a picture of when I encountered it not far from where Howard and Ken had lived in the woods. It had been in a pen there, as it was here; and had been in public view having its cage right in the front yard, as it was here, having its cage abutting the fence from the neighboring lot where stood a bar of some sorts.

I joked to Howard about why he hadn't just told me that his house was next door to said bar and that I would have then been able, to locate them right away. Seeing the turkey accounted for one of those "It's a small world" moments.

When I had taken the picture of it, I had been at the Algiers Point Bar, where Christina Friis had been performing with a guitarist friend, and had walked a couple blocks down the sidewalk and spotted the thing that Howard would wind up living with.

I visited until about nightfall, having had it insisted that I join them for a dinner of a casserole, tater tots, and bread rolls with real butter, which I ate, fully expecting that it might revisit me in the form of an itchy scalp or maybe a slight headache around the temples, but, as long as I didn't decide to drink alcohol to diminish those symptoms, I would be alright, as I worked upon my 41st day "dry."

Howards housemates were drinkers ("from sunup to sundown, but they're never mean, he had told me during the visit when he had left his pack) and Berta had offered me "something to drink," upon my arrival. Howard had stepped in and told her that he hadn't done the same because I was trying to quit drinking.

The topic then moved to the turkey and I was given an almost tour guide style lecture upon the keeping of turkeys as domestic pets in general, "I don't know why more people don't..." and some interesting specifics such as that the turkey's head feathers changed colors between red white and blue "It's a very patriotic turkey, said Berta," and that, periodically the turkey lost all its feathers before growing them back into the beautiful array that the goldish brown bird before us sported.

After we ate, I was instructed where to wait for the bus back to Canal Street, so that I could capitalize upon a Saturday night, and Valentines Day to boot, to busk.

I went there and waited an hour and a half past the time that Howard had specified before boarding one. It was Saturday, and Howard may have been overlooking a "weekend" appendix to the schedule.

I got back to the Quarter at about 8 PM, took a streetcar to get my stuff at the apartment and didn't make it to the Lilly Pad until the 11PM mentioned above.

I made 26 bucks in about 2 hours, returning to the apartment to stay up from about 3 AM until 6 AM, beore laying down my body which hadn't slept for 48 hours.

I slept for 12 hours.

I felt a little tired still, but blamed it upon the casserole which undoubtedly had a lot of hydrogenated soybean oil in it, which seems to tax my digestive system.

I had a dream about Karrie in the late afternoon.

In it, she had somehow "made it" in the world and was wearing the finest type of clothing and had her hair all shiny and styled and had expensive sunglasses on her forehead. We were on a bus, and I tried to talk to her and she was giving me that distant type of interactions that a guy gets from strippers, part of whose job it is to be friendly, and who will call every guy who walks in the place, "honey," or "sweetie."

She was being nice, in a standoffish kind of way, sort of like Tanya Huang is capable of, and the emotion of the dream was mingled with my real life experience of having left Karrie behind when I lit out for Mobile, Alabama, and a better life, back in 2009.

At the time, I thought that she was just too big a drunk for me to want to deal with, and I was foreseeing myself watching her

deteriorate physically and mentally, and decided to part company with her before I might become so deeply in love with her that it would torture me to see that happen.

Ironically, upon arriving in Mobile, I set about becoming the biggest drunk in my 48 year old history; stooping to drinking such cheap but strong delights such as Steel Reserve Lager, and Earthquake Lager.

Here I was dreaming the dream on the night of my 41st day without a drop, and I think the meaning has to do with the fact that I had left Karrie for a better and more sober life; and the fact that Tanya kind of represents that better life, as far as what a musician can acheive through sober practicing.

But the fact that I was tossing and turning with the dream was probably attributable to haven eaten a lot of soy oil.

$21.58 Sunday

2 Hours of playing Sunday night, yeilded the above amount.

I had one young lady tell me that I sounded nice who tipped 10 dollars, and the rest were singles.

I had been determned to be there sooner than the 11 PM of the previous night, but only managed to arrive a half hour sooner.

Having woken up at 6 PM, after 12 hours of rest and a dream about Karrie, I was considering blogging for a couple hours here at the computer room.

But, I also wanted to do my quarter mile run, getting a "morning" energy drink at the store at the other end of the run, and perhaps checking for weed at the Banks Meat store. That would be better done first, I thought.

I ran the course in 2:13 which is very average, blaming the amount of food that I had eaten, along with a sore feeling in my ankles for the mediocrity.

I got an energy drink and went to the Banks Meat parking lot, where only crack was available. I told the crack guy that I wanted to wait until I had more money to spend than 5 bucks before "checking out" his product. I don't know why I said that, unless it was to test his nobility. If he had tried to get my 5 dollars by offering some ridiculously huge piece of something that surely wouldn't be crack, then I would know that he was a scam; and file it away on the back burner.

I was able, 10 years ago now, to convince myself to just never do crack again, after having had about a 3 month "affair" with the drug, back in 2006; an experience which I determined to be getting progressively worse as time went along.

I had 11 dollars on me and had to pass on the experience of arriving at the Lilly Pad totally broke and, although working on 42 days without drinking; instead "tweeking" as I came down off of 10 hard earned dollars worth of crack; grinding my teeth and having had any sense of confidence and self worth depleted from my brain and staring tourists in the eye with a look to match the best of skeezers and playing music while harboring a paranoia that "they can all hear that I smoked crack." No, thanks...

So, I started a half hour earlier, at 10:30. I had run into David The Waterjug Player, after stepping off the trolley at about 10PM, who smoked a joint with me, rather than asking me if I had any weed (which he does about 90% of the time) and arrived at the spot with an Arizona Energy drink to place beside me and fresh batteries for the spotlight.

I got one guy to stop and sit beside me while I was playing "People Are Strange," by The Doors.

My harmonicas could use replacing, and it was reassuring to make money off of a song that doesn't include one, because of the key that the song is in, or the keys that the harmonicas are in, take your pick.

Replacing the harmonicas, along with other things -the headphones that only sound in one ear; the woofer speaker that the cat tore the foam rubber around; light bulbs, etc. is going to require me to just busk for longer each day than the 2 hours that I have been averageing lately -"lately" to include most of Mardi Gras.

I spent $3.50 on energy drinks, $2 on batteries, $2.50 on trolley rides and about $10 on food today, which is 18 out of the 21 that I made. Hardly a recipe for saving up for stuff...

But, at least I didn't spend it all on crack...

Dog Gone Cat Gone

For all intents and purposes, I no longer own a cat.

The cat disappears for days at a time now; it is going on 48 hours missing as I write this; and only wants to come inside to scarf down food, be petted and scratched behind the ears until I tire of it; and play "attack the hand," until I stop because I don't want scratches all over my hands; and then cry at the door to go out for another ? hours.

I'm not going to foot the bill to have the thing neutered soon, as it is nearly the age to begin "spraying" all over. And I don't want to be responsible for any veteranarian bills, should it become ill because of worms or anything else out there; all for a few minutes of attention each day and the disappearance of money into its bowl and its litter box.

It might feel cruel to just walk past it on my way into the apartment, leaving it crying at the door; but a couple instances of my doing that could effectively disown me of the critter, once and for all.

Just as it is for humans in New Orleans; there is so much food out there for a cat, between that which some people who live here at Sacred Heart Apartments and have been seeing it in the parking lot leave out for it; to that which is left in piles around nearby abandoned buildings that are not abandoned at all, if you consider cats.

I haven't put any identifying collar around Harold, and so there will be no paper trail if I just decide to let him follow his bliss and be a wild cat. He can't have it both ways.

He used to stay close enough to the door so that, if a rainstorm were to kick up, for example, he would be ready to make a dash to get inside as soon as I would open the door and call him. Now he has discovered the resource of abandoned buildings and the society of wild animals.

I missed him and worried about him the first few times that he wasn't around when I called him, but now I don't worry; and I have stopped calling for him. I guess a cat has got my tongue in that regard.

Now, I can begin the process of replacing things that have been torn up by the thing. I recorded it meowing at the door, eager to leave the other night. I can put that clip into a song that I wrote about the thing; so as to have something to show for its having been here.

My plan is to show up at the Lilly Pad earlier and earlier, until I am conditioned to busk for 5 hours a night. Only good things can come of that, financially.

Louise Set Up By Lilly Pad
When I had gotten to the Lilly Pad Sunday Night, at about 10:30 PM, the first thing that I noticed was Louise The Tarot Card Reader, set up under the lamp post where I first started playing, across from Barnaby's condo.
I didn't perceive a threat and played well, despite her vibe.
She came over and talked, saying that she had forgotten that I played there. Maybe....
Or, I might try to get a job through the "Labor Staffing" place a couple blocks down the street and use the money to make my next foray into busking behind amplifiers and microphones and effects to go after Royal Street money.

I wonder how many of the musicians who now greet me warmly, as I make my nightly trek to the Lilly Pad, will continue to do so after they begin to see me as yet another musician who might, on any given night, be at a spot on Royal Street that they kind of hoped would be available.

Maybe Dorise will throw my guitar in the street some night, if I set up on St. Louis and Royal in defiance of their chairs being locked to the light post there, marking their territory. They are nearly the talent level to begin spraying all over, I guess.

I got a rather cold reception from them earlier when I walked past them. It could just be because they had a group of about 50 tourists around them and were trying to send a message of "Not now, Daniel, we'll talk to you later," and figure that not smiling would get that across.

Or, they might be hearing from people that read this blog about stuff such as the above, or that I write about how much money they apparently make...who knows.

The beauty of the above plan would be that, after Royal Street kind of dies at around midnight, the Lilly Pad can be just picking up, and I might be able to match the nights take on Royal with a couple additional hours there, playing acoustically, of course...

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