Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sure, It Will Come Back

  • $18 Friday
  • $48 Saturday
  • $8.50 Sunday
  • $10 Monday
Do You Even Go Out Tuesday?
The problem is that I can't decide if I want to take the night off and miss out on an average of $12 from busking.
That would mean, going out with all my gear and walking 100 yards to the trolley stop and plunking down $1.25 for the privilege of being dropped off at Royal and Canal Streets, catty corner to Starbucks.
If it were to be before 9 PM, then I could go in there and grab a coffee off one of my still active gift cards; that would take me to the non skeezing side of the street.
It has been a long time since I have arrived at that stop before 9 PM, as I have been...
Wallowing In The Mire
After coming out of there with my black coffee without any sugar that might gum up a harmonica, I would then try to slink past David The Water Jug Player.
I have begun to value time more, lately, even to the point of picking up my pace as I walk to the Lilly Pad, which is right around a 9 block walk; and certainly to the point of slinking past David so as to save time.
He can be cool to talk to, and has a unique perspective as his religion seems to be a blend of Rastafarian, Muslim and just enough of some religion that believes that there should be no religions to tone the two down a bit.
He is 65% percent of the time going to greet me with: "Hey, Daniel, where y' at? Please tell me that you're smoking on something..."
And I am put in a position of either lying*: "I have like this one little bud the size of a pea. Just enough to get me going at my spot."
*Statement only qualifying as a lie through the omission of: "And about 40 more like it..."
Or, of spending 15 or 20 minutes hanging out with David The Water Jug Player.

Sidebar: In the photo above the leather strap on David is indeed a water jug strap, allowing him to tote his drum around while keeping his hands free. To gesture, and stuff.

David is a friend and a positive influence. I could transfer this over to the "bio" section at some point.
He kind of believes that in order to do what we do we must live the most humble existence; sleep on a trolley stop bench, wake up broke and literally play for your breakfast. This enables The Great Music Spirit to move through you and touch a human life and it will be the best breakfast that you've ever tasted. Because you will be starving after having drank all your money the previous night, and dehydrated.
This exposes another chicken and egg quandary: Which came first, the sleeping on the trolley stop bench; or the spending all your money on alcohol. Or was it a tie.

But he is the kind of guy that, well:

You hang out with him and he asks you, at one point, for your lighter.
You are a mile down the road before you realize that he never gave it back.
You buy a new lighter and you also wonder if David had pocketed yours intentionally.
You also remember that David had given you at least 2 lighters in the past, on 2 separate occasions.
When you do run into him and the subject comes up, he explains something to the effect of:
"If you knew I needed a lighter- Let my put it this way; if I had asked you for a lighter, would you have given it to me?"
"So, you gave it to me. I just didn't ask."

"I didn't have to ask. I ask Jah for everything; not people."

So, after slinking past David I would walk the 9 blocks to the Lilly Pad, set up and play for and average of $12, with the possibility of that one big fish coming along -the guy that wants to sit next to you and sing while his friends shoot a video and try not to giggle into the microphone and who puts a 50 dollar bill into the tiposaurus' mouth saying: "That was great."

He is always lurking, the big fish, after 11 PM around the last must-see tourist stop on Bourbon Street.
But how valuable is the time that I spend "recharging?."

Jimi Hendrix complained about how he had to go out and be spectacular every single show, because everybody came to be blown away by this amazing guitarist and to see what all the hype is about; and so he had to shake off all the cobwebs and tell himself: "Well, here I go again..."

It is like the jogger who is feeling lethargic and still sore from the day before when he had pushed himself and achieved his best ever time.

He is stretching out; maybe a wind is blowing against him that morning. He is likely to be thinking: "Not today. I'm going to take it easy today, just keep a steady pace, get my exercise in, but kind of rest up after yesterday. I don't even feel like jogging. I could soak in the tub and listen to classical music..."

And then he starts his jog. It is painful initially but then he starts to feel better. Maybe he comes around the lake (that he jogs around) and the wind is then at his back. He realizes at the 3 quarter mark that he is only 3 and a half seconds behind his record setting run of the day before; and the wind is at his back. "Well, here I go again," he might think as he pours out every ounce of energy, and achieves some kind of "runner's high" as he has the sensation right towards the finish line, of being an entity totally detached from his body and envisions himself sitting on a cozy couch in his own head and looking out through his own eyes at the passing scenery- probably a metabolic function of brain to block out the pain, aided by oxygen deprivation; but runner's high sounds sexier.

He breaks his records again.

"Whew, I am so glad I dragged my ass out to run today; I feel great right now!"

Then, he wakes up the next morning. "I don't even think I'm gonna run today; It looks cloudy out and, plus, I've really been pushing it the past couple days..." etc.

So, I can understand Jimi. And the drugs that he eventually found that he came to rely on for: "You know...I feel like I can go out and rip it up every night...just do my little powder, get out there; let The Great Music Spirit run the show, yeah..."

Lately, I have been wrestling with my conscious to the point where I feel guilty on a night off; and insecurities about someone else finding my spot and trying to make it theirs creep up.

And to further compare myself to the late Jimi Hendrix; I have fallen into a pattern of smoking half a joint while tuning the guitar and then going off and playing my ass off for what always seems to be twice as long as it actually was; finishing the joint and the playing for a pretty much equal second set, and then at one point feeling like I have nothing more to "say" and that further musical attempts would likely be meaningless and uninspired.

It is similar to the phenomenon whereby a carful of people on their way home from a wild party might ride along in deathly silence, broken only by sporadic exchanges:

"That sure was a nice house."


And then back to the sound of the tires on the asphalt. No one had put the radio on.

They just don't feel like talking. Not out of any emotion like anger fear or guilt; rather out of lack of any palpable emotion.
That feeling can set in at the busking spot.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

If You Believe In Spirits

  • $49.50 Wednesday
  • $21.00 Thursday
  • Air Conditioner Now Working (cat no longer meowing to get out of hot apartment at night)

Wednesday night, I went out to busk.

I think that busking has become a main source of human interaction for me. I really can't count my local encounters with skeezers as "human interaction" (never mind "human embracement").

It was about 10:30 when I arrived at the Lilly Pad, and, since I didn't have a cigarette, I walked up to the bar and offered a guy 30 cents for one of his Parliaments.

I wound up taking the guitar and harmonica out and getting tipped 45 bucks from them (and a cigarette) as I played about 3 songs and chatted in between. That was before I had even sat down at the Lilly Pad, where I made only another $4.50 in the next hour. But, I had the luxury of doing whatever music I wanted, knowing that I was already almost 50 bucks ahead on a Wednesday night.
"No thanks, I don't drink!"

I had been offered drinks a couple of times and had told the story of my being about 140 days sober, which evoked a handshake and, I'm pretty sure, at least half of the tip money.

This was a more clearly cut case of someone supporting a musician who is staying sober so that he can pour more energy into his craft; as opposed to the times that money comes pouring in after I am tempted to drink but don't; coming from people who would have no way of knowing that that had happened; leading me to wonder if they are spirits, like angels or whatever Leslie Thompson is not.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Should We Not Learn From Them

I've found that the "mild depression" that I often suffer from can be assuaged by thinking about traveling up to New England, fuelled by busking, this coming summer.
Hopefully, I would see:
My Mom and sister. My brother, along with my sister-in-law, Melissa and my 3 (or is it 4, now) nieces.
My friends, Hubert Borg (about which "Hubert's Trip" is written) Dave Veautour (whom I last saw in 2009 when he visited St. Augustine, Fl)  Ted Broughey (who lives in Boston, which is potentially my last busking stop along the way) and probably Ben Lambie who would have just returned from visiting me here.
Somehow I have started to see the matter of my apartment as being one of those forks in the road in life where the choice is to either move on towards adventure or to sit around waiting to die.
I might go back to a more nomadic life, even sleeping outside a lot, yet, try to maintain the apartment -best of both worlds, kinda...
I just had the air conditioner in the place looked at by maintenance and the temperature has dropped from 80 degrees, where it had hovered the past 2 weeks, to about 68 now. Even Harold the cat had been scratching at the door to go outside the past few nights to get out of the sweltering heat.
I have taken the past couple nights off.
I am kind of tired of busking. It only takes a string of 2 or 3 lousey money nights to tire of it.
I will probably go out this (Wednesday) night, even though I haven't slept much with the air conditioner repair guy coming in, and now being up blogging about not sleeping because I am up blogging...
The American History book that I am reading is really putting a lot of things into perspective for me and helping me to see this world that we live in in some context.
Too bad that, when American History was first foisted upon me in high school, I just wasn't set up to grasp it. Then, it seemed like a bunch of data to memorize and then reproduce on tests. It seemed irrelevant, even after the teacher's opening day speech about "Why do we study history?" I just didn't think then, that we were doomed to repeat the roaring 20's should we not to learn from them...

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Night Off From Myself

Historically Slow Weekend

Saturday night, I walked past John Patton, the classical guitarist, where he always plays on Royal Street, one block over from the Lilly Pad.
I was walking past him, rather than having taken a left at the previous corner, because I was to retrieve the milk crate from where it was hidden in the parking lot of the elementary school where both Richard Simmons, Truman Capote, and Lenny Kravitz went, and where Elvis Presley shot a scene used in a movie called something like "Cajun Heat" or "Cajun Fever" or "I'm A Hunk A Hunk Of Cajun Love," I forget what the mule driver tour guide said...
[I looked it up, it was called "King Creole" from 1958; the last movie Elvis made before going into the service and the last one in black and white; and the scene was a schoolyard fight; I think my milk crate was already there and Elvis picks it up and bashes the guy with it].


I think that the muscles in my left upper thigh cramped up on me when I was in the middle of a harmonica solo, while I was was so focused on the notes that I was trying to play that I didn't notice it; it feels like a sort of tendonitis has set in; which it is actually too painful for me to squat down like nor walk like a duck. I am just trying to stretch it out and massage it; and am sitting on a milk crate when I play; so that I'm not in the same exact position that aggravated it.

Discouraging Words

John Patton told me that he had been out there a while and that the tipping had been almost non existent.
This is never a reliable indicator of my own chances of success. Some of my best nights have come after hearing from John, or from Jay the really loud singer (below) that I hadn't missed much; or even that I might as well turn around and go back home and save my effort.
Friday and Saturday nights, both Jay and John were right.
"These People Suck!"
I think I made a total of 34 bucks the whole weekend.
Last year's records for this time of year seem to indicate that it had been slow; but not this slow.
I'm planning upon staying in tonight (Monday).
I need some batteries for my little radio, a can of cat food, maybe some flea stuff for Harold, and some actual rest that I don't wake up feeling depressed out of.

Labor Staffers

I just might need to step away from busking for a while, complete my application with the Labor Staffers place which is just 2 blocks away from the apartment; and then see if I can knock out a few shifts washing dishes or something. I will be taking a pay cut from $17 per hour to $7.50, but that is offset since I can wash dishes for 8 hours but can't seem to busk for more than 3 and a half.
Plus, I won't have the stress of trying to do an incredible job on every dish because I never know if someone is shooting a video of me to put on Youtube.
The downside, of course, is that 8 hours IS a big chunk of one's life and grows proportionally as one ages, I think.
It will give me plenty of time to think as I wash.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

How Do I Measure Success?

  • Worst Busking Weekend In History?
  • My Fren, Ben
  • Tim The Violinist
  • Collaboration With Niko Considered

Moneywise, yes, the weekend yielded less than 50 bucks on about 6 hours of playing.

I am starting to look forward to the visit from my friend, Ben Lambie, who is in Easthampton, Mass. and who, I think has already bought his plane tickets to come down here, first week of July..

To the left is a recent photo of Ben meeting a famous guitar player, whom I can't recognize in the photo.
[I looked it up; it's Robin Trower]

There might not be a whole lot of excitement around here during that "slow" month when Tanya and Dorise take off for other pastures.

I am going to try to time the purchase of a laptop to replace mine, which is on the blink, for the week of Ben's arrival.

Not that he probably won't have some kind of tablet or "i" thing already on him; but, if he doesn't; the apartment can get pretty boring to the modern man. Luckily Ben is my age or a year older and can remember when people used to just sit and talk.

Tim Todd, violinist
Tim, the violinist, whom I sold the Roland Micro Cube amp that Johnny B. had given me in exchange for letting him crash at my place for 10 days to, paid me another 30 bucks toward it on Friday night.
That was good because I then went out and made only 14 more dollars.

Last (Saturday) night, he sat across the way and listened to me play for about and hour, along with his girlfriend, Rhea, who happens to work at the Nola Po' Boy place about 200 feet from where I play.

He told me that he liked my sound.

The laptop savings jar is at about $70 right now.

I am thinking of starting the "23%" jar off with maybe the 30 bucks that Tim gave me and, using some money to get the 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, which will keep me busy while the jar is hopefully filling.

I am thinking that, by the time I get at all the music which is on the dead laptop, I will have evolved musically and it will provide like a stark contrast to how I sound now...

Tim is a Tanya Huang skill level violinist. He leans more towards loops and electronics but can get a hellacious "electric" violin sound. Between him and Tanya it is just a matter of preference.
He is lighter on cover tunes, more jam oriented, but I have been surprised when walking up Royal Street in the evening to find that it is Tim playing on the corner of St. Louis, when I had already prepared myself emotionally and psychologically and spiritually to have encountered Tanya and Dorise.
I jammed with this girl named Niko at the Lilly Pad about 3 weeks ago.
It went off pretty well, but after she kind of avoided me the next 3 weeks, I thought that I might have offended her with one of my songs that lash out at bums or the mentally ill or are sexist.
But, last night I ran into her on Royal Street and she assured me that she had enjoyed our jam and wants to jam again.
She seemed nervous about playing on Royal Street, being a lone female. I told her that she could always play at the Lily Pad, even then, as I was going home, and that there were web cameras everywhere and that the street hustlers who have staked that area as their turf after having met the approval of the residents (yes, Lilly has standards for bums, too) are actually a protective influence; due to the ironic philosophy of "If anyone's gonna rob em (me or Niko) it'll be us; this is our block. Ain't gonna let someone just come in here and take something!"
Niko Lorraine
As if to punctuate my point, Lynda and Brian, who live at the 2 o' clock position from my angle at the Lilly Pad walked past and greeted me warmly.
Maybe upon seeing me talking to Niko, who also had her guitar on her back, they were trying to communicate to her that they knew me and that I was alright and not to hesitate to collaborate with me. They might see that as being greener pastures for me than sitting on the stoop 5 nights a week.
Niko is from Texas and grew up 7 miles from the nearest store, and then moved around, being thrown in with rich black kids that she didn't understand and attending an all white except for her school at another point.
Her voice is very strong; Tracy Chapman style strong...
She seemed to really want someone to talk to last night and was acting kind of insecure and uncertain.
She said that she will only be here for another couple weeks before going back to Houston...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

In The Hole, On the Whole

44 Dollars Spent During 2 Days Off
$14 Wednesday after 11 PM start.
$1.50 Rained Out Thursday

Yesterday, Tuesday, I set off on a mission.
It was Tuesday and would be my 2nd night off should I take it; but I was keeping open the possibility of going out and play if I had gotten back from the mission early enough.
It was about 11 PM when I ran into Lilly and her daughters at Rouses Market on Royal Street. I didn't have my guitar on my back; I was getting some food to take back to the apartment to eat.
The day started when I took all of the little pot plants that had popped up out of the flower pots in which I had pushed them under the dirt.
Getting Howard out, 6 months before the flood
They were all pulled up along with as much of their roots as I could preserve and thrown into a box lined with a trash bag which fit in my backpack. There they lay covered in mud for their journey across the Mississippi River on the ferry.
I hadn't ridden the ferry in almost 2 years, not since they started charging a $2 fare.
I stopped at the Dollar General and bought what I thought was a cable which would allow me to transfer pictures off of the phone that Sherman gave me and onto this blog.
From Whence Howard Was Transplanted
I had kind of documented the whole excursion, the ferry ride, the walk to the spot of woods where Howard lived in a tent before coming first to Sacred Heart Apartments, and now to a house that he shares with a couple friends which wound up being less than 2 miles from the tent site.
Upon arriving at the path which had always been an entrance into that half mile long tract of woods which was the home to at least a half dozen homeless people at the time Howard lived in there, the first thing that I noticed was that a "no trespassing" sign had been affixed to a tree, right by the entrance to the patch.
I could imagine that perhaps when the river was forecast to rise (to about 17 feet, using whatever measurement they do) that police were sent in advance to warn all the homeless guys to evacuate, to safeguard them; the sign being nailed up to make it official.
There was evidence that the river had risen enough to have flooded every single one of them. It looked like the remnants of Howard's camp would have been under about a foot of water (making him one of the higher and drier ones, I've taught him well...).
There was a blanket of river silt, dotted with the shells of some kind of river mollusks perhaps, which extended well past where all the camps were, littered with artifacts of homeless existence. Things that float, like Styrofoam and plastic bags were hanging everywhere from the branches of shrubs and tree trunks at a pretty much uniform height which one would assume had been the high water mark.
Things as random as a shoe horn that I saw were half buried in silt. But there was not a footprint to be seen, besides the ones that I was making.
This boded well for me using it as a place to set my plants free, back into the wild, which I did at a spot at the very edge where the grass which is maintained by the city meets the tangle of the woods. This allowed me to place them where they would get enough sunlight, yet would intermingle with and blend into the other flora and fauna if and when they grow up. I did this using a flimsy little shovel which I had paid a dollar for when I purchased the cable.
The nearby sign aimed at warding off trespassers is a plus in regards to my plants never being found.
It has only been about 6 months since the river threatened to encroach past the levy and yet there was only one active campsite visible along the half mile walk over the muddy ground.
There is always that one guy who will take advantage of the fact that the sign will keep others out, especially those with active warrants and other reasons to not even give the police a chance to ID them; and who knows that, if it's just one guy and you only rarely see him coming and going, and hence there are no complaints, and who will live there in relative privacy. I used to be that guy, when I stayed under the "no trespassing, you WILL be prosecuted" wharf where the steamboat Natchez docks.
I have pictures of a lot of this on my phone.
Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that the 5 dollar cable that I bought is a mere USB charging cable; and not a data transfer cable.
I now go to look for the receipt and try to remedy the situation...I guess I'll continue the story when I have the photos available to go with it.
Coming soon: I Visit Howard...
Still no photos off of the LG phone.
When I plug it into computer, the computer doesn't recognize the thing as being a "storage device," and, hence, does not provide a way to manipulate the files on it.
There are ways around the problem.
The problem right now is that the 2 or 3 nights that I have been taking off each week have been taking a heavy toll from the "laptop savings jar."
It is as if I need to busk every single night in order to maintain my "lifestyle."

On the surface, it would seem that, in a 24 hour day, "finding" 3 and a half spare hours would be a cinch; but the 3 and a half hours need to be the right ones, and the busker needs to time his emotional roller coaster so that it is cresting at that time.

The Dolans

Maybe I could call that AM talk show that comes on at night where The Dolans guide people to financial freedom through their tried and true methods.

Me: "Thanks for taking my call, Jim."
Ken: "It's Ken, but how can I help you?"
Me: "My laptop fried and I'm trying to replace it as quickly as possible, but without rushing into it and leaving myself hurting in other areas of my life..."
Ken: "Well, OK, what is your income?"
Me: "I've averaged just under $700 a month; the past few months..."
Ken: "Seven Hundred?!? 700K, or seven hundred dollars?"
Me: "Um, 700 dollars"
Ken: "Whew! so you are well below poverty level, why are you worried about a laptop, you should be worried about keeping a roof over your head and food in your mouth!"
Ken: "How much debt do you have?"
Me: "None."
Daria: "What to you do for work?"
Me: "I'm what's called a 'busker,' which is a street musician."
Ken: "Well, how much is your rent?"
Me: "I have my rent paid for because I'm a disabled veteran."
Ken: "Oh, so what are your actual expenses? roughly"
Me: "A pack of Cigarettes, about 3 bucks for weed, batteries for my work light, a couple trolley rides, a can of cat food each day; and at the end of the month, the balance of what I go over on my food stamp card. I would say that my regular expenses are right around $520 per month.."
Daria: "Ok so that gives you $180 per month to put towards a new laptop..."
Me: "Well, that's if I don't buy anything extra that whole month like a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle that I want, or a digital camera so I can post photos to this blog; not to mention new guitar strings, harmonicas, a capo for the guitar to go with the harmonicas, maybe a slide..."
Ken: "Well, it sounds like the problem is that you are throwing all of your money into the jar for the laptop savings, and then turning around and taking some back out on the days that you take off, or on days that you make less than $17, which seems to be the bare minimal amount that you subsist on each day."
Me: "Yeah."
Ken: "Well, here is my advice to you: You're basically taking in 23 bucks on an average day and then spending 17 of it, leaving you a 6 dollar surplus, which works out to right around 24% of your income. You already maintain a "1%" jar which is current back to March 12, 2016; so a practical, yet aggressive, but most of all, do-able approach would be to start a "23%" jar which would net you a new laptop in about a month, without denigrating your lifestyle and even sooner if you busk for more than 5 days a week or if you stop buying cigarettes; see our website for information on how picking ashtrays can help you get ahead. I'm Ken..."
Daria: "And I'm Daria."
(in unison:) "And we're the Dolans!"

I need to take the imaginary advice and start the savings jar. It is Saturday afternoon, I had a miserable $12 Friday night.

There's just no way to describe how much it sucks to run out of "interest" (I'll call it) in busking, yet to continue to play for monetary reasons alone. "Why am I doing this song?" is a terrible sentiment to set in during the performance of one.

I would hate to realize that, unless I get out there and play for x amount of time every single night, I'm just never going to be able to save up for the laptop.
I prefer to think that skills that I have acquired through trying to live without a computer are going to serve me somewhere along the line.

$14 Wednesday

Last night I played for almost 2 hours and made the above amount. At the point that I had the 14 bucks, I decided that I had come out and had done my thing and had gotten paid and it was time to go home and do things that I felt more like doing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


"Alex In California"
Thanks to Alex in California, who comments on this blog, for coming up with a solution to the problem of an unwanted side effect from sitting on a milk crate when I busk.
I have noticed an increase in the amount of skeezers who have either tried to skeeze those listening to me; or who have tried to bully me away from Lily's stoop, since I started sitting on the milk crate.
And, even though I had postulated that this was because of a hard-wired link in their brains which associated a milk crate with either a fellow skeezer (share with me whatever you've skeezed, and I'll do the same whenever I succeed in skeezing; 'cause you know it's a random numbers game; a lot of times it's just the first skeezer to get to them who gets the prize, before they go on to realize that there are just too many skeezers and they all can't be starving or the city would have set up a soup kitchen for them...) or someone who is new in town, was travelling light, and just grabbed a milk crate from somewhere and; most importantly; wouldn't know the unwritten mores and customs, and would fall prey to the skeeze whereby the guy just plops himself down next to the busker and starts begging over the music; and will continue to do so, especially if God forbid, people give him money; knowing that he is screwing up the musicians business and basically wanting the busker to say: "Hey, man if I give you 5 bucks, will you go do that somewhere else, 'cause I'm sure you noticed that I haven't made a dollar the whole time you've been sitting there; nothing personal, but I've been doing this for 9 years and I never make anything when I have a friend sitting next to me, I don't know why, but it's just that way..."
Out of which the skeezer would, of course, hear: "5 dollars."
If I were to do that then, within an hour, one of the skeezers apprentices would arrive and start badly re-enacting his routine; probably even asking for a dollar out loud when there is nobody within earshot; that badly...
Gonna run me around $20
I don't know what I would do had I not the blessings of Lilly, I probably would have been mingling more with the staff of Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern, especially the bouncers.
But, from Alex in California came this:

You could get a little folding stool or even one of those 3-legged camping stools, which would lift you out of skeezerdom because everyone knows skeezers abscond with milk crates for every purpose from sitting on, to using as a bike basket to I dunno, crib for their 11th born, who knows. But the fact that you could actually scrape together $12 or so for a folding stool or 3-legged camp stool would show you to be a cut above the common skeezer, a "real pro" and besides ... those milk crates give you waffle-butt.

Of course I don't know why I hadn't thought of it.
While the Pavlovian response to a milk crate is one thing; the sight of a stool like described above; and Alex could have added: "draped with Mardi Gras beads and festooned with New-Orleans-Culture-affirming buttons with its legs spray-painted purple and gold and with a green seat" causes quite an opposite reaction.
It would represent "the hand that feeds them." The skeezers know that they are surrounded by rich tourists and that it has something vaguely to do with something like that stool, and that's all they really have to know.
The stool would work.

It would work the same way that Lily, emerging from a dwelling and representing the property owners of NOLA; a lady in a dress; can run the same belligerent stubborn drunken skeezer off the stoop in under a minute who had been sitting there blocking my tip jar for almost an hour.
The skeezers know which side of their bread is buttered. You just don't get on the wrong side of the property owners; you act wild crazy and dangerously but never endanger a tourist; you don't tug on Superman's cape, nor spit into the wind; and you respect the above stool out of fear that the person sitting in it might have ties to the city; or just because your whole life, since coming to NOLA to skeeze, has been one glorious blur of green and gold and purple and drugs and alcohol falling out of the sky, and that is something that you don't want to mess up...

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Present

Right now (see photo) I just got back from a trip on foot to the bustling center of commerce which is Broad Avenue near Canal Street.
I wanted to take tonight off. It is Monday; I kind of want to listen to the broadcast of the basketball playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder, or maybe it is the other game.
Since my laptop went down, I have relied upon my little AM/FM radio which doesn't get AM to supply me with news, sports, weather and a lot of opinions.
The Gift Of A Night Off
Poor souls have to do a 3 hour previews of upcoming basketball games of import; and they do have the effect of making one curious about at least the outcome of the games; if not just to find out which guy on the radio was the most stupid.
I had determined this morning, though, that the 9 to 16 dollars that I have averaged the past few Mondays was worth going out for in order to speed up the acquisition of a new laptop.
It (the saving for a new laptop) is also a major league test of my ability to delay gratification.
At some point, I'll have enough money to grab a used one off of Craig's List. I will be thinking like: "Wow, I could be messing around with my 'new' laptop tonight!"
I ran "a quarter of a mile" of the way from the corner of ? street to the blue awning which overhangs the sidewalk at a distance of 455 paces by myself trying to imitate a referee stepping off a penalty.
That would have me running an extra 15 yards, if my pacing is accurate. which is OK with me. If I ever participate in the running of a quarter mile which has been officially measured, I should be pleasantly surprised at whatever time I post.
I ran the thing in 2:00.67.
That was 23/100ths of a second faster than the previous day. But 12 seconds slower than my "record" time, set almost a month ago.
Could it be my peanut butter heavy diet?
Could it be the way that I give my lungs a break because I know that I smoked the entire previous day and that if I really "push it" (by pretending that a bear is chasing me) then I will be gasping for breath and so uncomfortable that I keep walking after I finish running, as if trying to walk off the discomfort; taking as large of breaths that I can, then realizing that I will ultimately recover faster if I just stand there and relax as much as possible and take deep, deep breaths in between gasping out: something like: "F***ing cigarettes!!!" or "Man, I gotta quit those things."
Could it be related to the tendonitis type of thing which has effected the muscles around my hips?
The tendonitis type thing occurred during the Jazzfest, after a couple of nights when I played for at least 4 hours.
Through putting in these long sessions, I learned that sitting "Indian" style is probably not the best attitude for me to have, especially when playing the harmonica, when playing for a long time.
I believe that, when I was playing the harmonica, I was leaning into the thing in such a way as to utilize the muscles which are actually the thigh muscles, but are the thigh muscles at their very ends where they attach to the pelvis...I forget where that is exactly, even though I was a medic in the National Guard.
I Become A Crate Sitter
I developed a soreness; right in the area where a trousers pocket has its crease; which seems to be abating, now that I am using a milk crate to sit on when I busk. It doesn't seem to have effected the quality of tourist attention that I have been getting. I'm glad that sitting Indian style wasn't the vital element linking my music to my image and that I didn't discover the axiom: "When you're doing that kind of experimental stuff, you need to right on the ground; literally; or the music just won't come off right..."
If anything, I have been getting more unwanted interactions with skeezers, who may be having Pavlovian responses to the milk crate, perhaps realizing after all that, instead of  being a mystery to them, I have become just another one of them guys who sit on milk crates and try to make money; many of whom they have successfully skeezed and for which ilk they even have a skeezing protocol: "First you sit down next to the dude, just to kinda' feel him out, ya heard me?"
So, I felt a raindrop as I returned from shopping with a gallon of water a whole tilapia, some mandarinas, some garlic, tomatoes and a small bud of the "loud" weed, and the NBA playoff basketball game coming on the radio at 8 PM our time.
I really would like to think that I can recover from taking a night off to listen to the game, read some American History (I'm up to 1905 and it is amazing how they show pictures of the cities back then, and if you replaced the horses and buggies with cars they could be the New England city I grew up in) feed and brush out the fir of Harold the cat, and get 8 good hours of sleep.
I once postulated that, since I never know when that $85 Tuesday night is going to come along, I should go out every night so that I would be guaranteed to catch it.
I then shot that theory down by noting that the $85 Tuesdays occurred at times when I just happened to be brimming over with joy and creativity and was going to play and have fun somewhere and so decided to just do it there.
Am I Petty?
The $11 Tuesdays occurred on nights when I drug myself out there, not really ready to do the songs again so soon, and not happy with doing completely different songs half-assed.
Nevertheless, If I were to go out and play tonight, instead of reading the newspaper over coffee and working out with my bamboo stalk with milk jugs full of water stuck on the ends, set of weights etc. I could pretty much count on between 10 and 20 bucks; just from putting in the 2 and a half hours...
I am going to tell myself that I can totally recover from missing a Monday night by showing up full of energy whenever the next time I do is.
It is a test of delayed gratification that I am thinking of setting up a "20%" jar to save for the laptop at a rate which would net me a new laptop in about 6 weeks. But, during those 6 weeks, I wouldn't be going totally "without" in order to save as fast as possible. I would have the other 80% of my income to live off of, bearably. I could buy the 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle for $16 at Wal-Mart and that might occupy me for the entire 6 weeks.
Plus, the "6" weeks wouldn't even be that, were I to start the 20% jar off using some of the $80 that I still will have left after a reckless night of basketball and baked fish....

Sunday, May 15, 2016

44 Dollar Saturday

Saturday night was a strange one.
I was rushing to get to the music store before it closed at 8 PM, only to buy one guitar pick.
The one that I have been playing with for months has been worn to a size smaller than a dime.
I got there to find the store still open, though it was after 8 PM, due to the fact that some customers were in there loading up on vinyl records at 30 bucks a pop; whom I am sure were being told: "Take your time," by the manager who stood to profit several dollars for every additional minute that he stayed open.
So, I slinked in and got my 39 cent pick in the midst of it.
I got to the Lilly Pad, after having passed a busker nearby the Quartermaster on my way there.
I set up my stuff.
It was very early by my standards, shortly after 8 PM.
Alan sat on his stoop across from me, as did Barnaby on his.
I had forgotten the milk crate which I had hidden nearby.
I repacked my stuff and then went to get it, from behind the elementary school where both Richard Simmons and Lenny Cravitz went.
I walked the block back to the spot to find that the busker who had been across from the Quartermaster was now right by Lilly's stoop, playing a Led Zepplin song while a buddy kept time on some kind of tambourine.
I was able to coax him to leave after telling him that I had just gone to get my milk crate, and after flipping the LED spotlight on, which I had left positioned in the vines above where I play.
I was half-way through the night when a medium built black guy came and sat on the stoop next to me.
After he began skeezing people, I asked him if he could skeeze elsewhere. He refused to move, even though I had already been there playing at the time that he came and sat and didn't tip, but was rather positioning himself to skeeze; maybe even thinking that my music could attract him victims.
I took a 10 minute break to call Lilly, who was at Rouses Market and who took all of 20 seconds to get the guy to move on; raising her voice just once, I heard from about 50 feet away on the other side of the street.
I resumed playing, on my way to what surprised me as a 44 dollar night, because it hadn't seemed like I was getting tipped profusely; though I did play a total of 4 hours.
Not long after Lilly had run the guy off; another young black kid came by and asked me if the guy had left, pointing to the stoop.
"I just got back from the store and he wasn't here," I said.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Possession Is 9 Tenths Of the Law

Went out and only made 17 bucks Friday night; but I was feeling listless after about an hour and a half and had run out of energy.
I will have to pull the reigns in on the late afternoon doobie, as it has been making me groggy towards the busking end of the day....
Ben My Fren
A friend whom I haven't seen since 1993 is planning upon visiting NOLA in July; and I have told him that I can put him up at my apartment.
To the right is the only current photo I could find of him; one in which he kind of looks like the former Mayor Ray Flynn of Boston.
Nevertheless, his visit could liven up what is usually a slow period, marked only by the July 4th extravaganza which is more often than not a "dud" for buskers.

Phone Skeezer Wakes Me Up

I was woken up by a guy calling and asking me if I was "Danielle."
Before I could answer; and I had paused to consider correcting his pronunciation of my name; he apparently recognized my voice from my hello, because he jumped in with: "Yeah, this is Danielle; I talked to you yesterday about..."
He is a guy from the company that sells some kind of pill which is probably mostly creatine monohydrate, that promises to increase strength and stamina, etc.
I used to use creatine and can remember increasing my maximum bench pressing weight from 152 pounds to 172 pounds in about 20 days.
I can remember waking up in the morning and feeling like my muscles had grown in my sleep, as evidenced by my skin feeling like it was more tightly fitting.
This could be you, Danielle!
That Mark McGuire guy was using creatine monohydrate the year that he hit 77 (I think it was) home runs. He decided to get off the stuff the next year and just became frustrated with his diminishing strength (and plus, the super strong muscles put wear and tear on the bones that are supporting them in lifting more weight and running faster, etc.).
I don't think that creatine powders were ever on the list of prohibited performance enhancing substances, but perhaps McGuire didn't want his legacy tainted by even a legal P.E.S.
So, I had called about getting a "free sample," as advertised during a break in one of those late night AM radio talk shows that I now frequently listen to, since my laptop is on the blink.
All they wanted was about 7 bucks to cover "shipping."
First of all, there is no way that sending a less than half pound bottle of pills is going to cost 7 bucks to ship. They might have been more honest in adding "and handling" to that.
Second of all, the 7 bucks had to be paid for by credit card, the number of which the young lady who answered the phone and whom I at first thought was a robot, asked for.
The reason that I thought that she was a machine was the fact that she meticulously over-pronounced every word, as if reading off of phonetic symbols for the words. She would have pronounced every syllable of "meticulously," for example.
Here is what I think the scam is.
You give them your credit card number over the phone, they promise to rush you your free sample.
You get your free sample, along with some kind of message saying something like: "In order to keep receiving your monthly shipment, do need do absolutely nothing at all; that's right!
Every first of the month we will automatically ship your month's supply bottle out and only bill your credit card the unbelievably low price of $89.95.
And, of course, you can cancel any time; as long as you send the label off the bottle along with your reason for cancelling, written in red ink on a 5 X 7 file card; and please send the bottle back in the original box with the bar code undamaged by the opening of it.
And then, even if you cancel before the first box even arrives in the mail, they will be into the next "billing cycle" or something and all cancellations from that point on take effect for the next month.
So, it will be almost inevitable that they will get the $89.99 out of your account; they have your number after all, and "possession is 9 tenths of the law," someone once said.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Where's My 5 Bucks

  • 24 Bucks Thursday
  • Lilly Pad Skeezers

Thursday night, the "Jesus shadow" clock read about 10:40 PM as I went past it on the way to the Lilly Pad.
There were a couple people sitting on the stoop, one of which was an older black guy whom, I was sure, was either skeezing the middle aged white guy sitting next to him, who was dressed like a tourist, or was hooking him up with some pot.
As I arrived, the white guy said: "There's a guy with a guitar!" as if he had been waiting for one to show up.
The black guy began to tell him that I played well and that he should listen to me.
I slowly set up and tuned up and played for a while, wondering how I was either going to get the two of them to leave me in peace, or to at least tip me something. Or maybe to get the skeezer to hurry up and skeeze the guy and go off with a couple bucks, or more to my joy, off with nothing but the brutal lesson that if you waste a half hour of your time skeezing and get nothing then, that's on you.
It turned out that the guy played guitar. He wanted to play my guitar.

I told him that I usually asked people to throw "a couple bucks" in my jar if they played my guitar.
He said something that started with "I'll..." which had the effect of making the skeezer burst into a giggle. He seemed to gravitate more to the spot next to the guy, as he sat back down next to the guy after having stood up; giving me hope that he might walk away.
I let the guy play the guitar.
He wanted me to play along on the harmonica, and played songs that he knew in the key of C, although they weren't in the modes that I favor on the C harp.
Soon, along came another older, skinny black guy in a striped shirt, who had 2 spoons in his hands, and who decided to impose himself between myself and the guy playing guitar and "play" the spoons -not it the way that spoons are usually played, but by using them like drumsticks to drum on a metal electrical box (which is right outside a bedroom in Lilly's house, and who knows how well the metal conducts the sound into the dwelling?).
It was as if the second skeezer with the spoons saw the first one and knew that he was skeezing the tourist, and couldn't bear to let it pass without sticking his own nose in the trough. Almost every time a tourist gives to a skeezer, it attracts more of them, who bring almost a "where's MY 5 bucks?" attitude with them.
"Hey, I don't work with a spoon player," I said to the "spoon player."
He was soon on his way, but not without profusely begging the tourist for money, using some bald faced lie, like saying he hadn't eaten all day. And, I mean begging hard, almost kneeling down and "please" -ing him to the point where he was displeasing him so much that the skeezers hustle becomes implicitly: for a sum of money; I will go away...
"I'm trying to work here," I said at one point.
The other skeezer took the hint and began to leave, but not before profusely begging the tourist, saying that he too hadn't eaten all day, or something.
I don't know what the guy handed him, but he was brimming with joy and all "God bless you"s and "Thank you Jesus"s. He soon walked off; after all, he had gotten what he had spent a half hour trying to skeeze.
"Here, this is for you," said the tourist, turning towards me and handing me a bill.
"Thank you," I said and put it in my back pocket without looking at the denomination.
Then, the tourist wanted to play another song, which he did, while I tagged along on the harmonica. The song seemed to have 100 verses.
I was able to get the guitar back, by saying, something like: "That was a pretty cool song," while extending a hand towards the instrument.
I began to play some more, but was soon interrupted by him saying, "Oh, I know what song we can play," and extending his hand towards the guitar.
We had jammed for a half an hour, and only a dollar and 50 cents had gone into my jar, and now he wanted to play another song.
I should have pulled the bill out of my pocket and looked at it (it wound up being a 20) but, instead, I used the excuse that I had to run to the restroom, packed up and ran to the store up the street. I didn't buy anything there, except time. Returning 10 minutes later, I set up again and played for another half hour, but only made about 3 more dollars.
I supposed, in hindsight, I should have just jammed with the guy all night (2 hours at most) and then took my chances with him saying something like: "Here's another 20, I know I put you out of business all night..."
I probably would have humored him longer by playing harmonica along with his guitar playing and singing, had I seen that he had given me a 20; but, only 4 dollars and 50 cents went into the tip jar
while we were jamming, so I would have been putting all my eggs in one basket.
He was drunk enough that he was pausing in his speaking to search for words. I'm sure the skeezers were circling him like vultures for that very reason; like boxers seeing their opponent starting to sway.
He told me that he just missed playing the guitar, being away from his Alvarez. I think I might have blown a 50 dollar tip by running off to "the restroom," now that I think of it more...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

From The Phone To The Blog

Taking Tuesday Off

$17.58 Wednesday
$24 Thursday

I got back to work after 3 days off by arriving at the Lilly Pad at around 11 PM and playing for 2 and a half hours in order to net $17.58 on Wednesday.
The 17 bucks was reassuring because it came from basically 4 groups of people. It could have been 4 single bills, which would have been a strain upon my tranquility, after having taken 3 days off.
I feel like I can continue to go out and accumulate money for the laptop fund. which had dipped to below 70 bucks, after the 3 days off.
For "Her."
I'm pretty happy about the improvement in my playing recently; it is almost happening on a spiritual level where I can feel the energy of other buskers channeling through me...I do mental exercises, like pretending that there is a lady up in one of the rooms in the nearby houses who is laying back on her bed and can hear me through her window which has been opened to allow starlight in...I will perform for "her" all night; probably to the bemusement of some tourists. I have been complimented before by people who were impressed that I had performed as if for someone, when there was nobody there (except for he; making the observation).
The phone that Sherman gave me, I have not yet been able to switch over the service from the old phone to., I might have to hold indefinitely (because my call is important to them) and get it done. I will need yet a third phone to call from, apart from the the 2 phones involved in the transfer. The phone has a camera; and I might be able to spruce up this blog with more photos soon, after I get in the habit of whipping it out as soon as I see something fantastic, or spectacular at least; and snapping a picture.
I think I just then get a USB chord; plug the phone into any empty USB slot on this computer and some wizard will pop up and instruct me on how I can get the pictures from the phone to the blog...

I woke up and looked at the clock. It read 10 minutes past 7.
I thought that it was Tuesday night, and that the half lit sky outside was darkening.
But then, I drifted off to sleep only to awaken to the sight of sunlight streaming through the windows, and I realized that, after laying down at 9 PM, the previous evening, right after Sherman rode off on his motorcycle, I had slept about 10 hours.
This was very cool, as it had me up and well rested early in the morning.
Last week, I only made about 20 bucks Monday through Wednesday.
I am trying to achieve some kind of balance between busking, and other activities, hoping that it will have me full of energy and playing for a long time at a high level on the money nights.
It used to be that any night at all could be a money night here. There were definitely more tourists here, as recently as 2 years ago. There was a drop off after the last shooting on Bourbon Street, almost 2 years ago.
Aw, Shoot...
I remember that I had gotten some food out of the Rouses Market trash -I think it was about 1:40 AM- and then had walked up to Bourbon Street where I saw puddles of blood on the tiled sidewalk around the side entrance to one of the businesses, and then stepping over them, came to the corner where was visible a person laying in the street, nearby whom stood a cop with his hands on his hips and chewing gum, and another cop closer to me who told me to keep moving, which I did, coming upon another young lady who was sitting on the curb and holding a bloody rag to the side of her face. She had had a bullet pierce her cheek and miraculously miss her teeth. She must have had her mouth open during that split second in time. I wondered if she had chosen between one word over another, and was pronouncing it when the bullet went through her cheek, saying: "What was that?!?" and getting hit on the last word, rather than: "What the f***?!?" which would have cost her a few teeth.
I didn't ask her. She was ruing the fact that she was probably going to be the last of the injured to get any attention "'Cause there's people dying over there," as she put it; matter of factly.
That's what I remember of the night of the last Bourbon Street shooting, along with the fact that, back then, I could go out and have a 75 dollar Tuesday night, if I just put in the 5 hours.
Now, I am taking the first 3 days of the week off, after evaluating the time to be worth more than the 20 dollars that the law of averages would have me making.

Sunday Night Off

Joseph Schedlo
I had talked to Joe Schedlo, who plays acoustic guitar and sings in a voice somewhere between John Prine and Bob Dylan, somewhere between the Supreme Court building and the corner of Royal and Conti Streets.
He had said that he can only play 4 nights per week and just has to take 3 days off.
I didn't press him for the reasons behind that, but it did get me thinking:
If I drag myself out to play on a night when I really don't feel like playing, and it is a "slow" night, like a Monday or Tuesday, then I might in effect be burning myself out for the "money" nights of Friday and Saturday.
I really hate the feeling that I sometimes get when setting up to play which I usually vocalize as: "Wasn't I just here doing this like 5 minutes ago?"
That is when I feel like my battery hasn't been recharged for doing those certain songs, and, unless I can pull some song from my memory that I haven't done in a long time; there is a struggle to be fresh and original, not to mention, inspired.
Sunday Night Baseball
I took Sunday night off, because I wanted to rest, in general, and to listen to the broadcast of a Red Sox baseball game on my cheap radio.
"I'm really not a big baseball fan, in fact, I have just about enough interest to listen to one Red Sox game per year; and this is probably going to be it. The Red Sox just happened to be playing the Yankees, whom they share a storied rivalry with, on a Sunday night; and so Sunday Night Baseball scooped it up.
I've been reading the sports section just about every day, enough to at least know the names of the Red Sox players, plus, I wanted to take a night off.." was my explanation to Sherman, who dropped in to visit, upon that Sunday night.
The Red Sox were ahead 5 to nothing when I drifted off to sleep, after Sherman had left, after we had hung out an chatted.
He gave me a new (to me) cellphone, and I can switch my account, along with my easy to remember number of 333-4123 over to that phone, which has a camera.
I can use the camera in order to recapture some of the functionality that I am missing because my laptop is on the blink.

I went on to take Monday night off, also.
I will just have to make up my mind to work longer and harder on the nights that I do busk.
I can feel my ambition to go out and play gradually increasing.
I think that Shedlo might be on to something.
Tanya and Dorise are 3 day per week players, also.

It is on the nights that I feel upbeat and am enjoying myself immensely that I have my best money nights. This can happen on a Monday night (like a recent 45 dollar one) but, a lackluster performance given with a "really don't feel like being here" attitude on those slow days can produce a 9 dollar outing. Subtract $2.50 for the trolley back and forth and...you should have stayed home and read, or wrote or drew or.....

Monday, May 9, 2016

Places Where I've Been Homeless

  • 125 Days Sober
  • Sunday Night Off To Listen To Red Sox Game
  • $16 Saturday
  • $42 Friday

Lake Johnson Park, listed in Raleigh, North Carolina, but I think part of it is in Cary, N.C.

The above is a path that I walked, in the early days of December, 2005, for about 3 weeks, before I moved on to Florida (due to lack of job opportunities in the Lake Johnson Park area)
There was a little canyon, made by a brook which fed into Lake Johnson, and about 300 yards upbrook, it had carved its way about 50 feet through the sandstone and had snaked in a way that there was a spot in the bends which was invisible, except from above.
That is where I made a nightly fire, the heat of which kind of lingered there in the crook, where the brook was about 10 feet across at that time. There was evidence in the faces of the cliffs that the brook had been much wider at times.
I cooked food over the fire and drank wine and enjoyed the scenery.
In the above, you can see the park's namesake lake to the right, through the mostly maple trees.
To the left the terrain ascends quite sharply, to a point about 250 feet higher, where it becomes flat and where are perched houses that overlook the lake.
My "path off of a path" (below) led to where I broke off of it, traversed about 300 yards of not very dense forest to a spot where the terrain began to descend to the creek which had carved the cliffs.

I was in the dollar store earlier today, and there was a "painting" there, for 15 bucks but it was about 3 feet square and looked almost like a painting) which I could swear from looking at, was a rendition of one of the wooden bridges that fjorded one of the small tributaries to Lake Johnson. It would be the one that I crossed a couple times a day, as I made my way to the library, and then to the little stores in the area.
So, I had to Google the park and was not able to obtain any images of that same bridge. I might, in a bold move, buy the picture, because of the chills that it gives me to look at that bridge.
It was one of my first ventures into living homeless and relying upon fire for warmth and cooked food. Those were the days when I drank one bottle of wine, down to the bottom of the label (about 87.5% of it) every night, with my meal. That amount always capped the evening's consumption. I very rarely drank more, and I very rarely went without at least that.
The little bit that was left in the bottle that I re-corked, would be used the following night as part of a comparison test against whatever kind of wine I managed to come up with.
In that way, I was able to determine just what the very best and cheapest wines were.
I found that, for 7 dollars, a bottle of Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon, was just fine and dandy; nothing wrong with it.
I used that as kind of a standard.
Old Standby
The Woodbridge was a "watershed" in that, there were always sub 7 dollar bottles in the store. Some of them had much more fascinating labels than the Woodbridge, and about half of them were better than the Woodbridge and the other half made you wish you had just gotten the Woodbridge and been done with it.
125 Days Sober
So, for under 7 bucks, you could do better than Woodbridge, meaning, you could find a wine that is closer to your personal preferences in the areas of body and "tannins" and "the nose" and "the finish."
I don't have a sensitive enough palate to discern such things as "hints of leather," or "graphite" in either the "nose" or the "finish" of wines so I just have to take the word of the Wine Spectator critics, but I do know when I luck upon a bottle for under 7 bucks that has something just on the tip of my tongue that I just can't quite identify as "a long lingering finish with hints of currants"
I've been sober for 125 days, give or take a few hours.

Giving the bottle's label a considerable amount of weight in choosing wines might have postponed indefinitely my ever trying the Woodbridge, but I did so on the recommendation of a wine seller somewhere who pointed out to me that the brand is the "house wine," at many eating and drinking establishments. And I could see it being that kind of a workhorse.
And, I wouldn't have gotten to the Mirassou, had it not been drastically reduced somewhere, due to my not liking the sun logo thing and especially that it (the sun logo) is a plastic kind of stick on decal, not even paper.
At least the Woodbridge, with its bland picture of a vineyard, has a paper label..and has "raised" writing on it.
I am thinking, after 125 days of not drinking, that it would be OK to go back to just drinking one bottle of wine down to the bottom of the label each night...
But, this ain't Lake Johnson Park, folk. This N'awlins!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Life After Jazzfest

Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Snoop Dog; even some jazz, featured at Jazzfest 2016

Yes, as I save for a new laptop, I am frantically coming up with ideas while busking and have composed some stuff that should be ready to go, as soon as I get a new laptop.

There will then be another gap in time while I figure out how to get the data off the huge paperweight and onto the new machine. How much do those bozos charge at Best Buy to perform that service; of undoing screwdrivers, popping a ribbon cable off of the hard drive and removing it to place in a functioning machine, and then just copying the data.
They may have to use some licenced software application to do it, but...20 minutes of work, tops?

So there might be a time when I have a new machine and can painstakingly try to rebuild my studio on it and then forge ahead with recordings, while the old stuff sits on the paperweight laptop until such a time that I can afford the certified technician's services.

Other than that, I had an 11 dollar outing Sunday night the last night of Jazzfest (on 2 hours of playing) followed by about an 8 dollar Monday (on 2 hours of playing).

The jar for the "new laptop fund" had reached almost 160 bucks, after a Saturday night, when I had gone to the Lilly Pad at around 8:45 PM, to find that there was no accordion player there, nor a girlfriend holding a sign by his side.

Friday night, I had managed to make decent money, but not after having started at around the same time only to have the accordion guy set up 20 feet from me and basically begin to play over me.

This changed the dynamic of the situation to where I approached him and just matter of factly said: "You know, you're just setting up on top of me now..."
"You said something about sharing the spot, well you had it last night, and now it's my turn..."
I had meant that he could play there from late afternoon until I showed up shortly after dark. That would give him up to 6 hours to skeeze, and he would be skeezing in daylight, where the girlfriends "just some cute travelling kids" thing would play much better; the guy might not even have to play very simple accordion music at all. In the darkness, he would be more prone to do that, making the instrument like a foghorn in a sense, to identify themselves as musicians before all of the tourists have crossed over to the other side of the street at the sight of them.

I went into Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern.
I was hoping to encounter one of the bouncers or someone else who might walk past me every night after they get off work, to whom I was going to mention that another musician had come and set up on top of me, who might have said: "I'll just go and tell them that they're blocking our exit, and run them off,"
Then, I wound up setting up again, but further down from him.
Lilly soon arrived, after I had made a quick 5 dollars or so, and basically made me move back to my original spot.
I walked over there and stood next to Lilly and her older daughter at the gate, while Lilly seemed to ponder what to do.
She stood there with a hand on her chin.
Alongside her was Chantilly, who is about the age of the girlfriend of the accordion player, whom Lilly had told had nice hair the night before. That night, they had left shortly after that.
I think the sight of Chantilly made the girlfriend appreciate the hair comment more; as evidence that Lilly knows nice hair when she sees it; and I think the sight of Lilly, not approaching to say anything to them (as if talking had been fruitless, and now she was pondering worse) got through to them also, as, they were soon gone; and I went on to prosper with a 65 dollar night on 4 and a half hours playing.

But the money for the laptop is cresting and ebbing; and I ponder going out now, on this Tuesday night after Jazzfest has ended; after having had a 7 dollar and 65 cent Monday after Jazzfest.

Now Wednesday

It is now Wednesday, and in less than 5 hours my food card will be charged with 194 bucks...
The past 10 days have flown by. It seems like yesterday when I was thinking about the problem of surviving 10 days without food card money.
The busking proceeds have been just enough to feed myself and my cat and to tend to things like houseplants, house cleaning and replenishing household items such as a paring knife and bold writing pens.
I'm trying to not be in a rush to get the laptop replaced, to avoid leaving myself high and dry in other areas. I saw a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in Wal-Mart for $14....2,000 pieces; enough to keep me occupied and not missing a laptop for at least a couple of weeks.

The next big thing will arrive here, after this post Jazzfest lull.

The first-of-the-month-ers got their checks on the 29th of April (since the 1st fell on a Sunday).
So, as I sit here on the 4th of the month it has technically been 6 days that they have had their monthly checks, and invariable; some of them are out of money already. These are the ones who tore through it, living excessively (if staying up for 96 hours high on crack fits that definition) and who are now not even able to sustain themselves off of the tourists. I think that the business element, arranges it so that they can take some kind of small vacation after a thing such as the Jazzfest, which probably had them working 15 hour days each weekend.
The few tourists that you see tend to be cut from a more frugal cloth; having taken advantage of some "off-peak" rates. Why would they want to negate their savings by throwing the money back at 12 dollar drinks and tipping street performers? Those are the ones that you see holding a McDonalds coffee cup and walking the length of Bourbon Street "just looking" at everything...
This makes for a volatile situation, and extra caution must be taken to look out for those whose crack has just run out after a 6 day binge, and who aren't blessed with the economy of a Jazzfest in order to sustain them....

Sunday, May 1, 2016