Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Based On A True Story

Order of importance, Sleep...
I went to see Jerry my weed guy, who informed me that he had had only 4 hours of sleep over the past few days, and had opted to extend his waking state by dropping acid.

I have no problem around people who are dosed on acid. They seem to appreciate me also, when they are in that state...

From Jerry's, from whence I had sallied forth with a small bud, I rode along Bourbon Street. Three days after the latest shooting incident, I thought, as I looked down the street and saw not too many tourists.

This could be for the same reason that I hadn't brought my guitar with me into the Quarter to see Jerry; the weather forecast was for high gusts of wind and rain, also.

I had seen on the site that there were no rain clouds in our area, and that whatever little wisps of clouds that showed up were moving very fast. Thus, I thought that I could go out and busk on such a windy night.

It was only 7:45 PM, though, when I was surveying it; plenty of time for me to return to the apartment, grab my stuff and then be back and playing before 9 PM.

I have been working on a pencil sketch which I intend to send, to the person and her daughter depicted, as a Christmas gift. I had a blank sheet of drawing paper, nice and 12" x 18" I would say; and had pencils AND decent erasers.

Monday night, I had stayed in and worked on the drawing, as the forecast for that night was for the same high winds and heavy rain which wound up materializing, though not as high and heavy as predicted.

I had done what I thought was a pretty good job on the first half of the drawing, which was the face of Jasmine, the daughter of Jennifer, whose family I lived with when I was in Florida, 20 years ago now; yikes.

But then, I noticed, after I had set the drawing up alongside the picture that I was copying, that I could do more with the shading and so I grabbed an eraser and set myself to the task of shaping the nose on the girl.

I grabbed an old, crumbling, decrepit eraser that I had laying around as my only eraser in the house, and proceeded to mar the surface of the parchment after, instead of lightening up the graphite, the eraser smudged it into an even darker shade, and added its own eraser-colored stain to the mix. Any further attempts to erase brought the parchment close to ripping and rolling into little paper burs that would look like little tumbleweeds under magnification. Little black wads of paper that had been ripped but not torn free by the friction of the only eraser that I have in the house. Jasmine now had a blotch of freckles on her upper nose, instead of the sun hitting it.

I had learned a lesson in that hour; which is kind of a reverberation of a lot of things going on in my life.

Here I was fretting over how much money to spend on a harmonica, thinking on one hand that I should spend every cent on the very best that I can get my hands on, even if it leaves me without food, and a substandard eraser becomes instrumental in ruining (what I thought was) a piece of art.
The art gods were suggesting that I not just get the Jambone harmonica, which is on sale for $1.27 (regularly $6.99) and save a lot of money for other things.

I had sent off for the Suzuki Folkmaster in the key of C, earlier Monday afternoon, and was going to ride out the foul weather by staying in and working on the drawing; waiting for the harmonica to arrive, as I did.

The Suzuki's were priced differently, depending upon the key that they were in. I found this fascinating.

The cheapest key was the key of A, at $14.97. This stands to reason for the fact that I am sure this is one of the most popular keys and can be produced in mass quantities.

It was almost 3 dollars more for the key of A flat, and D flat. These are keys that harp players would add to their arsenals only after having amassed the more "common" keys.

It just made it seem appealing to me to pay a little more for the D flat harp. I could tune my guitar down a half step across the board, so it would be oriented like a regular D harp.

I would feel like I was playing in a fine, expensive, and thus exotic by default, key on the Cadillac of Susuki harps. All this because they charge 3 bucks more for those keys; I'm a sucker for that kind of marketing, I guess.

I paid $16.99 for the key of C; a dollar more than the bottom shelf key of A, but still less than the ones people buy for "that one song we do in C sharp."

There are some harp players that supposedly will pick up a cheaper harp because they only use it for one song in their repertoire, while they play high dollar "professional" harps on all the other songs. To me, this would just make the guy "hate doing that song."

Tuesday morning, I woke up on a mission to get an eraser.

It usually takes me 2 or 3 attempts at a pencil sketch from a drawing before I nail a pretty good one. So, I had my first practice sketch of Jasmine's face before I ruined it with the crappy eraser. Tonight (Wednesday) I think I will go out and busk, but not before having put and hour and a half into the drawing. It will be shown here on the blog; probably through the built in camera in this computer, as soon as it is done.

Soon, I will ride over to the dental place that I had missed an appointment at last week, and try to remedy the situation. I don't know what, exactly, they were planning to do at that visit. They are working in tandem with the Daughters of Charity Hospital. There are some stages of the planned dental procedure that cannot be performed at the one place, but can at the other. They may have been sending me to see stomatologists, to measure me for the dentures that will ultimately replace any teeth pulled.

This is a pain in the ass thing that I have to do on my "day off" because it is important in regards to the fact that some foods have become harder to chew after my latest episode of a tooth breaking and falling out. The last tooth was a porcelain one. It was in excellent condition for having crunched cashews for 30 years, but was basically undermined by the decaying of the bone that it was attached to.

So, it is off to the very important meeting with the dental clinic people, whom I am praying are not going to tell me that, since I missed that appointment, I have set my treatment schedule back 6 months ...and one of your teeth is going to become abscessed in probably about 4...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fact Checking Street Musician Daniel

Harping Upon Details

The comment below was made upon the blog of Alex In California, a "follower" of this blog, concerning the price of harmonicas.

This is particularly apropos of my task, for today, to order a harmonica for myself. I woke up at dawn, to learn that today is "Cyber Monday," when online sales are expected to eclipse "Black Friday" levels at retailers. And why not?

I could order Cheetoz online as a Christmas gift for Howard (Westra) and they will be sent fresh from the factory, without having been gorilla-handled by some store employee, who's attempting to cram them between the Smartfood and the beef jerky.

I can get a Hohner Special 20 in its latest incarnation for $39.95 online, through the Musician's Friend website.

This would not leave any money on my prepaid debit card for anything extra to go with it; like guitar strings, picks, pegs, a capo, perhaps...or food, as a matter of fact.

Part of me is saying: "Use every last dime to get the Special 20, and on your very first night playing it, you will be thrown at least a 20 dollar tip and will probably wind up making $39.95; a communique from the music gods, affirming the decision."

Another part of me is saying: "Get the reasonably priced 'decent' quality harp and a couple of sets of fresh strings and other little amenities like picks, and it will serve the purpose of being new and in tune and, most importantly, playable. Very few tourists will comment 'Is that a Suzuki? I like the tone of a Special 20 better. Sorry, no tip for you,' but more will notice that, whatever it is, it is in tune and the guy seems to really ripping into it (because he's not worried about hitting bad reeds)."

The important thing is that I order something pronto, so it might be here by the weekend.

The Comment
I ended up picking out a "Pro Harp" (which is just a Special-20 that's black instead of chrome) in A and that cost $46. Or about $2.50 face-value in silver dimes, for anyone reading this and spluttering and getting red and yelling at their screen: "But those only cost two-fitty back in 1962!". -Alex In California (blog reader)
I have done a little research and have concluded as follows:

The twenty-five 1962 "Roosevelt" dimes that might have bought a Special 20 when they (the dimes) were shiny and new, would be worth $29.75 if melted down today (assuming they haven't been worn thin at all) at today's spot price of $16.51 per ounce. Hardly enough to get a $46 harmonica.

You would need to melt down 39 dimes, to do that.

Cash For Harmonicas

Due to inflation, $100 in 2016 had the buying power of $788 in 1962 (according to a credible web site) and so, applying that formula, the $46 harp would have been $5.84 in 1962, adjusted for inflation; not "two-fitty."

That would have cost 58 dimes which, if melted down today, would yield $69.02 in silver bouillon.

Alex In California may have erred in his assessment of the worth of silver, but he was "spot" on about the price of harmonicas in 1962.

As the advertisement to the left shows, Johnny Cash, in 1970, was playing a harmonica which is comparable to the Special 20, and which was being sold for three-fitty.

Adjusting again for inflation, that should have made it around $2.62 in 1962, or very close to Alex In California's figure.

What strikes me is that, if 100 dollars in 1962 bought as much as $788 today, then that two-fitty harmonica should be selling for $19.70 in Guitar Center today, not 46 bucks.

Hohner harmonicas, then, have outpaced inflation by a factor of two, over the past 45 years. In other words, your money only buys 1/15th the harmonica it did when Eisenhower was president; that's not even one hole.
Perhaps this owes to their present popularity, compared to what it was when only Johnny Cash played the thing.
I'm leaning towards getting a Folkmaster harmonica for a bit under 20 bucks, along with a couple sets of strings, and leaving some petty cash on my prepaid card. I just haven't decided on the key yet, and will probably have to ride my bike and think about it; perhaps stopping at Starbucks for a cup of coffee.
I am leaning towards the key of G.
When I had only a harp in that key, I kind of got sick of the dozen or so songs that I was doing night after night with it. But then came along a couple of key of C harps, and recently the key of A Folkmaster which I am finally replacing. Perhaps it would be nice to go back to the key of G and revisit stuff I haven't done in a year. I would have the advantage of having them all "under my belt."

Barnaby Moves

Barnaby Chancellor, one of the champions in getting me to be able to play at the Lilly Pad, has moved to a place one street over on Dauphine.

This was kind of sad, as he used to sit on his stoop a lot at night when I was playing.

It was he and his girlfriend who ran Johnny B. and his amplifier off, after they thought that Johnny had come (lately) along and was trying to play over me, in a move to eventually muscle me off the spot (which he basically was; there would have been nothing from preventing him from showing up when I wasn't there and playing; which would have evolved into him saying things like "Just give me another half hour" when I showed up, etc).

And it was Barnaby, who was the staunchest critic of my harmonica playing, which forced me to focus harder upon learning the thing. His offer was still standing of giving me 50 bucks if I could play "Little Wing," by Jimi Hendrix on the harmonica.
I guess he means playing Jimi's guitar solo note for note, or at least recognizably, on the thing; because I already do play the song. Well, when I have a harmonica in the key of G, I do...

Couch To Let, Again?

The Craig's List ad to crash on my couch for 20 bucks a night has expired. The phone calls and text messages have stopped.

I am enjoying my solitude more. Thinking things like: "I wouldn't be doing this if I had a guest here," when soaking in the tub with the music of my choice playing and the door wide open so I can hear it, for example.

What I learned from the experience is that a much more carefully worded ad would have saved me headaches. It must be clear in the ad that this is a roommate situation and not a private room that the person can come and go from at will, having her own key.

What pissed me off about the Kay debacle was that she had e-mailed me, during the 6 week time span that she had the couch "reserved," with: "So how does this work, do I get my own key, and how to I pay you?"

I had responded and addressed all of that.

For her sake, I will assume that my response never got to her. Otherwise, it would make her seem like a real ditz for walking up upon meeting me and asking: "So, do I get a key?" D'uh!

If I do it again, I will target someone like Travis, and word the ad appropriately.

Then, I will not make the mistake of hanging out with whomever it is too much. That has the effect of blurring the boundaries between landlord and tenant, and before one knows it there is a "I hope you don't mind, but I drank some of your orange juice last night." moment. From hanging out and talking to you so much I was able to glean that you are the type that probably wouldn't mind if I drank some of your orange juice, type of thing...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It Isn't Cheetoz

It is Sunday, I came in this morning at about 3 AM, after having had a good night, musically, but only made 6 bucks in a couple hours.
I had gotten a couple groups of people to stop and listen when it seemed that they were in the process of walking on.
This is progress, even though it might not show up on the balance sheet.
After all, Tanya and Dorise make their money by getting groups of 50 people to stop and listen; you have to crawl before you walk.
I did this by jumping directly into certain verses of songs, instead of doing them in order, so as to snare their attention in the 3 seconds that I had to do so.
I was doing my "Computer Geek Blues," about my girl running off with a computer guy from California, and jumped right to the line: "Now she's putting her software on his hard drive..." and was able to get a couple (a heavyset black guy of about 20, and a skinny half-Latina with a pretty face) to listen to the rest of the song, complete with harmonica solo. They were very complementary and gave me one of the six bucks that I would make. It really seemed that they wished they had more...
Some good news is that, I checked the balance on my prepaid card to find that it had 20 dollars more on it than I had thought.
And, now I prepare to call Howard about watching football this afternoon. I do this so he will expect me; and so he might grab me a Monster Energy drink from the store when he is getting his Cheetoz and Pepsi; like he did last time. I love my Monster Energy drinks. I might bring Howard a mango, like I did last time. I half expect that one, which I gave him 2 weeks ago to be sitting uneaten somewhere, because it isn't Cheetoz. LOL

Saturday, November 26, 2016

John, And Lennon

Thanksgiving night, I wound up going out to play. I was pretty confident about having a good tip thrown to me by at least one person, in the Thanksgiving spirit.

I only had a 5 dollar bill thrown, along with a few ones, in the couple hours that I played.

The strings on the guitar were showing signs of age, and the harmonicas that I am using were disappointing me.

I should have ordered the 40 dollar Hohner "Special 20" harp, back when I had more money on my prepaid card, and been done with it.

It would have been here by now.

I tend to think that the Chinese, with their computerized laser tuning, and all the other science that goes into the Suzuki Folkmaster harmonicas (at around $20 each) might be giving the Special 20 a run for its money, at twice that, but I'm sure it's a lot like wine; you have to spend twice as much on a bottle to get a 2% improvement that you feel is worth every cent. 

Black Friday

Last night, Black Friday, the streets were swarming with black people, as the Bayou Classic football game, between Grambling University (every year) and some other opponent (Southern University this year) is slated to kick off, in a couple hours as I write this. 

It is Saturday and some other interesting college football games are coming on the radio.

Tomorrow, I am planning a visit to Howard Westra on the other side of the river, to watch the Patriots/Jets game at 3:30 CST.

I have about 20 bucks in cash, after having an 18 dollar Friday night.

The harmonicas are pathetic, but I am increasing my skills in areas such as turning a melody around before it ascends to the point where it reaches an out of tune reed.

And, it seems that, with each successive harp, I'm learning how to be more gentle on them.
One more half decent night of at least 20 bucks, and I'll be able to order the Special 20, along with a new set of strings, and have it all by next weekend.

There were no Airbnb renters cranking music from the balcony by Lafitt's last night.

I just burned the 1974 Elton John/John Lennon Madison Square Garden concert "album" onto a disc, and will soon go back and listen to that, and then maybe one of the interesting college football games for a while, and then will most likely go out and try to make anything at all, so as to have the luxury of picking up a Monster Energy drink on the way to Howard's tomorrow.

Friday, November 25, 2016


Turkey day, I woke up kind of depressed, like you're supposed to do if you live by yourself and a holiday comes along which conjures up memories of warm "community" feelings.
I have since modified my diet to the exclusion of almost everything on the typical Thanksgiving Day table, and so had kind of ruled out taking someone up on the couple offers that I had gotten in the days preceding the holiday.
I started to consider going out to busk, perhaps because it didn't make sense.
Year in and out, the Quarter has been pretty empty on Thanksgiving day, with people inside homes, spending time with family, and the Unique Grocery being the only open business...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The N. A. People

...would have a field day, categorizing yesterday's activities.

It was a "normal" Tuesday, and I planned upon adhering pretty much to what would be my "routine."
I am not as inured to a routine, as my friend, Howard Westra, who follows the clock strictly through its full rotations, but I have at least one normalizing factor in my life, in the form of Harold the Cat.
No matter how oblivious I am to the clock -waking up sometimes and wondering if it is 6 AM, or PM, for example-* Harold the cat is on a regimen closer to that of my 70 year old friend, and has trained me to follow the Arcadian cycles, along with himself, by meowing for food at certain times and standing on his hind legs reaching for the doorknob, wanting to go outside, at others.

A can and a half of cat food needs to materialize each and every day, which means that I usually have to go out each day and get it.

I know I could stock up on it, but I don't.

For one thing, there is usually not much of a quantity discount applied to bulk purchases of the wet food; buying 10 cans might reduce the price of each can by 5 cents.

And, I don't want to buy 10 cans of the same flavor and bore Harold's palate with the same thing every night.

So, Tuesday morning, I laid down as the sun was coming up; after having put Harold out so he could take care of his morning business.

I had a dental appointment, and so I set my phone's alarm to an hour and a half before the appointment.

I was woken by a call from Valerie, one of the office workers, and reminded by her that the Sacred Heart Chorus practice was to be that evening at 5 PM. This drew my attention to the fact that it was 2 PM, and I had slept through the alarm and missed the appointment at the dental place.

This is somehow in conjunction with the dental work that is scheduled to be done in January.
Now, I must go by the place after I leave this Main Branch of the library, where I sit and type, and hopefully reschedule whatever it is.

Then Travis, the guy who had crashed at my place for 10 days and given me a couple hundred bucks "for food" called.

He wanted me to get him some weed through my guy. I will change my guy's name to Willy, to protect his identity. Now, you know his name is not Willy, though, I guess.

I told Travis that I would call Willy, and that if he answered and told me that he was going to be home a certain time, I would gladly meet him somewhere near Willy's and do the deal for him. Quickly, efficiently, painlessly.

Travis told me that he was going to be headed towards my place.

I wasn't thinking. I should have told him to hold off until such a time that I confirmed things with Willy on the phone.

He was soon on his way, with 40 bucks for weed, that he thought he would give me at my place, and then I would ride all the way in to the Quarter to see Willy, and then, what, ride all the way back to give him the weed, and then turn around and go back to busk?

I couldn't get Willy on the phone.

Soon, Travis was outside the apartment, and texting me to apprise me of the fact.

I wasn't thinking, again. I had assumed that it would be good to see the guy who had stayed at my place for 10 days, whom I had become friends with. I had forgotten that much of those 10 days were spent with us sitting together while he spoke just about non-stop; not really listening to any input that I may have offered, because he was trying to hold onto his train of thought so he could continue wherever he left off as soon as I was done talking.

I greeted him in a friendly way.

I had been in the computer room, writing a letter to the Lidgleys of London, thanking them for sending me a couple of guitar magazines which had arrived a couple days prior.

I told Travis that I needed to jump back on a computer and finish that letter.

"No problem," he said, and then sat down and began to talk, while I typed away at the letter. I was pretty focused, and able to concentrate on what I was writing and block everything else out, including him. He was telling a story of some kind. How can someone proceed to tell someone else a story, who is typing away at 35 words per minute?

In as "cool" a way as I could muster, I said: "It's hard for me to concentrate on this..."
"Oh, sure," he kind of apologized, but kind sounded offended.

Then, as I resumed writing the letter, I found it hard to concentrate because Travis was then sitting almost absolutely still in the chair next to me. It felt as if he was waiting for me to finish. I wished that he had gotten up and maybe looked out the window, or glanced at the bulletin board, or walked out into the lobby for a little while, to "leave me alone," so I could finish the letter.

I wondered if this was what "passive aggressiveness" was about. I had basically asked him to stop talking, and now he was putting up a deafening wall of silence; waiting for me to finish up, so he could resume the "conversation," perhaps.

We were soon at my apartment.

When Travis was crashing on the couch, that was his "area" of the apartment, and I would sit in one of the chairs when I hung out with him. I had reclaimed the couch, though. There were the 2 guitar magazines there, as if I had been sitting on the couch and reading them. And on the table in front was other evidence of my having made that my spot.

Travis went and sat on the couch, relegating me to the same chair where I had sat before, when I had to listen to him talk non-stop. He then began to talk non-stop. He was telling me the plot line to "Great Expectations," by Charles Dickens. A book that I have read twice. One of only a handful of books that I have read twice. "I know, I've read it twice," I said about 10 minutes into our "discussion."

This had the potential to be a nightmare -a Tuesday night spent listening to Travis talk.
I had to do something. I called Willy's number again.

"He's not answering, I don't know what to say. It's almost time for me to go out and play.
He fixed me with a look for a half second that almost seemed to say: "Isn't this more important?"
Then, I thought of a plan whereby I could become free of the situation.

I called David the Water Jug Player, who answered his phone from the corner of Bourbon and Canal Streets and said that he definitely could get Travis 40 dollars worth of the "loud" weed from the Rastafarian guys who hand out in that same area.

Once we were out of the apartment, I directed Travis to the trolley, telling him to get off at Bourbon Street, and then I rode my bike to the same spot, arriving there a little before the trolley, with enough time to deal with David one on one, before Travis could walk up looking like a narc because he doesn't look like a narc, and thus would look like a narc to anyone doing a 40 dollar deal on that nickel and dime corner...

I got to the Lilly Pad pretty late, made 14 bucks and went back home, having learned the lesson that I just can't hang around with Travis. He talks too much, and is too insistent upon making his point, when he has one to make, which is less than half of the time...
*the amount of light coming in the window would be about the same at or around those times.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Wall Of Resistance

I got a call from David the Water Jug Player last night.
Coming up upon 2nd anniversary of move-in

He has acquired a bicycle, which needs to have its brakes worked on, and he was calling me about the tool that I have, which he had given to me at one point, which is a bicycle tool.

I had actually told him that I would ride down to the Quarter and bring him the tool. I was in the middle of drinking a Monster zero calorie energy drink at the time and warmed up from the brisk ride to the store for the Monster. It seemed like it would be good exercise to ride down to the Quarter ("I won't have my gear on; I'll be able to fly," I had told him) at that time.

After I had gotten back to the apartment and eaten, then smoked some "ambition be gone," and had put my radio on to discover that a pretty good football game was being broadcast, I began to rethink the situation with David the Water Jug Player.

I wasn't going to lie and say that I was having trouble finding the tool: I'm sure that I will, as soon as I have time (give me at least a day) to look everywhere for it. I put it in some random place; it might be in with the cutlery for all I know. I'll find it. Tomorrow, type of thing...

And then I thought more critically about the problem that David the Water Jug player has.

Even if he had no brakes at all, he would be able to manage, by keeping his speed down and just using his feet for brakes; Fred Flintstone style.

He wasn't going to crash and die any time soon, at least not for want of brakes, and so I reasoned that it would be ridiculous for me to go out into the unseasonably cold air to bring David the Water Jug Player the bike wrench thing, because it wasn't a real emergency.

Tonight, (Monday) I still have the wrench. I imagine David is making do with the brakes in whatever condition they happen to be in; and there is a football game on the radio.

I feel like I want to be at the Lilly Pad every night, and there is a ball of guilt in the front of my head and a bilious sense of fear in my stomach; at the thought of taking the night off.

For one thing, the 50 dollar tipping guy comes like a thief in the night.

For another thing: It would be a good deed to bring David the Water Jug Player the bike tool, so he can fix his brakes. It could give me the good karma needed to go on and have a lucrative night busking.

The money situation is a convoluted mess, which basically centers around the debate over whether to get one "big thing" with the money; or arbitrarily, 10 small things.

I'm really stressing out over the people cranking the stereo from the balcony near the Lilly Pad. They had done so last Friday night, throughout the whole time period when I would "normally" be making somewhere at least close to my 18 dollar per hour average.

I need to write Lilly a detailed letter, about the situation, and let it mull in her brain. She might just be more than up for the task of imposing order upon some AIRBNB renters; destroyers of decent neighborhoods that they so often are...

A new harmonica, maybe even a Hohner "Special 20," a couple sets of strings, a capo, some picks, etc. would be a sound investment into my "business," unless the cranking of music from the balcony becomes a nightly thing.

If such a point came where the Lilly Pad was no longer a lucrative place to play, because of the AIRBNB  types; then the above items would still have been invested wisely into my business; I would just have to change locations, until such a point that I had an amplifier, whereupon I would return.

Prior objections that were voice to myself, or most infamously Johnny B., having an amplifier can now be rebutted by my advancing the logic that, if a certain amp was too loud, then surely music that requires that amp in order to be heard over, is also too loud.

I think I will stay in and write that letter.

The First Cold Front

The temperatures finally dropped into the 50's for the first time since early spring.

The house up the street from the Lilly Pad is being rented by AIR-BNB people, who keep putting their loudspeakers on the balcony and cranking music, drowning mine out.

I was there Friday night, and it was not productive at all. I made less than 10 bucks, then, after I had had enough of it and was packing up at 1:30 AM, they shut the music off. I had still had enough.

I don't know what the future of busking there will hold.

The only thing I can think of is perhaps calling the cops at a certain time, and telling them that I am at, say, 929 Bourbon Street and that I am being disturbed by music coming from up the street.

The ad for my couch has expired, and so I shouldn't expect to get any more calls from people. If I run another ad, it will be carefully worded, to filter out people like Kay, and attract people like Travis.

Other than that, it is Monday and I stayed up so as to hit this computer room early like it is, in the morning, but I don't have the energy to do all the writing that I had planned. I need to check online for a new harmonica, perhaps a capo.

I got a package from the Lidgleys of London, with two guitar magazines in it. I flipped through them and picked up a few licks off of the sheet music before going out Friday night to be drowned out by the speakers on the balcony, and only make about 10 bucks. I then came back and flipped through the magazines again to discover that 20 bucks and a Starbucks gift card had been taped to the inside cover of one. That was sweet, and now I consider getting some more blank CD's and burning a lot of music that was mentioned by the guitarists interviewed in the magazines as being "influences" upon them.
Jeff Beck, in particular, mentioned some guy that played with Gene Vincent in the 50's, as being his first guitar hero. Then there is the guitarist who plays with Joe Satriani who said that he listened to "We're Only In It For The Money," by The Mothers of Invention (Frank Zappa) over and over when he was a teen.
I think if I can find a used laptop that will run my studio software, I'll jump on it.
Of course, then I won't have money for a digital converter box and an antenna so that I can have television in my home, but, who has time to watch TV, when he has a recording studio?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Yeah, Thanks

I am blaming more and more things on the younger generation.

"Every generation blames the one before..." -Mike And The Mechanics

No, Mike, I "blame" the one after, and even more so the one after that, the "millennial" spoiled brats.
Much of the behavior of Travis, my recent guest for 10 days, can be ascribed to the fact that he was born in 1980.

I Knew Them When They Were 16

 In 1996, I was in Florida, working alongside his contemporaries, who would have been 16 and working their first "real" jobs, at that time.

After my friend, John Abel, took over the particular Domino's Pizza place, where I was a delivery driver, he found himself saddled with a staff of mostly black employees, representative of the demographics of his delivery area.

One of these, stared icily at him from where he leaned against something, after John asked that he grab a broom and sweep. He was the first employee fired. He didn't seem reluctant to go, as he found that he didn't like the new manager anyway.

The previous manager of the store, who probably let his employees stand around or lean on things, was being replaced by John due to its pitiful performance under him, compared to Domino's in similar locations.

"I took over the store, and within a week, had fired 5 out of 7 of the black people," said John. Some of them would show up for work perhaps 3 out of 5 days scheduled, taking the rest off without even offering valid excuses, but delivering themselves of frivolities like "My friends are all going to the beach..."

"The only one's that I kept were Janice and Curtis," added John, his chest swelling with pride over having laid the foundation for future success with the firing of those who wouldn't work, and his pride in Janice and Curtis was also evident.

The two had been within earshot while John was telling me about the shakeup, as part of my hiring process.

Their reaction to him telling me about all the other blacks except them getting the ax, was non verbal, kind of a pursing of their lips, which basically signaled their assent to the move. I thought I could read: "They's some lazy ass niggas; they got what they deserve" in their expressions.

Janice was about 19 years old, kind of tall, thin and energetic, having a Michelle Obama (at 20) type physique. She had "very good English," and was looking forward to attending a fine college like Vanderbilt University. She drove to work some days, in an expensive luxury car, owned ostensibly by her parents. She seemed proud of the fact that she actually worked and had thus retained her job.
She made no secret of having a crush on Tiger Woods, the professional golfer who then was on the rise, and on the cover of many magazines, citing his lack of facial hair as a key component of his appeal.

Janice was one of the few girls who worked the phones who would ask me to give her a ride home after she was off work. The phone girls were all pretty much between the ages of 15 and 19 and, as such, by Florida law, could not work past a certain hour on school nights.

So, after the girl's shifts ended, they would usually grab a ride with one of the delivery drivers whose next delivery was taking them in the direction of their homes. Or they would wait for the next delivery to be ordered to nearby their home which is earmarked for a less creepy delivery guy.
This usually meant that Terry, the 60 something year old that drove a beat up pickup with a sticker for the local gospel station tacked on the back and the station that it represented tuned in and preaching through his speakers, was pretty much the designated phone girl drop off guy.

"I ain't gettin' in that car," said Amy, a 15 year old white girl of German descent with hair dyed blond once, after she had gotten off work and I was about to deliver a pizza to just about her next door neighbor.

I was living in my car at the time, and I could understand someone having the feeling that they were coming into my bedroom when they got in; and the fear that there would be some kind of reviling vestige of my spending so much time in the car, like a 2 liter Coke bottle half full of piss, from that night so cold that I didn't want to get out of my sleeping bag, rolling out from under her seat and bumping her ankle after I hit the brakes somewhere. Or, like, where do I stick my gum?

I could especially understand a 15 year old girl such as Amy having that fear.

The white girls at the store, in general, seemed to view the opposite sex materialistically. If I were to approach one of them to ask a simple question like what the time was, I would read in their deportment a communication of: "Are you hitting on me?" and some of them might just hold up a hand as if to say "stop!" and walk off without even giving me the time.

I thought that this was a "Florida" thing, at first.

I had moved there from Massachusetts 3 years prior, and immediately noticed that particular mindset. I soon even wondered if, had I had been struck by a car and was laying dying in the road and a carload of teen aged girls arrived on the scene, would one of them say something like: "He's ugly, let's just go..." So focused they seemed, on the opposite sex as a means to a material end. Another 15 year old phone girl, named Julia, said that she fell asleep every night with the movie "Pretty Woman," on a TV in front of her. As soon as I see that movie (and they have it at the Goodwill) I might be able to add to my psychoanalysis of Julia.

Amy would eventually become more comfortable with me; and then about 5 years later, after I was out of the automobile owning game and living in the woods, I would run into a guy who was still working at that store, who would tell me that Amy was messing around with crack, losing weight, not looking so well, and that even myself speaking to her, as someone who at least cared about her, unlike her new crack smoking friends, might help.
But, Janice would ask me for a ride home after she got off work, walking out with me with her head up, as if to show the rest of the girls, who gave her studied looks, as if thinking that it might be their last time seeing her alive, that she wasn't afraid.

It was almost as if she was trying to set an example for them about being non judgemental.

Curtis, was a stocky guy in his mid to late 20's, who was ex-Navy.
He too, evinced no shame over having been singled out as an employee worth keeping.

I suppose I am postulating that education and/or military experience are character enhancing, and perhaps the only hope for the children of the future.

I was leaving another Domino's which was in an upper middle-class area which was white enough so that a black man in the area might be stopped by police and asked if he needed directions, because he seemed to be "just driving around."

I was coming to the aid of John, whom I had worked under at that same store, which had fallen into disarray after he had left, as a means of getting myself out of that situation, and to help him try to turn around that store in the "Arlington" section of Jacksonville (Jacksonville is divided, if in name only, into about 15 different "parts" such as the "Goodby's Creek" area that I was leaving). He wanted to bring in known commodities, such as myself; an honest employee who wanted to work a lot of hours, didn't care when they were, had only missed one scheduled day of work in over 12 years, had the ability to memorize a map in a relatively short period of time, and who's friends never went to the beach.

Someone born in the early 60's.

So, seeing Travis, my recent guest for 10 days through this lens, and factoring in that he was born in 1982, yet saved somewhat through having been educated, helps me to understand him, to a degree, excuse the pun.

A Key For Kay

Kay Meurer, on the other hand was probably born closer to 1972, and the way she booked my couch 6 weeks in advance and then balked at the mention of her not having her own key, makes her seem like a pretty selfish person. She had had 6 weeks to ask all the important questions and get a pretty good picture of what the arrangement would be.

After we had met in Starbucks (for less than 3 minutes because she seemed to be in a super hurry to make it to her "runners meeting" at the restaurant) and I had helped her flag a bus down, which she got on, I noticed that it was not the bus that ran exactly to the Who Dat? restaurant. She had been in such a super hurry, not wanting to be a minute late for a runners club meeting, that she just caught the next bus to come along.

I texted her: "That bus runs parallel to Magazine; ask someone where to get off to walk to Who Dat; will be about 3 block walk."

She texted back: "Yeah, thanks"

At first, I thought that she was genuinely thanking me for helping her to get to her meeting, but, as the night went on and I had gotten no further messages from her, I started to read between the lines.

I had been the one to say: "Here comes the bus!" when one came into sight. I assumed that it ran by the Who Dat restaurant, or to within 3 blocks of it, and that in either case, it was her best hope of getting there in time for the meeting.

I'm sure now that, after having found out that she was going to have to get off that bus and then walk a few blocks, and probably having been told "You should have taken the (other bus)" by a well meaning fellow passenger who was unaware that, had she waited for that bus that was going to take her right to the restaurant, she would have most definitely been late.

"Yeah, Thanks." Thanks for putting me on the wrong bus; it was your fault that I was late; and I'm not going to rent your couch now.

The impression that I got from her was that she is a cold, calculating person who is impulsive only as far as those impulses serve her. There was something telling in how she had almost smacked me in the head as she spasmodically waved to the bus driver.

When we had been (briskly) walking in the direction of the restaurant with her in the lead (which was stupid because she wasn't planning upon walking the 3 miles to the place, and was going to catch the next bus, so, why walk any of the way at all, when you only add the risk of seeing the bus pass by when you are halfway between stops?).

 I mentioned Travis, my recent guest, in trying to explain how we had worked things out.

"I thought it was a Russian girl," she snapped back with the alacrity of a professional interrogator. She hadn't gotten all the memos and updates of my situation, due perhaps to spotty email delivery.

"She showed up with a big Labrador dog..."

"I didn't think you could bring dogs from Russia on a plane.." she said, without missing a beat.

All I knew was that she had showed up with a dog, but am not well versed on airline regulations, so I just shrugged.

Later that night, I talked to Jerry the Cook, who informed me that you absolutely can bring a dog on a flight from Russia ("in cargo") as long as there is documentation stating that it has had its shots. Jerry even had a job once where it was his responsibility to make sure "poodles" got where they were going at Louis Armstrong International Airport.

She asked me if I was going to play that night.

I told her that I planned to play, even though it was a Thursday night.

I started to tell her that I try to go out every night and at least play for a couple hours, and started to add "That way, I can at least say that I worked that day..." and heard an almost accusatory grunt from her after the word "say." Her mind was running a mile a minute, so that she was finishing my sentences in her head, I guess.

It was as if she felt she had caught me in some kind of deception, as if the sentence that I hadn't even finished yet was to be "At least that way I can say that I'm a musician, and (perpetrate some kind of fraud; perhaps use it to lure victims to my apartment).

I explained that, even if I play for a couple hours and don't make anything, I can still "say" that I did my part -I worked; I contributed; I honed my skills.

This was to no avail.

I think she probably works for the F.B.I. or maybe even at the huge federal prison that is in Minneapolis, I believe.

That would explain her sketchiness about talking about her home town, and the way that my e-mails to her seemed to have been subject to some quirky filtering, and the way that she was "all business" and how talking to her was like being interrogated, etc.

Her apparent sarcasm in thanking me for having put her on the wrong bus, and the fact that she probably had no "runners meeting" to attend but probably one with another prospective renter, after having offhandedly dismissed the couch that I had kept available for her these past 6 weeks.

She seems like the type who would call 5 cab companies and hop in the first car to arrive and then let all the others show up for nothing, knock on her door, wait, and then leave, shaking their heads over the time and gas they had wasted. And Kay wouldn't bother to cancel the other calls. "Not my problem; that's part of their job. I'm just going to make damned sure I'm not late."

The Silver Lining

It occurred to me that I may just have been spared a nightmare of a guest, even if only for a 4 day period. This was probably a blessing in disguise.

Yeah, Thanks.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Big Difference Between An Elf And Elk

Wow, I'd thought for sure the spell checker was going to highlight "scofflaw," as I sit here on the computer at 8:35 PM, when the computer room is supposed to be closed, under regulations, enforced by the security people who man the front desk.
OK, so I have met Kay, the woman who is here ostensibly to crash on my couch for 4 nights, in town to run a half marathon.
We had been sporadically messaging each other, with a high percentage of my mails having been non-deliverable. I have never had such a problem with one e-mail recipient; it has always been a case of the address being non existent. Never has mail come back from a valid address as being "unable to deliver." I mention this because, after having met Kay, my initial impression of her is that she probably has some kind of wacky software on her phone.  She might work for the government, or something. She is from Minneapolis, she said, but quickly added that she had only been there for 5 years and that she is basically not identifying herself with the place.
I had pictured a 30 something in Speedo pants, sneakers with florescent laces, carrying a water bottle with curly dirty blond hair, short enough so that it won't mat up when soaked with sweat and fall over the eyes, making it difficult to see the race course in front of you.
She was none of the above, when she walked briskly into Starbucks, where she had texted me that she was on her way. ...Not even the water bottle...
She was pretty close, though. Late thirties, thin and almost twitchy like a small bird. She had a backpack.
She had texted from "Elf Place," telling me that she would walk from there. I knew that to be a 4 minute walk, because of the times that I was trying to make it to Starbucks before they closed -a time after I had just quit drinking and needed the coffee so as I could still feel like I was getting "fucked up" before going out to busk. In a Kay kind of way, of course.
It took her about 14 minutes to reach Starbucks, after she had texted from Elf Place ("Elf Place," I love it!" I had texted back. I wondered if she would read that and think: "Why, is it not Elf Place?" and then double check a sign to discover that she was on the corner of Canal and Elk Place).
Given the speed that I soon learned that she walked, I could only surmise that she had been distracted, probably by having asked directions from someone who then talked her ear off or, equally likely, skeezed her.
I basically sipped my coffee and waited for someone who looked like a half marathon runner to come into the place.
She came over to me after walking in, and after I had looked at her questioningly, as if I was waiting for a half marathon running looking woman; and asked, right off the bat if there was any key that I could give her.
I started to explain about the building, and how I have to be there to admit her, and get her past the security guy. She said that she was running late, and had to be at the Who Dat? restaurant in another 20 minutes, for a meeting of runners.
We walked/ran together along Canal and Magazine Streets in the direction of that restaurant, while keeping our eyes pealed for buses, and seeing the bus stops kind of like the way a baseball player sees bases. You take a lead off of one stop, in the direction of the next stop, measuring in your mind at which point, upon seeing the bus appear from around a corner, would you dash for the next stop or return to the one that you had already passed.
Advise On Catching Buses
In either case, you would be waving your arms trying to get the attention of the driver. Maybe if you were running towards him, this would make a more vivid impression.
It comes down to which stop you think there might be the most people getting on or off.
So, if the stop up ahead of you has a person there, waiting for the bus, you would dash back towards it.
The reason you are walking is because you are pressed for time and realize that you just might be able to beat the bus to where you are going on foot. Plus, it is more proactive. Nothing worse than still having your ass planted at the bus stop when the time rolls around for when you are supposed to be at that important place. You can only save time by walking/jogging towards your destination.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Ides Of November Come Early

Crispy, Crunchy...

I ate a lot of bacon last night, and not even the 7 dollar kind; it was the 4 dollar kind.
I fried it in a saucepan, and the slices were soon swimming in about an inch of fat as they shriveled and did a macabre dance in the oil as if the soul of the hog was expressing itself one last time.
I'm not really happy with the tone of my skin this morning. I had done some exercises with my improvised weight set after eating the bacon along with some broccoli that I had thrown in.

On My Own For 2 Days

Travis, my guest is staying his last night at the pad. He has made appointments already to talk to certain landlords and feels certain enough that he can close a deal on a place tomorrow and not even have to stay at a hotel as an interim spot.

He is OK, except for the fact that he likes to commandeer a conversation and basically become the only speaker. I can opt out of the conversation pretty easily by going in to my own room.

I will credit him for not being bothered by any outbursts of guitar playing, at just about any hour. I came in from busking and felt like I just had to pick out the chords to a certain song that I had thought would be a good one to add to my repertoire. And, after playing for a while, it occurred to me that it might be bothering him, but he just said: "Do your thing," and sounded genuinely not bothered.

Plus, he is paid up through tonight on his 20 dollar per day "contribution to groceries."


As The Travis Era winds down, with my guest of the past 10 days moving on to a place perhaps in Gentilly (Google "Highest per capita murder neighborhood: New Orleans" for more) which is $550 per month, but includes water, or a place closer to where I live, which has wi-fi but is a couple hundred more per month.

I potentially have another lady coming to visit for about 4 days this coming weekend, who will be in town to run a half marathon.

Travis and I have hung out and smoked herb and talked. The one and just about only complaint that I might have about Travis as a guest/roommate/lodger is that he tends to monopolize a particular conversation, and will commonly expound at great length upon themes that I might bring up in my own anecdote that I might be relating.

The mention of a certain locality, for example may spur him to speak for several minutes about his connection to that particular place, and the history of it, etc.

But, what is to be expected of a guy with whom you are passing a bong back and forth with.
I've got about 120 bucks on my green prepaid card, and am penciled in to use the studio over at the Musicians's Co-Op tomorrow, November 15th, 2016.

After the half marathon running lady leaves; and after 4 days of my not smoking around her; the ad that I placed in order to rent couch space will have expired on Craig's List.

This will be good, and it may be a while before I place another one. I want to get back to solitude for a while.

I will try to refine my next ad, if I ever place one. Travis was a very good fit for the situation, outside of being a bit windy upon most subjects of conversation. He had a very good sense of rules of the place and had no problem staying off the radar of most people. It was possible for me to keep my busking schedule up, so that I was accumulating money, rather than allowing the rental situation to become an excuse for idling.

I am thinking that getting some kind of sound baffling materials and constructing a small "recording" area in my living room might be my way to go, given the scarcity of studio time at Tipitina's. The microphone and software there can't be that much better than what I would have if I get another laptop. Unless the "human" element i.e. having others jam on my tunes, at Tipitina's is enough to offset the inconvenience of having to book time in blocks of hours at certain times, in order to work on your spontaneous creations.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mid Stay Point

Travis, my guest, will reach the halfway point of the 10 days allotted for guests, at some point this evening.
7 Years ago, Jacksonville, Florida
He had given me 100 bucks last Friday, and then I had gone out and busked that night, only adding 12 more dollars to my wealth.
It is still very liberating to be busking for the fun of it and not sweating money.

Saturday night was slow also, though I hadn't gotten there until almost midnight.

I have noticed in the past, some buskers who will take a break for a few minutes to eat or smoke, apparently oblivious to potential tippers walking past. It really is a matter of pacing oneself, where a few minutes shouldn't matter over the course of a few hours. It's not wise to let the sight of a huge school of fish precipitate your casting bait out, when it isn't tied on right and you haven't got your rig adjusted, your net ready, and haven't eaten etc.; to use a fishing analogy.

Travis wants to give me another 100 bucks tonight, in order to stay until next Monday (Nov. 14th).
I see no reason not to, as his presence has not been an inconvenience in any way.

I had to tell him that he could avail himself to my spring water, for example, when he was ready to use tap water. He then bought another gallon of spring water for the next day.

He is 34 and moved here from New York.

He works for Amazon, but, works online so he can do it anywhere. He decided not to continue living in New York where the cheapest, roach infested broom closet of an apartment is $1,000 a month, when he could live and work in New Orleans, where he had been a few times before and likes, and make the same amount of money. He has already found a place to crash for 20 bucks a night.

I told him that, if I were him, I would be up in the Yukon, working for Amazon on my laptop in between panning the creeks for gold, provided that he could get an Internet connection...

When he lands a more permanent place, he will send for a storage "pod" full of his possessions to be shipped down here.

He has a few bags of things, and an electric guitar and tiny amp.

I plan to go out and busk tonight, after throwing most of the 100 dollars on my American Express Serve© card.

A new harmonica might soon be on the way and/or a capo, so I can move the keys of songs around a little to fit my collection of harps, which will have grown to 3. None of them are unplayable yet. I've learned how to play them softer, along with not bashing my strings as hard; people just have to come within a few feet closer to hear the same volume, but the music is better.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Travis Era

While I was trying to figure out how to deal with Olya, the 20 something Ukranian woman, I had sent her a text, suggesting how we could work around the logistics created by the fact that I had to be present to admit her into the the building.
I basically had said that I was willing to to go the extra mile, as far as hopping on my bike and racing from the Lilly Pad to the apartment to buzz her in, before returning to busk some more.
This would afford her some privacy at the apartment, which was a concern for me.
I had actually mentioned that I could "really use the money," and didn't mind doing a little extra so that the arrangement could be a win-win situation.
Then I ran into David the Water Jug Player, outside of Starbucks, from which I had emerged sipping a strong coffee. He smoked me up with some good weed, and we talked a bit about my enterprise involving Olya.
I had to admit that I had a slight interest in having the attractive 20 something Ukranian, who may be in town looking for work as a stripper, in my apartment. It was hard not to think about it, to the point where it was almost consuming my thoughts.
I knew that the whole building would soon know that an attractive young lady was staying with me, and inquiring minds would focus more attention upon the situation than I really wanted.
And, there was the fact that Olya had been sporadic in her responses to me, and had been late for the few meetings that we had arranged.
Her telling me that she was going to come to the apartment before 8 PM; the time that I said that I left to go busking (actually an hour and half before that time; to account for the fact that she had been late for our previous meetings) was on my mind when I ran into David at about 5 PM, on that Thursday.
I decided, after I thought about it, that I shouldn't have mention the fact that I could really use the money. This was meant only to explain why I would be willing to hop around a bit to make sure she was let in and out of the place; and that it was not for any other reason that I might have for wanting to get her in my place.
But, after I thought about it, I decided to send her another message, apologizing for having mentioned needing the money, and adding that it made me feel like a beggar, and was based upon the faulty logic that her choice of where to crash would be based upon my need of the rent money, rather than any number of her own concerns.
I told her I didn't want to pressure her, and mentioned that I had another guy who had been in contact and was ready to take the place if she didn't.
She texted me back, saying: "Why don't you give him the place, then.."
And that was that. I actually felt relieved. She would have attracted too much attention, and, in order to remain as professional a couch renter as possible, I wouldn't have had to have been a perfect gentleman and not hit on her in any way that might make her think that I might use my couch to lure females to my lair.
As I closed the message from her, there appeared a "new message" message, which took me to one from Travis, who was probably typing at the same time as Olya.
"Did Olya wind up taking the place?"
I thought that they might be federal agents working in cahoots, or something; maybe trying to catch me subleasing my apartment.

which, after having run into David The Waterjug player, out in front of Starbucks, who smoked me up,  with the caffeine

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Attractive 25 Year Old Girls Rarely Starve To Death

I cleaned the apartment like it hadn't been since I moved in almost 2 years ago now.
The World Series was on the radio, and I was waiting for a call from Olya, who was flying in from the Ukraine and was scheduled to arrive at 10 PM.
She was going to come over to the apartment and stay for a few days.
I wasn't surprised when I got a message from her at around 11 PM, saying that she didn't feel good after the trip and that the friend who had picked her up was going to keep her for the night.
She was probably tired and just wanted to flop down and go to sleep, rather than go to meet someone for the first time and deal with a bunch of unknowns and then to try to get a good nights sleep in that strange environment.
It was determined that we would meet today, in broad daylight, and that she would see the place and decide if she wanted to crash for 3 days in exchange for 60 bucks.
She texted this morning and I gave her the erroneous information that a dog would be alright. I don't know what I was thinking, other than that Harold the cat could stay outside for most of the time if it was a problem.
She arrived, driving that same friends car, with a big Labrador and we were told by the front desk that "outside dogs" were not allowed.

So, Olya went off to return the car and leave the dog with the same friend.
She said that she was going to be back this evening by 8 PM, before I went out to busk.
I imagine that she could then enter the apartment, and that I could go out.
But this presents the problem that, while I was out, she could leave, but she wouldn't be able to get back in without my being present; so, no quick runs to the store and back for her.
She could eat, shower and then get dressed and go out, but would have to contact me when she wanted to return.
This could work out well, if I'm able to busk from 9 PM, until maybe 1:30 AM, and make 40 bucks, then get a call from her saying that she is ready to go back in the apartment. Of course, I would have to make sure that she was on the right trolley. So far, a lot of time has been spent just trying to meet up with her, like spending about an hour after 10 PM last night, with my music down so I could hear the phone ring, after having spent about 5 hours cleaning the apartment.
The cleaning needed to be done anyways, and this was a good excuse.
Because it was a female who was arriving, I was a lot more meticulous, knowing that one strand of hair somewhere could signal her that the whole place was decripit.
But, Russian girls are less like American ones in a lot of ways, one of which being that they are less "girlish," and don't have less likely to think it not proper that a young lady enter into an arrangement such as crashing at the place of some guy whom she just met.

I sure hope something comes of this, because it has already been a distraction. At the same time another guy has been calling who sounds more like, "Hey, as long as I can clear the empty beer cans and trash off a spot big enough to sleep on, I'm fine."

I poured baking soda deodorizing powder all over the couch and rugs then vacuumed them up, etc. 
She was about 25 years old, and pretty attractive, could be here looking for a job as an exotic dancer. She apparently has a good friend here, who let her borrow a car.

And the fact that she adopted a large black dog that looks healthy after three years of her keeping it, speaks of her having resources. Attractive 25 year old girls rarely starve to death.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Partial Whats?

  • Sunday, Early To Bed
  • 33 Dollar Monday
  • Could Have Been More

Basically, the current inhabitants of the apartment on the second floor on the corner across from Lafitt's bar have been bringing the large speakers, which must come with the place, out onto the balcony and cranking music which is even louder than the stuff that comes out of a couple of the pedicabs that are sound equipped.

This was Halloween night, and this turned a Monday into more of a weekend night environment, but it also meant that, I guess no residents complained about the music that went well past midnight and was of the Beyonce quality.

There was a time, around 12:45 AM, when I looked down the street and could see one of the guys on the balcony, unobstructed for the moment by tourists or mule drawn carriages, who saw me, apparently noticing the guitar, perhaps for the first time, and who turned and towards someone else, whereupon the music's volume came down noticeably, yet not enough to make busking very feasible.
The 33 bucks that I made in about 3 hours was hard won, involving a few people who came to within 3 feet of me and squatted down in order to listen; and those who were fortunate enough for me, to have come along when the guy in the balcony was in the process of popping a Beyonce disc out of their sound system, and then probably looking around for the Lil' Wayne one.

  • More Discs
  • Dental Visit

There is some mystery enshrouding the goings on at the Daughters of Charity dental clinic, where my teeth were examined, and where I had gotten a less bleak outlook than I had from a clinic a couple years ago that had advocated pulling all of my teeth out; starting from scratch as if were, and outfitting me with dentures.

At that time, I didn't feel old enough to have to make that commitment, and, along with trying to cling to my remaining teeth as if to youth itself, I went away and have procrastinated until today, about resuming the process to do something about my teeth.

This young black lady dentist, after impressing me with her mastery of the jargon used in her field to describe tooth conditions, told me that I could save quite a few of my teeth, but that these involved root canals and caps and crowns, etc.

What I believe happened next was, I was brought to the receptionist area and a total was arrived at, based upon the dentist's conclusions, as to the amount of money that would be charged for the indicated procedures. This amounted to several thousand dollars.

Then, the receptionist weighed my medicare card, or whatever the thing is which was given to me at some point during my initiation into the world of government assisted living, against that amount.
Then, in a practiced voice, told me about the limitations of the card, and went ahead and scheduled me for an appointment, to have done enough dental work to fish the limit of the medicare coverage, for the time being, which I have been blessed with.

Tim, my caseworker, told me that he was surprised indeed to have found any clinic where dental work could be done and billed to a medicare recipient.

The card covers something like 500 dollars (of the 7 thousand or so) at this particular point in time. After being exhausted, it will, at some time in the future become enriched with further funds, but that is a timetable that I know nothing about.

My concern is that the small amount of dental work will leave me temporarily in a worse situation than I am in now. Like, if they pull a tooth on the bottom, then the tooth on the top will have nothing to bite down upon.

Unless they can make partial dentures in sets of 2 or 3 teeth, to replace the ones pulled, I can't imagine a small amount of dental work bringing about an improvement in my ability to tear up a turkey leg with my bare teeth.

It is Tuesday night, the night after Halloween, and my gut tells me that I will be passing up about 18 bucks by not going out. By staying in and listening to game 6 of the Cubs/Indians World Series of baseball, and listening to the 80 minutes of music that I have burned onto a disc, perhaps soaking in a tub of lavender and sea salt, at the same time.

I burned a couple Bach Brandenburg Concertos, some Grateful Dead songs that I have recently put into rotation, prompted by my having a harmonica in the key of A, which I haven't heard in years done by the Grateful Dead and which I will be listening to in part in order to reestablish a link to the way I am playing them and the way that I once knew them...
I put a Madonna song on there, a Miles Davis one, and a Miley Cyrus song. Yes, a Miley Cyrus song.