Thursday, April 27, 2017

New Orleans Jazz Fest 2017

  • Sunday And Monday Off
  • 8 Dollar Tuesday
  • 33 Dollar Wednesday

It is early Thursday morning.

A day that will be spent by Rose and Ed, no doubt, watching seconds tick away; as they will get their money at the chime of midnight.

Leslie Thompson told me a story once, about how he, himself, who gets money at exactly midnight on a certain day, obtained a receipt showing that his transaction had occurred at something like .01 seconds past midnight.

Thompson always kept pretty tight tabs on the time in relation to his monthly dole "In exactly 53 hours, I'll have $505..." and he would be standing at an ATM machine waiting for the second hand of his watch (figuratively speaking since everything is digital now) to pass the "12" giving him the signal to go ahead and swipe his card.

It is a vignette depicting his constant struggle to borrow against the future to pay back the past, which he acts out in front of the ATM machine.

The fact that Leslie had managed to swipe his card that month, and only squander away one 1,000th of a second picking up his money after it had become available; well; all I can say is: Leslie Thompson!

If one imagines hundreds of thousands of cards being swiped simultaneously at the stroke of midnight in any given time zone, one could envision the Internet crashing. It is most assuredly the fact that there are not that many ATM machines available and that the average one probably has and average of 4.3 people lined up in front of it, staggering the swipes a bit, lowering the per-second number of requests being handled, etc.

33 Dollar Wednesday

I woke up at about 8 PM. I was still feeling something between soreness and tiredness in mostly my muscles. I had eaten brown sugar the day before.

I made what I believe was the first sugar purchase of my life after having busked Tuesday night and only having made 8 dollars, which I spent on a pack of American Spirit cigarettes. This includes buying sugar for anyone else, I believe.

I totally gave up sucrose when I was about 20 years old, and embarking upon what would be an arduous trek in search of feeling great.

I had read a book entitled: "Sugar Blues," by William T. Dufty, and it was enough to spur me to eliminate sugar from my diet. I won't rewrite the book here, but the chapter about a study of the diets of teen aged "delinquents" showing that it was mostly comprised of sugar "mommy's nodding on heroin right now, but there's some Kool Aid and you can make yourselves some cereal..." type of thing.

So, I bought a one pound box of "light" brown sugar on sale for 99 cents at Walgreens. I would stay up all night after having made only 8 bucks, waiting for 9:30 AM to roll around and along with it the van, driven by Tim my caseworker, on a coarse for the St. Jude food bank, taking residents who qualify for a once-per-month box of food there, to pick up the food.

I was hopped up on sugar when I went to the food bank, where I was given two boxes of food which weighed a total of about 20 pounds and which, I noted at the time, I could balance upon the handlebars of my bike long enough to transport the one mile or so back to the apartment, and free myself from dependence upon Tim and the Catholic Charities Food For Families van. I'm a family of one, to answer your tacit question.

Leslie works out credit terms towards month's end
I want to make clear, and to tie this in to the rest of the post (except the part about Leslie Thompson; but, let me see if I can still tie him in) that the reason I accept this "charity," thereby becoming a de facto charity case, is at the very base level, because I qualify. In the professional opinions of those overseeing the distribution of food, I am vulnerable to starvation, given my current economical situation.

There was a time, when I was drunk and homeless, when the food from such a place was often the only thing available, in a pinch, after the alcohol had been procured.

Myself having the attribute "alcohol dependency" attached to me in a database somewhere, might have been enough to qualify me. If, due to an illness beyond my control I am going to make sure I have alcohol, even if it means going without food, then the food bank is providing important nourishment.

Since I have not drank in about 475 days, the focus, now, is upon diverting that aid into a healthy, life-sustaining, high energy level diet.

It would be funny if they sent me a letter congratulating me upon reaching some arbitrary number of days sober, and then adding that, since I had my alcohol dependency under control, I should have plenty of extra cash for food, and that I was no longer qualified for the Food for Families program. That might drive me to drink, as a matter of fact...

Yes, since I play about 10-12 hours per week, presently, I could easily afford to keep myself in Ramen noodles, with Vienna Sausage at every meal, and might even be able to put on weight with some peanut butter and jelly sandwich snacking. There are at least a half dozen varieties of Vienna Sausage on display at the Family Dollar, so each meal can be an exotic departure, with each night of the week being special. One night a week, I could splurge upon a self rising crust large frozen pizza, at under 4 dollars a pop, out of the same dollar store.

But, the real service that the food for families people are rendering me, is to allow me to eat stuff that is not bad for me. This puts me in a much more comfortable physical state which lends itself to creative output, and ultimately makes the community a better place (because I'm playing better music for 3 hours every night at the Lilly Pad).

This is not to say that there isn't always plenty of high fructose corn syrup in the boxes, which I try to trade for other items such as the unusual ones that frequently make their appearance there.

A Big Ass Bag Of Blueberries

Yesterday, it was a large Zip-lock bag full of blueberries. High in antioxidants and beneficial in other mysterious and esoteric ways, blueberries. It was a pretty large (one gallon?) Zip-lock bag, crammed full of frozen-together berries.

Big, fat blueberries, about, say, twice a big as a blueberry in size. I was thinking about the purple ice that they were frozen in, and how much weight and pressure that blueberry colored dye would bring to bear upon the seam of the bag after it had melted and the the thing had become a blueberry juice balloon.

I'm trying to think of a joke here. There has got to be a joke that I'm missing. Something about "We've got some mighty hungry people here, but thankfully, blueberries are on the way..." or "Business Owners Fed Up With Local Homeless And Their Purple Poop" or "What the hell a nigga' s'posed to do with a big-ass bag of blueberries?!" or...

I can really see the machinations of a thoughtful and generous person/persons behind the big bag of blueberries.

It is true that such an exotic item can be a useful supplement to the poor man's diet. They are something that the wealthy would top off their carriage full of food with, like the icing on the cake, composed of layers of healthy proteins and vegetables, and curds and wheys, baked goods, whipped cream and blueberries on top.

I don't see so much the hand of those who work towards boosting the self esteem of the homeless man, in the offering of the blueberries. That group will arrange to have the homeless invited to things like dinners served in fancy settings, such as a room in a 5 star restaurant commissioned for that purpose for an afternoon. It has to do with treating "the least of thine brothers" like royalty; flipping the script in that way, and possibly being able to have an effect on some, whose experience of being treated like royalty, might inspire them to raise their own standards.

How to locate the leasts of thine brothers? That's easy. Offer a free meal and they'll flood the place.

The blueberries being in Zip-lock bags without any branding label points to them having been locally grown, perhaps by a local Catholic who donated them.

I also got a frozen chicken.

I'm sitting here now, as the sun is coming up. I made 33 bucks in about 2 hours of playing last night, after having woken up in a daze around 9:12 PM, the time I "usually" leave to go out and play every night.

Before I had the bicycle, and would ride the trolley into the Quarter each night and then walk the 9 blocks to the Lily Pad, it was the 9:12 PM one that I would always try to catch. I could be set up and playing by around 9:30 using that trolley.

And, to this day, even if I drift off to sleep after sundown, having been up almost 24 hours, I will wake up around that time.

This time, it was about 9:03 PM.

I had a bunch of pennies and a 50 cent piece. All I really needed was food for Harold the cat. If I hurried, I could get some at the dollar store and maybe not even have to spend my Kennedy half dollar.

Then, after a cup of coffee, I started thinking.

I had no money. It would be a little more than 24 hours before Rose and Ed paid me the $140 back that I lent them.

My food stamp card was down to 13 cents (for the next 9 days) and my green American Express card was down to about 20 cents.

I had no cigarettes.

I had a big bag of blueberries, a frozen chicken a bunch of farina and whole wheat pasta and cans of green peas and green beans, and a half bag of light brown sugar, though.

I decided to just go out and play. If I made some money, I might even be able to squeeze another loan into the hands of Rose and Ed. Last month, Rose called asking to borrow 20 bucks in the evening, to be paid back double just a few hours later. I really must be one of the only residents here who can make cash money on any given 29th day of the month

Now that I have made 33 bucks and returned home with 20 of it still intact after buying a couple lottery tickets and a pack of smokes and a Monster Energy drink -3 expenses that could be eliminated.

Four Years Ago...Hats For Homeless poster boy...
Not much of note; a 20 dollar tip and a complement from a waitress from Lafitt's who had taken her smoke break by me.

Tonight will be the first night of Jazz fest (Thursday).

I'll be busking my butt off, trying to play 5 hour nights, even if I have to just sit there and rest at times. Jake, the busker who used to play on Royal and Orleans, used to just sit with his guitar leaned against the wall by him and wait for people to explicitly ask him to play before he would. I guess you are almost guaranteed a tip from someone who does so; but you will most certainly miss out on the tips that come for a variety of other reasons, such as you are playing a song that one out of the passing group of people had just quoted, "I was just telling John to take it easy, and we come around the corner and a guy's singing 'take it easy,' it was cosmic. I gave the guy a 20 spot..." type of thing.

That's about it for the blog update, I had a few topics in mind but got sidetracked to blueberries, I guess.

I need to study the GIMP "image manipulation program," so I can start to include little cartoons and other "Photoshopped" items in this blog. I should be able to do some much more professional looking ones than what I was able to do with the Paint program in the past.

It's just that the manual for GIMP that I downloaded really relied upon a lot of screen shots to demonstrate the various menus and windows, etc. These, I would have to look at on line. All I got was the text when I downloaded the web page with a lot of references to fig 3.1 and fig 3.2 etc., which allow you to see what the hell they are actually talking about.

2 or 3 hours on line after searching You tube for "how to do things using the GIMP editor" should have me ready to make a stab at it.

A busker nearby where the Lidgleys of London live
The XML, Javascript/DHMTL, Perl and CSS computer language studies are moving along at a snail's pace, as is the Spanish II studies, and the novel that I'm working on, can't forget that...

According to the maxim, if I don't see it, it doesn't exist, I am trying to keep all of my projects within my sight. All the books that I'm reading in view, and all the songs that I'm working on right in front of me on the desktop. That way I might at least spend 8 minutes on each thing every day; better than nothing...

I heard the pianist in Lafitt's playing "A Day In The Life," a Beatles song that I had been playing pretty regularly but had forgotten about until just then. It's a pity because the G major harmonica that I had before the present one would have been perfect for that song. This underscores the need for me to make a huge list of every song that I ever played and have it laminated, all 5 pages of it. There have been nights when I knocked off early after feeling that I had run out of material. The list would be the antidote to that.....

I've seen Wiel And Anna a couple times lately
You've just read: 2,392 words. POWERED BY ↁ DANIEL-SOFT TEXT SOLUTIONS ↁ"


alex carter said...

About sugar; I surprise the hell out of everyone by not really being fond of sugary things. Because we became so poor when I was a kid (the 1970s were a 2nd Depression while we're in the 3rd, and frankly my father's choice to attempt to make a living programming computers was idiotic) we often didn't have money for real food, but for even as little as a few cents you could get some form of candy. And most of the foraged foods I could find were sugary too, like fruits and things like sugar cane.

So sugar just reminds me of those very poor times, to me it's what you resort to when you can't afford real food.

alex carter said...

I played again tonight, made $10 but that only in an hour and yes I do kind of suck.

Wael & Anna are all over the intertubes, and checks out too.

Daniel McKenna said...

Too bad about the computer programming, when I was driving a cab in Phoenix in 1998/1999, I would transport 20 something year olds to the clubs who were loaded with money; and who gave me the advice: "Just get a book like 'Learn Java In 30 Days,' and just mess around with it..." and then get my own 50 dollar per hour job, it's easy...
But, that (it being easy) would explain why very soon there were more Java programmers than there were computers as it sounds like is the case out there in the silicon valley.
I guess it's the guys who really love sitting around writing code all day and would be doing it anyway if they were unemployed, who are the skeleton crew that remains; life has a way of thinning the herd in that regard; a cruel joke on people who go into a profession for the money...
But, I guess that since you are about my age, your dad would have had to have been making hay in the 70's slinging FORTRAN, in order for you to have been rich back then...
It wouldn't surprise me if Wael & Anna have some kind of marketing machine in place for themselves, using all of the techniques and strategies in the SEO book that I have read, but am not that interested in putting the effort into.
Maybe at some point in the future I'll link myself to everything from Twitter to Intagram and will join online communities of musicians, etc, etc...
But right now I'm focusing upon making the best recordings/ videos and written pages as the main "strategy" for making my blog traffic blow up...
Kind of like finishing a mural before starting to throw a spotlight on it every night; or like making sure all the actors are in place before raising the curtain...
Of course, I could theorize that, there are 40 people like the 40 who now read this blog at least once a month, in every group of whatever number of people have seen it; and that

alex carter said...

You are right about any field people go into for the money. If the money's good, then the colleges etc urge everyone and their dog to go into it, and then it crashes, and in the end the "skeleton crew" that's left is composed of the people who'd program using pencil and paper, living in a cardboard box, but they'd still program.

An example of this kind of mentality is he games even though he's homeless because he doesn't even know how to do anything else.

My dad *should* have done well, even though his language of choice was COBOL rather than FORTRAN, except for one thing: He moved us to Hawaii where being white, is a lot like being black here on the mainland US. Except that blacks can complain, complain, complain, to high heaven and get given all kinds of stuff. It's not that way at all for whites in Hawaii. It was what I believe is termed "a really seriously stupid fucking move".

But now, yeah, programming is dead unless you'd happily program for $5 an hour.