Monday, November 27, 2017

Pork, Dreams And Reality

I was happy when I found a pack of pork steaks in Rouses Market on Carrollton Street, which was marked "today's special," or something and was only 2 dollars and change. Even at the regular price of 5 dollars and change, pork is a cheap meat.

But, eating a ton of pork, though it first made me feel like grabbing my weight and working out a bit with it, eventually contributed to my falling into a broken sleep that was marred by weird dreams, in which nothing was going even as "well" as in real life.

In this one dream, I was with Travis Blain the freeloader who stayed with me, and my younger by 10 years brother, who owns a business, makes good money, but has equally good bills pile up on his coffee table each morning, and works a ridiculous amount of hours, just to stay in the game and compete with money driven people who are also putting in 80 hours per week.
I don't know what the dream meant. It might be interpret-able as a warning against eating a pound and quarter of pork steaks shortly before retiring for the night/morning.

I probably laid down to sleep at 9 AM.

My in house phone rang at around 11 AM. It was probably Rose and Ed wanting to use my phone, as they called back at around 4 in the afternoon. That time I answered the in house phone and decided to make coffee and swallow down a few aspirins with it and start my day.

I had blown off the trip to the plasma place again, citing my tiredness and the fact that I still had a lingering cold which I would have to lie about on the intake screening questionnaire; along with lying about having sex with a person who is recovering from the ebola, wait, that was in the Travis dream...that didn't happen...damned pork, no wonder it's so cheap.

I can see where the myth came from that pork has the devil in it; due to Jesus' having cast demonic spirits out of a man and into a pig, back in the day.

Monday, The 27th

It is Monday night. There is a "who cares" match up of two mediocre football teams on Monday Night Football.

I almost feel like I don't have the luxury of watching football.

I feel like I have bitten off more than I can chew, in wanting to compete with New Orleans musicians, and I must chew as fast as I can, with no extra time at my disposal for, say, watching football.

Some of us just don't have the liberty to take time off -ask my brother who works 80 hours per week- because our artistic dreams are both a blessing and a curse.

I can remember times in High School when one of the students would throw a party at his or her house, and invite (select) classmates to attend.

It was usually a student who lived in a nice Brady Bunch type of house with, of course, a swimming pool in the back yard. They might even have booked a band to play by the pool.

Through cynical hindsight, I see this as an attempt by the parents of the kid, to up her stock and move her up the totem pole, by showing off the fact that, while she may be a plain Jane, her daddy's got mega bucks.

She would, of course, have invited the best looking and most athletic boys, and her best girlfriends, and would have used the party as an offensive weapon against those whom she didn't invite.

It was, in a sense, preparing us students for the world that we would be released into, some day.

But, I can remember staying home and practicing the guitar instead of going to the parties -OK, I wasn't invited to any of them until I had made some kind of name for myself and become more popular, by senior year; and then I wouldn't take up the invitation out of resentment for having been snubbed the first 3 years, and by feeling manipulated by the person who had invited me, as if she wanted me there as some small part of her bigger picture, like, at one point I might be asked to entertain with a humorous song after which performance of I would shrink, once again, into the background, as the master of ceremonies host moved the program along into other areas- and I would feel that I was in the 1 percent of all people whose passion in life requires that they make sacrifices, and that I was sacrificing the time spent at the party in order to learn to play the guitar better.

But, now I am realizing that my passion to chew as fast as I can and try to produce something lasting, is going to require further sacrificing. Stated succinctly, there is no pork on the road to your dreams, son. (I'm the "son" in that addage).

Stuffing my face with pork steaks and then having to sleep it off did not further me much in my ambitions. I'm going to have to go back to the diet which has gotten me this far; being 55 years old but not looking it, etc; and cannot allow myself the luxury of perfectly cooked, falling off the bone, pork. Besides, the demons in it doesn't recommend it too well.

I just had the image of Robert Plant in an old black and white photo that I saw once, walking off "the stage" in a studio somewhere, his beer gut flopping out of his early 70's shirt and over the belt on his jeans; a fat slob, tanked up on beer, and stoned, with a shit eating grin on his face because he had just finished recording "Black Dog," to go on the band's forthcoming release, and was feeling like the session had gone excellently and that they had kicked some fat slob tanked up on beer and stoned ass, for sure, and that a classic rock song had just then, been born, flash through my mind.

It is one of life's small disappointments to me that you can't just get sloppy drunk and high and be in fine fiddle for going up on stage and putting on one hell of a rock and roll show, notwithstanding Led Zeppelin's '74 world tour...

The fact that the girl who throws the party at the nice house might very well know that there might be some gorgeous young fellow student who is from a much more "working class" background, who might actually be willing to fall in love with, and marry, the girl; feeling that he would be thus setting himself up for life" (Hey, her father could make his now son-in-law vice president of his company, through whom he could continue to give his little girl an allowance every week, in effect, as he, the son in law, sat behind his name and "vice president" upon a placard on a desk, alongside photos of he and the wife on the beaches of Monaco in this one, and "our trip to Greece," in this other one, etc.) just flashed through my mind, also.

The kids who were at the party while I was home practicing are the ones who come by and tip me now, as if to say, "Good call; I wish I had it all to do over again; I never would have married a guy who wasn't in love with me but only interested in my family's money....hey, do you have any songs about that? Oh, I know, play Desperado, by The Eagles!" Yeah, as if to say that...

The major breakthroughs in life happen in the blink of an eye, but can require years of experience to lay the groundwork for them.

I remember feeling, in the dream about Travis and my brother, an incredible frustration over having lost all that I had gained through years of experience, in personal growth and the underlying sense of having cut through a lot of the b.s. and learned to act and think in different ways and with differing priorities. In the dream, things weren't "flowing" the way they do for me in New Orleans, where I have found some kind of niche and where I have become a more likeable, down to earth, entertaining in general, person.

In the dream, I was trying to just be myself -the self that has been forged through having been in the military, having gone on long searches for God, involving hanging out with everyone from the Hare Krishna's to the Hare Krishna's (full circle), been in jail, lived in a mansion on a hill and on a thick piece of cardboard under a wharf, having met people from all walks of life, and then come to New Orleans where I had to became what you need to become in order to survive here (sober?)- but, in the dream, I was trying to just relax and let it flow and let the fact that I have turned into a pretty cool person just come to light naturally, but it wasn't happening.

We were sitting on a Greyhound bus, myself noticing that Travis and my brother resembled each other physically (enhanced against the dream-scape) and there was an awkward silence.

I felt like the kid I was back when I wasn't invited to Teresa Sala's pool party in the back yard from which I could hear whatever band they had hired from my own back yard..."Oh, they must have let Tom Reardon come up and try to sing "And I Love Her," by The Beatles, that sounds like him...never was one of my favorite classmates; kind of a snob..."

This was a bit to do with the dynamics of my relationship with Travis Blain and the fact that, in hindsight, he seemed to have been affecting over politeness the whole time he stayed with me, when he was probably fighting the urge to say: "Dude, could you just go and sleep under the wharf for a couple weeks and let me have your place; I really would love to just lock myself in, smoke weed, work on my laptop to come up with money for an apartment, play video games, watch movies, live on nasty TV dinner type food, and not pay a cent for being allowed to stay here."

With another person in the apartment, his defense against him was to perpetuate a never ending lecture on a variety of topics, all with his perspective being the focus.

There were plenty of awkward silences, broken by Travis saying "No worries," his catch phrase for all situations when there were indeed "worries," by he was being too diplomatic to raise objections.

"I used your coffee mug, because the cup I usually use when I juice things has got something in it in the refrigerator and the other clean ones are too narrow at the top to catch all the juice..."

"No worries."

He then used that mug never again, and actually left it behind when he left, in the above example.

So, there were plenty of awkward silences. Just like in the dream.

What I think the message of the dream was is that I need to pursue opening a bank account, which would allow me to do the same kind of work (for Amazon, in his case) as Travis Blain does.

He told me how to go about getting that kind of work (which paid him an average of 75 dollars per day, but some days it took him 11 hours to make that) and that, the primary thing I would need was to hold a bank account at a major bank.

I guess this is a good way for Amazon would ascertain that their employee, whom they've never seen face to face, is an American citizen, has an address, and isn't ineligible for employment based upon anything that would also prevent him from opening a bank account with a major bank.

It had never even occurred to Travis Blain to tell me about this job opportunity, even when I might have been sitting on the couch next to him, venting my frustrations over not having been able to find any job.
I finally mentioned it, asking him if it was competitiveness that had kept him from giving me the information; like, are the jobs distributed by zip code, and would my foray into the field wind up meaning less available work for him?

No, it just never occurred to him to tell me that I could make 75 dollars a day working on a laptop, just like he does, even after I might have said something like: "I'm thinking of quitting smoking weed for a few weeks so I can pass a drug test and maybe get some work."
A naturally occurring thought to him might have been: "Gee, I smoke up a storm, even while I'm working, and it's 'no worries.' No drug tests for me...I should tell him about my job..."

But, no; never crossed his mind. He was preoccupied with composing an outline for his next lecture, perhaps; maybe one about some of the jobs he has had and how good they were for him...

So, I think the communication of the dream was to remind me that that option is out there. I would need, I think 50 dollars to open an account at the Whitney Bank across the street from us.
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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Look At The Time!

  • 20 Dollar Saturday
  • Life Overhaul In Order
  • Swinging Songs

Finding out that I had "misplaced" 8 dollars and change on my plastic plasma Visa card yesterday was good. I had had the nagging feeling of having (recklessly) spent the 40 bucks that I had made selling plasma, plus the 16 that I had busked for Friday night, way too quickly. I should still have almost 10 bucks left, I thought.

Determined (for the millionth time) to arrive earlier than midnight at the Lilly Pad, I managed to get there and start playing by around 11:20 PM.

New Trolley

I had nothing to lose, having an all day bus pass, by trying the new trolley, the tracks of which having been under construction for the better part of last year, and the stop at which I could catch it and ride down Rampart Street, to be dropped 2 blocks, now being known to me.

I guess because there were so many out of town-ers in town, the trolley driver had announced: "Rampart; to City Park," or whatever, after the trolley had stopped at Rampart and Canal.
I had known about the new line. It had taken me a while before I actually asked a driver how I might catch the thing, which intersects the Canal Street line at that point.

She had told me that I would have to get off at that spot and wait for it there.

"So, I might have to wait up to another 20 minutes for it?"

"No, there's one right behind me..."

I guessed that they synchronize them that way, since it would be a simple matter of meshing their schedules together.

"So, I would have to get a transfer when I get on at my apartment?"


So, I would pay an extra 25 cents and would have to get off 4 stops short of where I usually do at Royal Street, and then would have to wait, but probably only a few minutes, for the one going down Rampart.

My only concern, as I rode the thing along Rampart Street, after learning from the driver that I could get off at St. Ann Street (and then have to walk 2 blocks to Bourbon Street, and then 1 block to the Lilly Pad) or at Ursulines Ave. (and then have to walk 2 blocks to Bourbon Street, then 1 block in the other direction to the Lilly Pad) was safety.

I could walk the length of Royal Street night and day for a year and never have anything really bad happen to me.

But, the 2 block walk to Bourbon Street from different points along Rampart, fall into that "gray area" of places that tourists can unwittingly stray into; usually because they are religiously doing what Google Maps is telling them to do, rather than having opened their mouth to ask anybody for directions.

That is understandable, as nobody wants to attract a skeezer: "Come on, man, I gave you good directions; help me out with a few bucks...five, twenty, whatever you can afford..." into their life.

Separated briefly from the "safety in numbers" of Bourbon Street, those tourists run a higher risk of being accosted and winding up being the subject of "Man robbed in 900 block of (whichever side street) an article in the next day's paper. These assailants, I would call: "wrong turn" skeezers.

The little old lady who pushes a cart selling flowers was robbed of her cellphone and like 30 bucks in cash a few months ago, right within those 2 blocks of Ursuline Ave, and "just off Bourbon Street" is where numerous drug deals o down after the tourist has said to the hustler on Bourbon: "Mmm, smells good; I wish I knew where I could get a sack," after sniffing a promotional exhaled puff of pot smoke, and then had the hustler say: "Come on, take a walk with me, we can't do it right here on Front Street..." and then they had walked off onto one of the side streets, Ursuline and St. Ann being a couple of those that I could take to get to the Lilly Pad.
The 94 dollar a night Ursuline Inn along my way...

The trolley wound up getting me to the Lilly Pad 20 minutes sooner than if I had stayed on the Canal Street line until it got to Royal Street and then walked the 9 blocks to the playing spot. The walk along Ursuline Street had been about a "7" on the heebie geebie scale; and about the same on the "willie" meter.

A compromise would be for me to get off at St. Peter Street and then have a total of 5 blocks to walk, instead of the 9, saving me perhaps only 10 minutes rather than 20, but conducting me along the well lit safety of St. Peter's Street.

This is such a life changing thing to a 55 year old busker, set in his ways. I almost hadn't wanted to try the new trolley "maybe some other night," last night. But, my goal was to arrive earlier at the spot and I had managed to wind up upon the same trolley that had gotten me there a little before midnight the night before, and so, what did I have to lose? I could break the pattern I've followed nightly for 6 years.

I had always found it a hindrance to have to walk the length of Royal Street each night, where I might encounter other musicians, whom I might feel compelled to stop and chat with, while the clock ticked away.
The well lit safety of Bourbon Street
Sunday The 26th

It is Sunday evening. My all day pass is good until 3:30 AM, as that is apparently the time at which I had boarded the trolley for home, after having played from 11:20 PM until about 2:30 AM.

Three hours for about 20 dollars.

I thought I might stay up a few hours and then ride over to the plasma place to make 40 dollars for my 7th donation of November, and leave there early enough so that I could catch maybe the Patriots game at the casino, with 60 bucks or so on me, and making plans to work on the abandoned rectory recording studio situation.

I find that I can sing loudly enough in my apartment so that, if I were Gordon Lightfoot, for example I would be able to cut my vocal tracks right there in the apartment. Bono from the band U2, not so much...

The hissing of water through the pipes of my heating and air unit, which used to peg about -30 db on the Audacity meter, before I learned how to shut it off, has been supplanted by the sound of my freezer in the kitchen as the reigning nuisance. This pegs about -40 db.

The sound of the water hose that you can still hear after closing the valve, although faint, still makes the meter jump around in the -48 db range. A loud vehicle going down Canal Street, by comparison will spike up to around the -35 db of the hose when it had water gushing through it.

Swing Amount

I laid down a rhythm track with the "swing" value set to a full minus-1. This is the fully swung amount that a drummer would use to keep a strict sense of breaking the beat into 3. As a song speeds up, it is human nature to cheat a bit and make the notes fall somewhere between fully and not so fully swung notes. Otherwise it would sound too stiff. It's all about "feel."
I then put another few minutes with the value set to -.93.
When I played over it, and then played it back, it did indeed sound kind of stiff until the drums changed, signaled by my having swapped kick drums and percussion instruments, about half way through, and the song began to sound more swinging; or the drums more natural, or both...

I wound up pushing back the plasma trip to another day, tomorrow. I still have until the end of the month to capitalize on the sad fact that I've been there 6 times already this month; the sadness stemming from the fact that I had deemed those trips to be preferable to busking those same hours; a vote of no confidence for Tuesday evening busking, that.

Bobby is still planning to go ahead and buy me an electric guitar and amp "for Christmas."
He has indeed investigated the Orange brand of portable amps, but is leaning towards getting me a Blackstar brand one.

The staff at Guitar Center seem to hold a lot of sway with Bobby, in their recommendations of products. "They said this one blows all the others out of the water!," is something he might say. It hasn't escaped my cynical notice that these seem to be always the "Guitar Center" brands of things, such as Mitchell guitars and, I guess, Blackstar amplifiers.

I will have to plug the thing in and record a tribute to Bobby, in some way, if I get the stuff.
I'm not exactly sure what motivates Bobby in doing this. On the surface, it is similar to some of the tourists who have given me large tips in the past, wishing only that I use it to buy better equipment so that my music can be better heard by better people.

I think people relate to the artist who can create, but who has no facility in going from point A to point B, as far as the practicalities of his art form entail. This guy would sound awesome playing a nice guitar, but can't save up for one because of the daily burden of surviving; they might think.

I will say that I have always thought that there is a "the rich get richer" mechanism in place as far as street musicians go. The most talented people eventually seem to wind up with the nicest equipment because they sound OK enough on a cheap guitar to soon be able to afford a very decent one, sound even better, fetch more tip money etc; and will wind up like Brian Hudson, who busks on Royal Street using a 3 thousand dollar Martin guitar, and singing through a good mic and amp.
"The rich get richer," I thought, a few years ago, when I would hear Brian play and then think that it was then incumbent upon me me to go out and "compete" with him, using my 80 dollar acoustic with no amp nor mic.

But, I suppose if I found a Stradivarius violin in a dusty moldy case in the crawl space under the abandoned rectory, I would be tempted to just give it to Tanya Huang. Just hearing her play it and knowing that she loves it, would be enough reward.

Though, I would ask her if she would trade me any old violin that she might have laying around for it. "I want something to experiment with and try to learn a bit of violin; but it doesn't have to be a Stradivarius."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Too Much Monkey Business

Someone at Sacred Heart had said something to me about not bothering to go to the Quarter to busk.
It was the Bayou Classic weekend, when two traditionally "black" colleges' football teams were to play against each other at the Superdome.
Not a good night for being creative with the GIMP editor...

The French Quarter would be overrun by black people. Whites would avoid the whole scene, because of the tradition of violence on this day each year. This would make it even blacker.

"Good luck trying to get a tip out of them," I was reminded by a black guy who I see almost every night whom I saw while picking up a milk crate to sit on to play for black people who are notorious for not tipping.

I was actually half way to the Lilly Pad on the trolley before I recalled that it was indeed Bayou Classic weekend. Seeing cops on every corner and every intersection blockaded reminded me.

The barricades were just a precaution, to prevent automobiles that can be used as weapons, from entering the street, even though this act of terrorism isn't really a black thing. They prefer the intimacy of handguns. But, I may be stereotyping.

I set up and started to play just a few minutes after midnight.

It was a typical busking for African Americans scene for me. I wasn't making record amounts of money, but was pretty sure that I was outperforming other buskers, who might have been telling me "Good luck getting a dollar from any of these niggers," on my way there.

If I played my ass off, I would indeed see dollar bills trickling into my basket.

Videos were indeed taken by young African Americans of young African Americans rapping on top of what I was doing.

At one point, after I thought I had played well, there was a 5 dollar bill in the basket.

I scooped it out, along with a few of the ones, in between songs, determined to keep the amount in the basket at around 4 dollars, no more.

This precaution paid off, as indeed a couple of young blacks came along with one of them saying he wanted to shoot a video of me.
I found a "FJ" type headband, a 4 dollar value, on the ground...

He began to do so, but, standing a bit too close to me, for me to not know that something was up. It was almost like he was trying to distract me and block my view of the other guy.

As I played to his phone that was less than 2 feet in front of my face, I saw his partner, who might have thought that he was hidden from my view, scooping money out of the basket.

I stopped playing.

"You're good; you can stop shooting the video, your partner already got my money," I said to the young black kid who was standing too close to be shooting a video without tipping me off that something was up.

"Huh, what?" he asked in mock surprise. "He got your money?"

He then started to deny that he knew the other guy.

"Yeah, he got my 4 dollars," I added, glad that I had been breaking the basket down, just as a precaution, during Bayou Classic weekend. The remaining 16 dollars out of the 20 that I had made in 2 hours, was safely in my back pocket. I was also testing his reaction to his learning that a whole 4 dollars was what was to show for their performance..

They were the prototypical piece of crap criminally mentally ill black kids, who probably had grandmothers telling them things like that white people had all the money they would ever need in this world due to the color of their skin, and that it was, in a sense, OK to steal from them. There is just a certain percentage of them who are irrevocably this way, and they may "ruin it" for the rest of African Americans, but they exist. All the busker can do is keep his basket under 5 dollars at all times, and hope that this raising of children as animals will stop at some point; maybe after welfare queens are no longer rewarded extra benefits with each uncivilized savage that she sires.

It had been an alright Bayou Classic for me, to that point. Angela the waitress from Lafitt's had just given me a full pack of cigarettes that someone had left behind -a 5 dollar value- right before the little punks had stolen from me, so it was easy to tell myself that I had been compensated for the loss, and I was able to keep playing without giving them much further thought.

As I think about going out to play tonight (Saturday) I guess I'll just be vigilant about keeping no more than 5 bucks in my basket. I might crunch up a few of the fake 100 dollar bills that Alex in California sent me a couple years ago now, to fluff up the basket and make it look like I had made a lot for the edification of those who throw tips after seeing that (a lot of) other people had.

It has been probably a year since anyone stole money out of my tip basket, with the exception of the one older black man who had performed a slight of hand feat in placing a couple one dollar bills in the basket while, in the same motion, snatching a fake 100 dollar bill that I had started the basket out with. He must have thought himself very clever, indeed.

I had half expected him to return, demanding his 2 dollars back, because I had "tricked him," (shame on me; when all he was trying to do was "feed his family").

It would take two traditionally black colleges' football teams playing against each other to be the occasion of the next robbery of tip money.

These 2 punks might have thought they were clever indeed, also.

They had been by earlier, as part of a larger group.

Some of the others in that group seemed impressed enough with my playing that they, along with throwing a couple dollars in the basket, had held a hand up to the 2, as if to say: "No, don't." at one point; over something.

I suppose it would have been OK, had I been playing "White Supremacist" Southern Rock and had been unable to keep my hatred of them from showing on my face, or had said something sarcastic like: "Sorry, I don't do any Tupac Shakur" -then it might have been "Go for it, man, take the whole basket"- but a few in the group, who might have initially intended to "goof on" me, for their own amusement, for some reason gained enough respect through hearing me, to ward off the 2 punks; who would later return without them to enact their lame, badly acted out, obvious thievery.

The phone that the first one was holding way too close to me was a piece of crap that wouldn't even be able to capture a video of any quality, I noticed; another of the things "wrong with this picture" about the whole scene.

What I do, at times like these is look at this picture of myself alongside, Sherrelle James, a cashier at the Save-A-Lot in Mobile, Alabama, whom I saw almost daily in my homeless comings and goings, and who bought me a capo for my guitar once, after I had happened to mention needing one to play a certain song, and it was a nice, intermediately priced one, not a cheap one.
Her wanting to have this picture taken with me, before I left (for the first time) for New Orleans in 2011 was out of a genuine feeling that she was going to miss me after I went.
This one black and white photo is proof against me indiscriminately hating all brown skinned people...

It was my fault for letting them get that close to my basket. It's always someone else' fault.

Friday, November 24, 2017

I'm Dreaming Of A White Guitar

Bobby, in building C is determined to see me equipped to do the grueling work of making "4 times as much" money busking; so that he has told me that he intends to buy me an electric guitar; after his having researched that particular product and found, like myself, that we are living in an age when robots can manufacture a pretty much consistent in quality electric guitar that has had its frets shaved to within microns of perfection by laser guided other robots, rather than by a guy named "Martin" who is using a hand tool, but who has such a good ear that his finished products fetch amazing amounts of money at auction; they can crank out a guitar that, since they make so many and thus buy their "genuine rosewood" at wholesale prices, is cheap, relative to a guitar that has a recognizable brand name, has the brand name of "Mitchell" or "Jackson" instead, and is one that he has said he will get me one of, "for Christmas," along with, a small battery operated amp, and trailer and bike to pull it all behind, the last being already sitting in his apartment.

The guy seems to, at the least, think that I have been a very poor manager of my own busking career.
He may see me as a fixer-upper.

He has heard me play, usually through his dearly paid for and surprisingly outperforming for the money equipment, and he is of a solid opinion that myself, standing alongside the tall buildings of Canal Street and "cranking out," so as to be heard throughout the block, is my "way to go."

The kratom green one, if you don't mind, Bobby...

I agreed with him on the point, citing my encounters with a preponderance of street musicians who concurred on the subject of "once I became amplified," with the consensus being that they all seemed to have begun to make "4 times as much" at that point, that I would fully expect to be able to make "4 times as much" as I would be, standing on damned Canal Street at 2 AM with no amplifier; sure; that would be a 20 dollar to 80 dollar eventuality.

The Chubby Checker looking black guy, who wears kind of flowery button up shirts with slacks and the kind of shoes that you shine, and who has, probably a "vintage" Fender electric guitar and who plays it through an amp with its "chorus" setting used in its eponymous way to make it sound like at least more than one Chubby Checker looking guy playing "old school gospel," I'm sure he gets 20 dollar tips, due to his amp, from people who say "I could hear Luther from all the way over there, I just had to come over and bless you..." as they put it in his basket.

Bobby is right in that regard.

But, the Lilly Pad...

The Lilly Pad is the Boardwalk to the "Illinois Ave" that is Canal Street.

The 20 dollars that I might make after I break the guitar and harmonica out in the presence of David the Water Jug Player after we have smoked weed at 2 AM on Canal Street, and the guitar has already come out so David could play, usually: "What A Wonderful World This Would Be," the Sam Cooke song (and a song that I invariably see as A Skeezing Song, i.e. If you give me a couple dollars for my next beer then, yes, wonderful it would be, indeed! but I'm digressing; Chubby will have made the "4 times as much" of 80 bucks in the same period.

But, the Lilly Pad is where I average 18 bucks per hour.

I would be using the amplifier to add effects. This is a substantial part of the equation.

Those buskers who spoke of quadrupling their income after "becoming amplified," also "became more like the songs that you hear on the radio" in the process, and, let's face it; any karaoke singer will tell you that if you turn the reverb knob up it will make your voice sound better; like, you're on the radio, or something. There aren't as many fans of the open air acoustics of Canal Street.

Using the correct settings on the amplifier, one can be singing in the shower (where we all sound like Frank Sinatra) wherever she performs.

So, I would count this as an opportunity to perhaps double the amount that I make there. I would be carefully adding just enough volume to my vocals to set them above the level of the acoustic guitar in a manner consistent with where an audio engineer in a recording studio would balance the two sounds, but would blend in the ambiance of delay and reverb.
Illinois Avenue

And, I would be keeping the amplifier out of sight; because otherwise it could become a bone of contention between Lilly and whomever she may have had to assert herself against in the neighborhood counsel, back when it was made copacetic that I sit at the one and only spot that I do; and play acoustically each evening, and very rarely past 1:30 AM.

So, if Bobby were to get me the stuff for Christmas, I would only tote the little battery powered amp.

I would have gotten a "headset" microphone of a high quality. This, I would have strapped to the harmonica harness so that it, through precision placement, would capture both singing and harmonica playing.

Then, I would run this microphone (wireless) to the little amp, which would be concealed in my backpack.

It might even sound like I have a magical, echoing voice, and a lilting harmonica that seems to careen off the historical and probably haunted walls, to those who can't see the amp in the backpack.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Doing Thanksgiving

I guess it will be over to Howard Westra's tomorrow for Thanksgiving.

I left for the plasma place at 3 PM and was back and at the Uxi Duxi by 7:30 PM, having gotten 40 dollars for my 6th visit of November.

I missed a chance to win a turkey through the annual raffle at Sacred Heart. I hadn't paid enough attention to the fine print stating that one had to be present to win.

This is discriminatory against those of us who are up until 4 AM regularly..

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sue Me If I Play Too Long

There is a way that I could have seamlessly woven the image of Sue the Colombian lady into this picture and even had her in some kind of bubble, as if I were daydreaming.

But, that would require that I sit down for a few hours with the GIMP photo editor manual in front of me and play around, using layers and feathered edges and seamless blending etc.,

And what I would have to show for those 3 hours would be a much better picture of myself sitting in the Uxi Duxi and daydreaming about Sue. This would be time well spent, as I could use it in future fake daydreaming photos.

I haven't had any romantic interest, other than Lilly, ever since Sue, the Colombian lady left town, after I had gone to Baton Rouge the last time I went there.

She hadn't wanted to come with me; for fear that she would have to depend upon my alcoholic and unpredictable ass, as her only resource in a strange new place.

"No, we will get in some argument; and then I'll be stuck by myself there..."

Sue was kind of instrumental in my having gotten the Lilly Pad as a spot to play. I was sitting on her stoop along with Sue when Lilly had come out and soon became involved in a lengthy conversation with the former in Spanish.

Afterwards, Sue had told me: "I told her we were just friends." I took this to mean that Sue might have seen the possibility of Lilly and I getting together some time in the future, and she was allowing me to keep my options open.

Lilly, I think, first supported me in my efforts because she knew that my nice Colombian lady friend would also benefit. With Sue long gone, Lilly and I have been seen walking together along the river.

I saw a woman who reminded me of Sue on the trolley the other day. It started me thinking that; I could possibly have a girlfriend, once again, some day.

I'm not attracted to black girls. I see them as being of a material mindset; one that I have "evolved" past in my own life; and I see them as being able to keep up a ruse and "play" other people for their own gain. What's love got to do with it?

Colombian ladies may very well be the exact same way; but I'm willing to abide it, since they are so beautiful to look at...

The photo of Sue, I have had since the first or second night that I met her. It depicts the super vigilant kind of confusion that she often evinced.

In the original picture, the background is a big blurred due to my shakiness with whatever phone I was using to take it; and this served to emphasize the effect of the whole world swirling around Sue, with her caught in the middle, vigilant and wary and suspicious and ready to flee at a moment's notice.

I think I might have stayed with Sue had I just ever thought that I even knew her real name. I was pretty sure that it wasn't "Sue," as, wouldn't she at least go by "Susanna," if that were the case?
And, I didn't like the intimacy and familiarity with which she would talk to other Spanish speaking people the times she ran into some of them.

I had a similar problem when I was dating Angela, a black girl, who would talk "that ghetto trash" on the phone with someone, hang up, and then try to resume the civil discussion we may have been having using proper English.

Should I have looked at is as if Angela just was bilingual, able to converse fluently with both myself, and her girlfriends on the phone who were all in the process of playing different men for what those men could provide them? Or should I have been suspicious that I was being played. I had a car and a job at the time, while Angela was living off of disability.

But, back to the photo of Sue. It had been a very dark picture, almost too dark to even "see," but I had kept it because of the look on her face.

Now, using the GIMP photo editor, I was actually able to brighten the thing, without apparently sacrificing too much "detail." The colors and hues in a digital photo are just levels that can be manipulated, after all.

No Busking Sunday Night

After having made 40 bucks over Friday and Saturday nights, I used Sunday to catch up on sleep.
I was aware that the Patriots were playing a football game in Mexico City and that, as a such a novelty, it would probably be one of the games shown by the football networks. But, rather than go to Harrah's Casino to try to watch it, I blogged yesterday's post instead.

The $24.09

This (Monday) morning, I was up at around 10 PM, having half a night's sleep in me already.

Harold the cat was on the bed next to me. There was 2 dollars and change on my coffee table. It was all the cash I had left of the 40 bucks that I had made Friday and Saturday nights.

Next to it, the laptop out of which repeatedly played the recording that I had made the night before while I slept.

It was a song called "Egg Shaped Headed Girl," and I had written it while running the Audacity editor in the background, and looking at a picture of a girl on the screen.

This was a good example of me smoking a joint and then beginning yet another new musical project, when I already have several irons in the fire.

Sure, the egg shaped headed girl song could wind up being amusing, clever and easy to listen to, after being worked on and polished up; buy why not put that effort into polishing up stuff that is going to go on the CD?

Pot; that's why.
...Well, let's syncronize, Pakistani chick!
I called the number on the back of my plastic plasma debit card and was actually able to get a human being on the phone who told me with a Pakistani accent, that the payment of 25 dollars which had been made Friday had not been "synchronized" with my plastic card; but that it now had been.

I called back to confirm that my balance was $24.09 and then went back to sleep the second half of an 8 hour "night;" waking again around 4 PM.

I walked to the Uxi Duxi, where I now sit outside at right after 8 PM. It is kind of cold out, maybe 50 degrees.
There were no spots where "it just stops" after a chord had been forgotten; and so, this represented progress.

The 32 minutes of myself playing the guitar and singing softly (as it had been the middle of the night) into the Snowball microphone, and then going back and adding a snare drum to it on track 2, represented another kind of miniature milestone, in that I had been able to play for 32 minutes while keeping a pretty much steady beat. I had fallen into a kind of soothing rocking motion when playing the snare drum along with it. There were no spots where "it just stops" after a chord had been forgotten; and so, this represented progress. These are huge files, and I had to wait about 3 minutes just to apply compression to the snare drum track, before eventually undoing it and applying less of it.

I suppose tonight, I could take little sections of perfection and "repeat" them, using that effect on Audacity. Then I could practice all the other parts repeatedly over it, before reducing it back to just one repetition with all 7 parts synchronized...

The snare drum, which is one that I found on Royal Street one night, believing it to have been abandoned by someone who might have found it in the trash somewhere, used it to bang up some beer money on and then left, is actually a pretty nice drum.

Pricing snares out of the MusiciansFriend catalogue revealed that 200 dollars is about the lowest one might pay for just any old cheap snare drum, and the one I have is certainly at least in this category.

It amazes me how the sound of a snare drum appears in so much music. It's basically a percussive sound with a splash of white noise to go with it; produced by the little metal beads that sit against the bottom skin of it. It's kind of a brash sound that never seems to be in tune with anything if you listen to the "boing" sound that rings after you hit it. But, there it is on almost every record you hear; the snare drum.

I want my CD to really impress people, and I guess I have been laying the groundwork for that by sucking enough in the past, to have lowered the expectations that anyone might have.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

To Give Thanks For

What do you get the man who has everything?

Start with a box of macaroni and cheese for 99 cents plus tax:

"I'm going to make a whole big pot of spaghetti, and then use the cheese packet to season it all...

I've always thought that macaroni and cheese comes out too thick with cheese when you make it the regular way. I'll just add some butter and some salt and pepper, and pour in a can of stewed tomatoes; plus, maybe add some hot sauce. I wanted some mushrooms, but you guy's are out of mushrooms back there..."
"That's one of my 'frugal living' secrets though; using the cheese packet from the cheapest macaroni and cheese to season a whole pot of pasta..."
And, of course, a can of cat food and a cup of coffee at The Quartermaster.
I paid 77 cents on a can that I could have gotten for 66 at the dollar store. That was a waste of almost one percent of the 15 bucks that I had made that Saturday night, playing from about 11:15 PM until about 1:30 AM.

I bought a 50 cent lottery ticket for the "Pick 3," upon which I will apply my new strategy of willing the number into existence.

I had been taking a passive approach to the Pick 3; trying to glean what the number was going to be, as if the number was totally outside my control and was going to be what it was going to be, through its own volition. I would look at the colors around me, some of them suggesting colors, like green for 5; and I would keep my ears open for clues to what number was coming.

This has been all wrong.

Now, I play a number of my choice; then I use the dynamics of my mental energy to make that Pick 3 number come into existence. This has been a breakthrough for me.

This first night that I decided to play this way; instead of holding the ticket to my forehead and going into my trance while the line of customers behind me complained; I just chose my number, "604," jotted it on the play sheet and handed it to the Ethiopian cashier.

"You are playing 604?!?" he asked, with a degree of excitement.

"Yes, I'm going to use the power of my mind to..."

"Tonight's number was 406, you didn't see tonight's number?"

"No, I just picked 604; but this is a sign that I'm doing things right, now..."

The Ethiopian cashiers at The Unique Grocery are of the Muslim types, whom I have encountered before. They don't drink or smoke, and live at something akin to a Seventh Day Adventist or Mormon level of purity.

And it is evident that they live governed by some principles that help them to remain upbeat and joyful, even though they are working probably 90 hours per week each -I go there at 10 AM sometimes and it is the same one behind the register as was at 2 AM, type of thing- and the rumor is that they each make only 5 dollars per day in cash; but are given free room and board in apartments that sit right over the Unique Grocery; and that, after something like 5 years in this arrangement, those Ethiopians, who will still be shy of the age of 30 will get their own stores to manage, etc. and will be well on their way to realizing the American Dream; having had the sensibility to realize that nothing comes except by hard work on this earth; and to have joyfully and patiently dispatched their duties, giddy almost, as if what they had had in Ethiopia paled by comparison to this land of plenty, where they can stand behind a register for 14 hours each day, before retreating to their apartments, indoors and with a water spigot where all you have to do is turn the knob and you don't even need pliers, and the water comes out, fresher than the Nile in springtime.
Ethiopians Set Sail For Jobs In New Orleans, La.

There are certain religions whose devotees get ahead in life, simply stated.

Of course, if you devotedly follow the path of abstinence, purity of thought, and tithing; you will eventually reap the rewards of going crazy with boredom because you're not anesthetizing your mind with any kind of substance, and deciding to pour your energy into a business venture; as happy over the increase that the 10 percent that you tithe will see with your success, as you are over any of the other trappings of it. There are those religions.

Catholicism is no proof against a man winding up living under a wharf with a black caped night heron as a pet, by the way; while on the subject of religion...

All that being said; the Ethiopians gamble.

They are some scratching fools when it comes to scratch off tickets. Either that, or they happen to wait until around 2 AM each morning -the time I usually show up- to scratch away and get it all out of their systems for the rest of the day.

I passed along some wisdom to them. I suggested that they wait until such a time that a customer comes in and buys a large number of scratch off tickets. If he is like a lot of such gamblers, he will scratch the tickets right in front of them; hoping to hit it big and be able to claim the money immediately. He will most likely win "a free ticket" on some of them; and will likewise want to be able to redeem them right there, and then roll the dice again.

"Wait for some guy to come in and buy like 25 of the number 12 game, the Barrel of Monkeys one or whatever, and then, if he laments: 'Nothing!' and throws them all in the trash on his way out; without even coming to you to redeem free tickets, then you buy the next 25 tickets of the same game. That way, you will be doubling your odds against the system..." I had told them.

They seemed to see the logic in this, but maybe not, in their esteem, the wisdom of it. It might be considered against their religion to do something like that; kind of like cheating, perhaps?
They seem to just want to take their chances, like everyone else, and share equal chances in having blessings bestowed upon them by Allah, or whatever the god of Ethiopia is. I think they might actually be Christians...


So, tonight is the first night that I'm going to apply the power of my mind to the Pick 3 number at 10 PM, when it is drawn. I am going to make it come 178 tonight. I realize that I am interfering with a lot of the lives of people in Louisiana who play the Pick 3, I mean, what about some nice Louisianan, who didn't play 178 and who, thus, isn't going to win, who "might could" really use the money?

Or what about some dip-shit who plays 178 who is going to use the money to buy date rape drugs or something with it?

I hereby take responsibility for all of the consequences that are a result of my tampering with the Louisiana Pick 3 lottery.

So, tonight, the number will be 178, and I will have turned 50 cents into $249.50.

This is good, because the balance on my Visa Octapharma plastic plasma debit card is still negative 91 cents; more than 48 hours after having been drained of my plasma.

I would potentially have become livid had that 25 bucks been the only barrier between myself and abject poverty.

I had an unexpired all day bus pass going for me, though, and was able to ride back home from the place; and am now glad that I went out; weak and dehydrated; to busk and make the same amount of 25 dollars that I have, so far, been screwed out of.

Patriots 33, Raiders 8

I kind of "knew" the Raiders were going to wind up with a weird point total. I figured the game would end with them having like 12 points, or 18. I guess I'm getting tuned up for making the Pick 3 come "178" tonight, practicing a bit on the football game...

I could have watched the game somewhere, rather than come here to the Uxi Duxi to blog, but I sacrificed, for you the blog readers.

Brian Hudson

came by the Lilly Pad last night, along with a friend he had just met, perhaps.

I didn't know it was he; I was playing with my head down, and/or eyes closed at the time he and his friend approached.

The friend sat down on Lilly's stoop. This kind of told me that he was going to listen to at least one song. I had better make it good.

I was just about warmed up at the time, having about 7 or 8 bucks in my basket, 2 of which I had started the thing out with. I did one of my better original songs, "Her Thigh Said Sublime."

My emphasis of late has been on enunciation of words. I find it even helps to sing more on pitch when I'm trying to pronounce each syllable, as if I'm trying to communicate the exact meaning of each sentence to a person standing across the street.

This is something that can make players in a theater troop sound kind of stilted when on stage; like they're using their "play voice" instead of just talking normally; but it apparently works to their benefit; and I find it helps when busking. It could just be that by focusing upon diction, it helps the rest of the music exist in the background of unconsciousness; the same way I can play "Carry Me Back To Ol' Virginny" more accurately while trying to make up words to it at the same time, than if I had nothing but the results of my trying to play the thing to listen to.
Colin back in town
The second of the figures had positioned himself to my immediate left, but had the relaxed posture of a person not intending to snatch my backpack and run off. After the song ended he put a dollar or two on top of the 7 or 8 in the basket, at which point I looked up to see the face of none other than Brian Hudson.

He introduced me to his friend, whose name I guessed wrongly to be "Jeff" (I like to try to guess people's names) and whose real name, I now can't recall.

It had been pretty much a total surprise to see Brian. He and his friend had been looking for a place to eat. I suggested the world's best hamburger for 7 dollars at The Clover Grill.

A Fowl Mood?

It is Sunday now. The Patriots seem to be slaughtering The Raiders in a game in Mexico City.

Since the stadium in Mexico City is situated something like 7,000 feet above sea level, The Patriots, whose game last week was in Denver, Colorado; remained in that city this past week, further acclimating themselves to thin air. The Raiders stayed in Oakland, breathing smog. They never stood a chance against the altitude ready team from New England.

"Hey, buddy! Have a drink; and another; and another!!"

Next on the calendar is Thanksgiving. If Lilly doesn't invite me to spend it with her and the girls, then I will be going to Howard Westra's in Gretna. It's almost a shame to be missing out on all of the food give-aways going on in various parts of the city for the homeless. I could make a few stops and return home with whole turkeys and other foodstuffs. But, of course, I would run into the likes of Leslie Thompson and that might really put me in a "fowl" mood.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Big Bag Of Heroin In My Cupboard

  • 6 Dollar Thursday
  • 25 Dollar Friday
  • Plasma Money Snafu
  • No Kratom Friday Night
Aged 10 years in 2 days...

I guess it was a good thing that I had $1.90 in my pocket and an all day bus pass good until 2:36 AM the next morning when I went to the Octapharma plasma place.

I got to the bus stop across from Wal-Mart right as the next bus was coming, and so I decided to hop on it and skip my usual foray into that store, where I usually get a couple bananas and other things to replenish my plasma, and save money on Harold's cat food.

The money for my donation is usually on the plastic card by the time I get to the register.

This time, my balance was given as "minus 94 cents" all the way up until the time I got off the bus on Canal Street on this side of the river, and when I checked again outside Family Dollar, where I was hoping to get cat food, and still when I was back at the apartment.

Bobby, my weed guy, had been phoning me throughout the day, telling me about a book that he had gotten, which was a "Yes, you CAN learn to read music," type of publication, an "every good boy deserves fudge," book, if you will. He wanted to show it to me.

I went to his place, thinking that he would at least pass me a bowl to take a hit off of while showing me the book. I had $1.90 total.

It was aggravating to have been drained and weakened with nothing to show for it. I could have bought cat food and then gotten cash back to be able to buy a 5 dollar bud to put in my pipe as I was tuning up at the Lilly Pad.

"I'm on camera being stabbed and drained, plus, if they had put the money on the card then there would have to be records of my having spent it on certain things at certain stores, and I'm going to eventually get it; so why can't I just relax and think of it as money that I have in the bank?" I said to Bobby. I felt the all-too-familiar feeling of going out to busk under pressure to make something or have nothing. Never mind get a creatine monohydrate drink and a shot of kratom the next day.

The Monkey Wrench

It was easy for me to guess what could have caused the problem. I had asked a question.

The plasma selling process is so "automated," with the employees having just resigned themselves to the fact that their job entails certain repetitive actions, that can't be skirted, so they function like robots. They might even ask "How are you doing today, Daniel," before asking: "Name?" as they are putting me in one of the recliners.

This is a good thing, for the fact that proles like: "then you take this and put it here, undo this and put it here, then, with your right hand you pick this up, making sure it doesn't touch your left hand, tape this down, like so...etc." means that every donor gets a fresh, sterile needle and no oxygen bubbles in their veins, etc.

It also had meant that I had gotten the money put on my card every time, usually before I had made it to the register at Wal-Mart.

But this time, I threw a monkey wrench into the machine by asking the guy that screened me which donation this was for me this month.

The little poster showing the "bonus" amounts was hung to my right, as the guy was taking my blood pressure, temperature etc., and drew my attention.

He told me that this was to be my third donation.
I knew that couldn't be right. I could remember at least 4 of them.

"I've got it right here in front of me, this will be your third one..." said the light skinned black man who strongly resembles a guy who walks back and forth by me on Bourbon Street about every night.

I decided that I would check "my records" (i.e. this blog) to try to match that up with what they had.

But then, the monkey wrench:

As I was being drained, I asked the lady who usually wears a blue coat -a mismatch with the rest of the white coat wearing staff that denotes that she is above them- if there was a way that she could check to see which visit I was on.

The lady who usually wears the blue scrubs came back about 15 minutes later and said: "This is your 5th visit..."

"OK, thanks..."

This meant that I was in line for a "bonus" of 20 dollars upon my next visit, but had the effect of seemingly not letting me get paid.

No Cigar

One of a few things might have happened.

The lady who usually wears the blue scrubs may have taken my paperwork with her into the office so she could punch my numbers in; and then never returned it to where it would be automatically picked up by the lady who pays everyone (who hasn't asked a question).

Or, the light skinned black guy who strongly resembles a guy who walks back and forth almost every night on Bourbon Street, might have purposely messed me up, because I had gone over his head in consulting the lady who usually wears the blue scrubs, who had asked me: "Who told you that?!?" in a manner that resonated like someone who is above everyone else. And I had ratting him out: "the guy who screened me."

"We'll see about that bonus; he ain't gonna get shit!," he might have said to himself as he went to a computer page and clicked on "paid already," or something.

I got back to the apartment feeling drained, weak, dehydrated, and thought about not going out to busk in such condition.
Then I kind of told myself that I had to; or I risked being flat broke the next day. No creatine drink, no kratom, no cat food, no cigar (in lieu of a pack of cigarettes) and no bus pass to ride out the next (Saturday) night.

So, I went out and made 25 dollars playing for a couple hours.

It was only a 20 dollar bill from a lady who had held it up to show me before putting it in my basket, that spared me from having a second consecutive 6 dollar night.

Bad Diet
"10 years older over the course of 2 days..."
Tim, my caseworker had come by Friday morning and given me 3 bags of frozen blueberries, about 15 pounds of the suckers.

I bought a box of Raisin Bran on sale for $1.88 at Walgreen's, intending to turn it into raisin and blueberry bran, which I did when I got home. But, I wound up eating the whole box of it, and adding a lot of brown sugar to it.

Looking in the mirror this (Saturday) afternoon after I had slept off the meal, but still woken up feeling sleepy, it looked like I had aged 10 years, with large bags under each of my eyes.

I guess the fact that I had gone sugar free for something like the past 30 years really has been one of the keys to my appearing younger than I am, as all it has taken is this recent binge to make me appear frighteningly older over the space of just a couple days.

I had bought the bag of brown sugar -one of the first in my life- a couple days ago, and it has become like a bag of heroin sitting in my cupboard.

I was telling myself that I should eat baked fish with steamed broccoli when I got home; but the Raisin Bran was in my backpack, and I was fantasizing about heaping tablespoons full of brown sugar as I headed home.

So, what can I do to make thing better and put myself back on the right track?

I can fold up this laptop now (9:02 PM) and make it to the Lilly Pad by 10:30 PM at the latest; play for as long as the rain holds off against 50% odds; and then have baked fish with steamed broccoli when I get home.

Tomorrow the Saints are playing at the Superdome. I could finally make it there to play outside, the first time this year. The plasma money will eventually come, and I might find myself waking up Monday morning with enough money so I can make the trip to the big pawn shops to get the auger and the saw in order to hack into the abandoned rectory and record vocals over all the guitar stuff that I have been patiently recording waiting to sing on top of.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Irrational Optimism

I woke up a bit before 6 PM. I couldn't remember if I was supposed to be pissed off, or depressed.

I'm almost out of food, and am just recovering from a plasma draining the day before.

A lot of people would have killed themselves already if they were me, but I have this character flaw, I guess, which manifests itself as irrational optimism.
It was dark outside.

I was mad at the time on the clock; but, how could I be when I hadn't gone to sleep until noon?

I am so sick of having to "keep my chin up," and "look on the bright side,"and force myself into a good mood, time and time again.

The patrons of the Uxi Duxi were all talking about their Thanksgiving plans.

I hadn't gotten there until 7 PM, with only an hour to blog about how pissed off I was.
This laptop sat in front of me for at least 10 minutes with "Updates are 30% complete; don't shut off your computer," and a little spinning logo.

After that amount of time, I defied them by shutting the thing off. It came back on to the same "30%" screen and sat there like that for another couple minutes.

I turned it off again, removed and replaced the battery, and then it came back on and swiftly cycled through various percentages until it was 100% "updated," and I had learned something, but had wasted a good 20 minutes. This is a recurrent theme with me.

It seems like I am learning and learning and will have it all figured out at the time that I die of natural causes -a wise man, who could do something amazing if he could go back and start his life again...

The Uxi Duxi patrons were all inviting each other over for the holiday, should any of them be faced with spending it alone.

Nobody ever asked: "How about you, Daniel, are you going to be alright on Thanksgiving?" to which I could have reassured them that I had been invited by one of my only friends in Louisiana, Howard, to join him; and that Lilly still has a few days left to invite me, should she see me playing on her stoop over the next week.

It's just that, not only did they not think of me in that regard, it didn't seem to occur to them that it might be rude to do so right in front of me, as I sat in my usual spot by the window.  "I just don't want to see anyone have to spend the holiday alone (like he probably has to do)."

"I'm trying to figure out how I can post a picture of myself blowing my brains to Facebook; It's not an easy problem to solve; I would have to leave a note asking whomever finds my body to please go to the folder where the video will be and upload it to my home page; I would have to leave them my password...etc., and I really don't think I can rely upon anyone to do it. I can't tell them in advance, or they're going to try to talk me out of it..." was what I felt like saying to anyone who might have asked, so maybe it's good that they never even thought about me.

Lilly and the girls would be at my "funeral," and I think, Howard Westra would make it. Tim, my caseworker probably would, also. And, who knows how many buskers from the Quarter might drop a guitar pick in the urn with my ashes.

The problem is, the irrational optimism.

I'm the guy who will watch a football game right down to the end, even if my team is trailing by 21 points with under 2 minutes left. They could recover 3 onside kicks, throw 3 "hail Mary" bombs to the end zone, and still tie the game up in less than 2 minutes, and, who knows, they might draw a penalty flag, which would allow them one more play before time expired, and they might kick a 65 yard field goal to win it...

And, I would have missed the most fantastic finish in the history of the game, if I had given up like most other people and had switched over to another channel.

So, that, in a nutshell, is why I'm not a suicidal person.

When it was 4 AM, I thought about trying to go to sleep, so I could be up at the Uxi Duxi when they opened at noon, and perhaps would have the whole afternoon to get caught up on this blog.

Harold the cat disappoints me. When Sherman was over, Harold had jumped up on the couch and cuddled with him after he finished eating, just like Sherman was me, or as if Harold doesn't care who the hell it is, as log as he pets him and scratches his head.
I'm not totally happy with Harold as a pet; but I kind of knew this, already, about cats.

This is the same bullshit that I am facing day after day. It's 9:30 PM. If I want to go out and busk, I should fold up this laptop and get moving right now; but, what if I think I could sit here for a few hours and produce an interesting post, which would be worth more to me than the 6 dollars I might make busking? Or go back to the apartment and spend 5 hours working on a drawing that might come out beautifully?

This is just human nature; looking for an excuse to avoid the responsibility of having to go out and make some kind of living.

But, of course, if I didn't smoke cigarettes or weed, do kratom shots or drink coffee, then I wouldn't be so "pressed" to make money...same old bullshit.

If I stay in to work on something that turns out to be a piece of crap, then I'll wake up in the morning with a piece of crap and barely enough money to take a bus over to sell my plasma for 25 dollars.

And the funny thing is, I have the ability to flip a switch and be in an awesome mood, just by re-framing the situation.

If I go to the Lilly Pad and make just 10 bucks, I can feed Harold the cat, and still be on the plasma bus the following day.

And then, there is the matter of, what if I spent the same 3 to 5 hours busking, rather than selling plasma? Instead of hopping on the 115 for Gretna, I could plop myself down, right there by the bus stop and play until such a time that I would be returning on the same bus 3 to 5 hours later; and, wouldn't I have at least the 25 dollars in my basket, and wouldn't feel weak and old and pessimistic?
And hungry enough to eat a few more of those 25 dollars worth of food?

Tony Robbins, in his great book "Unlimited Power," talks about how it is counterproductive to even dwell upon what is depressing you, even for the purposes of trying to explain it to a therapist or a friend.
When someone asks you: "What's wrong, why are you so depressed?" then they are asking you to recreate that state of mind, and put yourself in it.

The thing to do is flip the switch, and put yourself in a positive state of mind, and don't look back.

So, here I go again.

This gets tiring, but...I feel great and have a lot to contribute; I am blessed!