Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I Wrote This Yesterday

Darius Palermo, Daniel McKenna
Arriving too late to get a cup of coffee from the Starbucks, here at Harrah's Casino
I have spent the last couple hours recording vocals at a brand new to me location.

There is a good deal of noise there, but that just makes my voice blend in from a distance and I don't feel like I am personally affecting any one while there.

In front of the University Medical Center there is an area about the size of a football field which contains paths that cut it into sections, each of which being adorned by statues and water fountain type things and modern sculptures, plants and large pebbles filling in the rest.

I found that, by taking a place on one of the two foot high walls which border the beautified areas, I was about a hundred feet from the nearest traffic and basically sitting in a football field sized area holding the microphone inches from my mouth with the sensitivity of the Snowball set to fifty percent.

I use ninety three percent to record an acoustic guitar from a couple feet away, just to use that as a reference. The result of setting the Snowball to be that deaf -as that is what the effect of turning the sensitivity down is- is that the traffic that is a hundred feet away has its sound attenuated by half, making the cars sound like they are ten times farther away, I think the logarithm is...

So, singing loudly -because the decibel level of the whole area is high enough so that my voice probably only "carries" a couple hundred feet, making me feel free to just belt out melodies, offensive or otherwise- into a microphone held 4 inches from my mouth is acceptable from a noise reduction standpoint.

It's like; would you rather have someone whisper vital information in your ear while you both stand at a noisy construction site, or have them yell the same information to you from a hundred feet away at a beach where it isn't technically "loud" but there is the sound of surf crashing, the wind, the seagulls an an occasional ships horn from a half mile out at sea?

If the information is vital, why flirt with the possibility of a seagulls' obscuring a syllable or the crash of a wave making the word "session" sound like it could have been "lesson" because the "sh" sounds blended in with the seething froth?
So, I have discovered one more recording technique destined for a "making decent sounding home recordings on a shoestring" type post or book that might come in the future.

I have written a couple posts offline and at odd times and I now go to fetch them and perhaps put them below. Or to write "Never mind." and move on.

The first post I found had more about the forty-seven dollar Sunday that I had, mentioned the keyboard on this laptop now having keys that don't work -the digits seven through zero, one of the "Ctrl" keys, and most important to me, the parenthesis, both of them -it's going to be more dashes now.

Then, I voiced concern over leaving my key with Wayne, my neighbor, before embarking upon any trip, missing digits seven through zero.

The way I wrote it was:

$1Ꞁ.Oꝯ night.

The reason that amount looks funny is because the keyboard on my laptop has, at this time at least, some non functioning keys.

Most annoying, when using the Audacity recording studio is that the "Ctl" key on the left doesn't seem to work. And the "end" key doesn't bring the cursor to the end of anything, as far as I can tell.

Going out so late on a Sunday night so as to not even arrive until almost midnight and making forty seven bucks was good.

It is a mere eight days now, before my food money comes.

Harold the cat might just have to be an outdoor cat, unless Wayne, my neighbor does indeed want to take my house key while I'm gone and let the thing in and out.

Now that I think of it, it might give me a sense of insecurity to be miles away from home and to know that I have a place waiting for me if I can just get back to New Orleans, if some calamity is to befall me, but to also not have my key on my ring.

The Key To Serenity

In this world where "anything can happen" it's possible to imagine my neighbor Wayne, God forbid dying while I'm away, and myself returning after an arduous journey, hungry and tired, overheated and just wanting so much to take a lukewarm shower, eat something and take a nap, but, I am unable to get into my apartment.

Perhaps I have to wait around for a locksmith to show up.

Maybe after Wayne died, his apartment was cleaned out and my one and only key to my apartment, they found on a table somewhere when cleaning the place, and chucked into some box which was mailed to Wayne's family in wherever because it looked like it might be important...

And, there I would be, unable to let myself and a meowing Harold the cat in.

I better make myself a copy of the key if I'm going to leave one with him.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Daniel's Trip

  • 40 Dollar Friday
  • Rainy Start To Saturday

The subconscious mind is an amazing thing.
Almost everything that I have been going about lately, in hindsight, has been tailored towards preparations for a trip up north.

I am buying 2 cans of cat food at a time; one for Harold's dinner plate, the other one going into storage.

Soon, I will have a month's supply stockpiled. Maybe this will be right around the time my food stamp money comes in -my own little pile.

I got a card from my mother, thanking me for the box of chocolates that I sent to her for her birthday/Mother's day, the 2 days being a week apart.
She wrote that it had been a "total surprise" (being the first one in 55 years).

It hopefully signaled that I have weathered the storm and gotten past the string of calling to wish her a happy birthday and asking for money at the same time, and the subsequent calling to wish her a happy birthday and telling her I would have sent a card but I am pretty broke, but don't need money, and into the scrambling to catch up on chocolates era.

And the chocolates signaled that it is safe for her to send me a card without money in it, without worrying that I might be disappointed after opening the envelope, type of thing

"Hubert's Trip," is one of the songs that I have been adamant about recording a good version of, having decided that I'm going to work on a particular song until it is complete before going on the the next.

It is about a Hubert whom I will most likely see (for the first time in 12 years) when I am up there; and what better calling card would there be than to be able to bring him up to date on my musical progress by letting him hear how that song sounds, 30 years after he last heard me play it at the apartment that we and a couple other college students shared back then?

There are other songs that I am preparing with like intentions, such as the thought of my brother and his wife, along with my 3 little nieces whom I've never met, sitting and listening at a gathering, which probably would have been orchestrated by my mom, with invitations to my family members to use the opportunity to see me while I was there, since it might be another 12 years before the next one arises. I'm kind of like a comet, in that regard.

I might send a Facebook message to my sister-in-law, Melissa, asking what kind of music is on the playlists of my nieces, ages 9, 7, 6 and 5, rather than just blindly learning a Taylor Swift song, thinking that one size fits all.

"Umm, we really can't stand Taylor Swift, unlike most girls aged 9, 7, 6 and 5, but that's OK, it's good to see you, anyways." type of thing...

What I'm grappling with now is whether or not it is a liability to me to have an addiction to the adrenaline that would come from hopping a freight train out of Oliver Yard, risking arrest and at the mercy of which tracks it switches to, as far as where I would be headed. If it's on the left track going into Mobile, then I'll be busking in Montgomery, Alabama tonight, I might think; otherwise, Jacksonville, Florida, type of thing.

Just buying a bus ticket to take me all the way to Boston seems to me a cop-out in a sense, or even worse, a sign that I'm getting old. Hell, Howard Westra was already about 63 years old when he was keeping up with me through rail yards, even if he was dragging his loafers a bit.

The laptop will be in my backpack, along with, I suppose, the Snowball microphone and a couple changes of clothes. My guitar will be on my back.

I won't make any money by taking a Greyhound, unless I whip the guitar out during layovers, and busk in the immediate vicinity of the bus terminal. The downside of this is the fact that, given any city in the U.S.A., it's a chicken and egg type thing: which came first, the Greyhound Station or the worst, most crime ridden, section of that particular city?

As a cab driver in both Jacksonville, Florida and Phoenix, Arizona, I learned this. You never want to get off a bus during a stopover in the middle of the night anywhere, and then stray further than the glow from the Greyhound sign reaches. A lot of bad stuff seems to happen "right around the corner" from a city's main police station, too. I guess the drug dealers and hookers want their customers to feel safe.

Come Again Another Day

So, it is Saturday night. The rain has pretty much stopped. I need to keep my foot on the gas and go out and play, even though I just put 23 bucks on my green American Express card, after having put 22 on it the day before.

The Grover Rotomatic 102 tuning machines have arrived, and are in my backpack, along with a new set of strings, both intended to go on the Takamine guitar, restoring it to its glory.

Then, I suppose I could sell the 100 dollar Epiphone that Bobby gave me as a gift. For traveling money. As if I learned nothing from my experience of selling the bike that was a gift to me from Howard, and that got a flat tire on my way to meet the buyer.

But, I got to chance upon the Rhonda Harris artwork on the side of a building -done by a hand that I once held, 25 years ago, because of selling the bike, and to have met Candy, the trans-sexual who bought it.

Ester, who sold me the bike that I ride now, before Howard gave me the candy red one, surprised me the other night by asking me how Candy was doing, and how he/she had looked to me.

Ester somehow knew a lot of Candy's history, to include him/her having bought the bike from me.

She may have seen Ester when riding the bike and told her that she bought it from "a guy who plays outside Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern," and Ester made the connection that way. But the theme of "it's a small world" (highlighted by my having come upon across the Harris artwork) resonated once more through the candy red bike sale experience. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Lists Of Lists
The (personal) message that I got from Anjul, the founder of Feedspot himself, told me that it would be great if I were to "mention" the New Orleans Lifestyle blog, (where I have been holding steady at number 14) and then to include the exact link to it, as above.

I was able to do him one better by turning it into an actual, clickable link, using the underlined "Link" function from the toolbar.

When I had placed it in the "Blogs I Read" section, it was somehow truncated so that the user was brought to the home page of Feedspot instead of to the top 15 list.

Since I don't have time to go in and edit the XML in my blogs template, I'm doing it this way, for now.
I am considering adding the emblem,
New Orleans Lifestyle Blogs

Geez, would extra large be a bit pretentious? Maybe a smaller one, photoshopped to be stuck to the Lilly's house behind me in my black and white background photo...

Also, this would be the time, when I have the ear of the founder of one of the big "feed reader" services, Feedspot* to get in on the ground floor of the kratom movement, by taking up stewardship over a "top 15 kratom blogs" site.

I understand how the aggregation software provider might be thinking.

An aggregator like Feedspot is intended to allow a computer user to kind of create his own daily digital newspaper.

It is culling various content from the web and sticking it all in one place, basically.

Instead of visiting each of 36 different places that you go to online (and finding perhaps that half of them haven't been updated in the past 24 hours and that you wasted a few seconds clicking upon them) you go to one front page.

There, everything that has moved, in the area of your interests, you are made aware of.

But, let's say that you only have one site that you visit for news about the world of competitive surfing.

The aggregator would bring you the latest update from that world, say, once per week, where you might read about a competition that took place over the weekend.

But, if the sites that you go to for news, are aggregators themselves (say, "the top 15 surfing blogs," in the above example) then, in computer terms, you would have an array of arrays.

Now the 36 places that your Feedspot page audits would then themselves be listening for activity on 15 (of the best) blogs in that category, so that you could in effect be checking on 540 websites each morning, over coffee.

And, you may be able to see coverage of the meet through different outlets, each with, perhaps, different footage of guys on pieces of fiberglass, and might be able to read different opinions of their surfing, etc.

Yoga for surfers, one surfer's story (of having surfed away from the poverty stricken island where he grew up, on a board he started to whittle when he was 10, all the way to Australia at the age of 16, to start a new life), certainly plenty of commercial sites (infrared goggles for night surfing, now available, etc.).

Another idea I have is to visit the other 14 New Orleans Lifestyle blogs, contact them, and ask them if they would put a link to my blog on theirs, and maybe even offer to contribute to theirs.

It's something to think about.

But, putting together a site like "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Kratom**" and then making that site an aggregator that goes out and fetches stuff, maybe even scours the web for the word "kratom," and then puts little thumbnails and links to it all, in one place, is an idea.

Kratom and music. How many musicians use kratom, and what do they say about it? There could be one little spot on my page that is monitoring all 87 of those musician's sites (plus the links to other sites on their sites) and that could be just one 20th of my page.

Kratom and the visual arts...

Medicinal uses...

It's mind boggling. My mind is boggled.

So, the spot that has this blog listed at number 14 in its New Orleans Lifestyle section, is itself listed at number 7 on a site that tracks blogs that track blogs. Hmm...

$41.51 On A One Dollar Night

Yup, Wednesday night, it was midnight before I got to the Lilly Pad.

I had found 40 dollars (two 20's folded together) laying in the street at the corner of St. Phillips and Royal Streets on my way there.

I played for a bit over an hour and only made a dollar.

I took a break and decided to walk, instead of cycle, the 350 yards to The Quartermaster for a cup of coffee that may or may not have made me want to play more.

The 41 bucks in my pocket seemed to signal that it might be a good night to go home early and work on a recording project.

Then, I realized, once at The Quartermaster that I had left an almost full pack of American Spirit cigarettes on the sidewalk where I play.

I hastened towards the spot, trying to resign myself to the fact that they would either be there or they wouldn't, and that worrying about them as I walked wasn't going to change that outcome.

The turquoise box was still there, having sat for about 10 minutes and been passed by, by who knows how many people.

Someone had placed a stick about as thick as a pencil and a foot long right next to the box. This told me that someone had found them, but had decided to leave them there, perhaps knowing that they were mine and that I would probably hasten back there for them.

Facing an uncertain future...
I stood the stick up, leaning it against Lilly's gate, as a way of saying that I had understood the stick and appreciated whomever it was leaving them there.
I think it might have been the older black guy who walks back and forth (and back and forth) almost all of any given night.

Back, And Forth

I see him about every night, just walking back and forth along a certain stretch of Bourbon Street, passing me every 20 minutes or so.

He will once and a while return my greeting but doesn't seem to say much to anyone.

He has some kind of job at a hospital, I heard him say once, when we were both in The Unique Grocery.

I had also heard the Egyptian cashier say "You get the exact same thing, every night, at exactly the same time!"

To which the guy, who seems to wear the exact same navy blue tee shirt with a collar and the exact same white cotton pants and brown loafers every night, replied something to the effect of, yeah, he had to have his box of Dots and his Diet Dr. Pepper every night before getting aboard the 1:25 AM street car for home.

I think he may have put the stick there, because he glanced at me a bit more intensely than usual when we passed as I was on my way back to see if they were still there.

The Findings Are In

Then, I found 51 cents in the street near The Unique Grocery, putting the total of found on the ground money at $40.51 for the night.

It's a sign that the economy around here might be healthy. But, so will the economy in Boston, where I might experience an exhilarating freedom from the feeling that I am subjecting people to my same few songs for the umpteenth time.

All of this made me think that I was being encouraged to embark upon my busking trip, headed towards New England, especially when I found a full tube of toothpaste (Aim brand) laying on the sidewalk across the street from where at least a dozen homeless people have their tents and stuff under a bridge.
Learning to eat while I'm away...

Something about toothpaste, albeit not in the "travel size" was saying: "Travel" to me.

I have fed Harold outside once (shown) and may do so again, perhaps so he will have a spot that he can monitor for food when he is outside and hungry while I am gone.

Maybe Wayne, my next door neighbor, will leave food for him there if he (Wayne) has to leave for a while. The only competition for it would be from the armadillo, or one of the two possums that have been spotted around the parking lot.

**but were afraid to ask.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


  • Debuting At Number 14...
  • Tuesday Night Off Not Very Productive
  • Another Tulip Hater Blossoms

I got a congratulatory notification from this website about "New Orleans Lifestyle Blogs" (a blog about blogs) informing me that this blog has been selected as one of the top 15 such sites. Of course the snide cynic is thinking: "How many are there, 15 in all?," coming in at number 14.

Somehow it was one of the first things that made my new and unfamiliar to me phone bling and blang and light up to give me that particular news.

It was asked that I post a link to that site here, which I will get to shortly. It would be a good addition to my busking specific site, to round things out with other aspects of the "lifestyle" here being referred to.

Of course, I'm already thinking in the back of my mind, that this is kind of prodding me towards making this blog more "general," but I suppose what I had for breakfast is part of my New Orleans Lifestyle...

Wednesday evening and the sun has just set, it is just around 8 PM.
I have moved to the outside of the Uxi Duxi, after having bought just a half shot of Yellow Borneo kratom, so that I could hang around the premises and use the wireless.

I still had plenty of the Royal Kratom kratom that I had gotten Monday night/ Tuesday morning at the Unique Grocery Store, so I had taken 9 capsules of it and then, after experiencing a burst of cleaning related energy and having swept and mopped and wiped down things a bit, had hopped on my bike and come to the Uxi Duxi.

I threw my Snowball microphone in my backpack, thinking of how there was still 2 hours of daylight left, and entertaining thoughts of sitting in City Park to shoot another in the series of so far ill-fated "City Park" videos.

Then, halfway to the Uxi, I remembered that I had concluded that recording the musical portion in the studio takes precedence over obtaining more footage of myself in the park. With the possible exception of footage of myself singing something so well that it would find its way onto the video as the "lead" voice.
But this also is fraught with the peril of my wavering in the beat of the song -I might sing the line well and then slow up almost imperceptibly in between a couple chords here and there; which would mean that the snare drum player would have to be a mind reader, in a sense, to know just when to "retard," or the song would have to be taken a few measures at a time and run through repeatedly so that the snare player gets a feel for how the next few beats are going to lag a bit and then come back into more strict time.

So, recording video in the park was out.

I need to obtain some kind of metronome. A metronome application on my smart phone might be the easiest way to go; perhaps I could download a free one.
Then, I could have the steady "tick-tick-tick" of it coming through earbuds as I sit in the park and could just play at will, adhering to the pulse, so that 127 additional voices could then be added to it in the studio, all using the same tempo as a guide.

I got an e-mail from a lady who is now married to a Russian guy, who, when a child was "almost" adopted by John J. Tulip.

She thinks I am the steward of a "Tulip Blog," having somehow found my story about him here.

So, she e-mailed The Tulip Blog with this interesting document.
of which the above is an excerpt.
Vintage Tulip; he denied ever committing the crime; and insists that his future lies in the rewarding field of day trading, for which he would need a computer with Internet access; and, oh yeah one that has no tracking software on it, because of all the money (but never nude pictures of teen aged boys) that is going to be transferred over it.
"How am I going to pursue happines and live my American Dream of becoming a day trader without a secure and private computer with no kind of monitoring software on it?!?"
I love the judge's rhetorical question of: "Why the hell are you trying to get into a business that requires Internet usage, when one of the stipulations of your release from jail is that you don't touch a computer with a 50 foot pole, Tulip??"

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Don't Call Me Dunk!

Yes, and so...
"Am I Ever Familiar With You!?!"

As precariously laid are my plans to travel, as is the triple deck-er that I rigged up this afternoon.

Cleansing was an idea that seemed to resonate, and so, I finally hoisted the two upper tables onto the lower one, giving me an excuse to wipe them all down real good while I had everything off them.

I had forgotten the bag of kitty litter at the Family Dollar, perhaps because the manager had snapped at me "I don't disrespect you!" after I had told her that the machine was telling me "Waiting for cashier," and then adding, for humor's sake: "It say's: Waiting for Dunk."

She had "dunk" (lower case intentional) tatooed on one of her robust black arms. She is a squat kind of solidly built black lady probably around 45 years old.

I had thought it would be funny (and kind poking fun at how technologically driven society is becoming) if the machine, were to read on its screen: "Here we go waitin' for ol' dunk again, Daniel; Sorry," or something similar.

So, I left the 7 pound bag of kitty litter sitting by the register on my way out. My mind was racing with ways that I could be non-reactive to the thought structure which I could have taken personally.

"Am I familiar with you?!?" she had barked at me.

Then she informed me that the tattoo was "personal" and that she considered that to be off limits to Family Dollar customers, I guess.

She basically was telling me to please not refer to her as "dunk," and that she would be alright with that -alright going back to being the manager of the dollar store who won't be "familiar" toward me.

That is fine with me, except I forgot the litter.

I still did the tables and swept the rug. I am envisioning, and subconsciously preparing for Wayne, my neighbor, letting himself in to put food and water out for Harold, for a few weeks, whom he might then lock inside for "the night" or let back outside.

The former would require that Harold's litter box be maintained, though. A dollar bag of litter every 4 days, times about 7, that would be.

I know that I am subconsciously preparing myself for the trip.

I went out last (Monday) night and was able to make 28 bucks on a, well, on a Monday night. And, I had gotten there at the decent time of about 10:30 PM, I recall.

I woke up thinking that I had socked away enough for one full-fledged day off.
I had bought a sack of kratom from The Unique Grocery in the heart of the hood which is the Canal and Royal Street section. It is where, like a kingsnake, David the Water Jug Player will live his entire life within 50 yards of.

That location is where I discovered kratom about 14 months ago now, after having asked "What is that stuff?' of the mid 20's, intelligent Egyptian cashier who works there.

He is a college student, yet can be seen working behind the register of The Unique Grocery at so many odd hours of a given week, he must have to study back there in between customers, or not sleep much.

As intelligent as the guy is who, if David is to be believed, works 12 hours a day for 5 dollars an hour, in exchange for room and board, and room and board (on floors right above The Unique Grocery, how cool is that?) he is just as industrious. That is one of the byproducts of being devoutly religious and sober all the time.

If you think about it: What is Joe Blow going to have spent 88% of his paycheck on, after the dust clears, if not things that could fall under the category of "room and board?"

Even buying a new freezer, so he can save money by buying meat by the frozen chunk, gets put under "room and board" on my ledger, at least.

Working for 5 dollars an hour, yet having no bills at all, versus making a decent 12 bucks an hour, and forking over 20 hours a weeks worth of it, to the landlady, well, that puts you at just one dollar per hour over the Egyptian, who is probably having his college education provided for, somehow.

People must be willing to invest in young, bright, non smoking, not drinking, non kratom taking young men, who demonstrate their willingness to delay the gratification of being a college degree holding, much more than 5 dollar an hour making, guy.

So, it was with some mirth that I explained to the Egyptian guy, whom I've seen almost every night of my life the past 6 years, that a "shot" of kratom, as dispensed at the Uxi Duxi, is based upon the powdered weight (5 gm.) of the kratom involved, regardless of how much liquid it is dissolved in.

After I told him that 10 of the capsules in the kratom that they sell there would make for "one shot" of it, he seemed to cling to the notion that 10 capsules would therefore yield "50ml" of kratom.

If kratom bars wanted to follow alcoholic bars' convention, then they might indeed serve kratom in that thick muddy sludge-like preparation which would come from dissolving 5 grams in only 50 milliliters of water.

The truth is that a lot of it sinks to the bottom, no matter how much water it has to sink through. Now that I think of it, capsule form is probably the way to go when consuming kratom, swallowed down with a beverage that you really enjoy, like freshly pressed apple juice.

Once you break the capsules open then the race is on to disguise or bury the greenish-blue flavor of the stuff.

Chocolate works.

Teas are popular, with some sort of citrus fruit added.

I read somewhere that citric acid helps to "kick in" the kratom. The same website, though, had information about making a preparation of kratom and Deet, the mosquito repellent stuff, with maybe even some grapefruit juice squeezed in for good measure, to turn it into a pseudo heroin, for those more adventurous souls. And, of course you can poison yourself if you're not a very good chemist.

I had American Spirit cigarettes and a good chunk of weed, 32.5 grams of "maeng da" kratom, a half gallon of "Simply Apple," the best juice under the sun (for which I rationalized that the almost 5 bucks I spent on it would take care of the entire "food" category, as it was my intention to embark upon a juice fast, which might turn into a water fast) and I had air in my bike tires. What was lacking?, I might have wondered.

Right, or above, depending upon your browser: The work of "Jim," who is an artist who displays along the gate in front of the clock on the steeple of St. Joseph's Catholic Church. I wondered, when I saw this if that was in fact, Lilly in the red dress with the white spots. Jim is right along Lillian's route, and has undoubtedly seen her a thousand times.
He didn't recognize the name of Lilly, though, and so couldn't confirm or deny if that is Lilly. Lilly is a prettier in the face than the woman depicted, but there is a resemblance. She traces her roots from the north of Spain all the way up to wherever Celtic people hail from.

The effect of the juice fast, which I had in effect began that morning after having had only apple juice that whole day, was almost instantaneous.

I had the feeling that I was not going to wake up the next morning with a knot in my upper back between the shoulder blades and the neck -one which would tighten to the point that I would become aware enough of it to consciously take a deep breath and try to relax, as soon as certain thoughts crossed my mind.

Thoughts like: "This is the pit that they are going to find my dead body in if I die in my sleep tonight," you know, just regular ol' thoughts. Regular for the guy who goes hog-wild with his diet before laying down to sleep, perhaps.

But, I think, not for the guy who just has apple juice the evening before.
I woke up with no stiffness or pain in the previously described area, and there were no pessimistic thoughts beating at the door to my mind.

I had weakened towards the morning hours and eaten a can of sweet corn (so I could satisfy a sudden urge for salt, by adding it) and about half a can of "beans," pinto, I believe.
 "You know I'll feed Harold!,"
I ran into Wayne, my neighbor at the back door who said: "You know I'll feed Harold!," as if there never should have been any doubt, after I told him of my upcoming journey.

I might just let him have my key and even tell him that it's OK if he lets anyone crash there in exchange of a bit of rent (I can picture him, who seems pretty adept socially, being at a party and saying: "Look, if you need a couch to crash on for a couple nights, etc" to someone, especially an attractive woman) which might compensate him even further for doing litter box detail. I've known him for like 4 years and trust him.

So, that takes care of Harold.

I need to try to get him to the discount veterinarian that Wayne told me about, about his skin problems. He has scaly bumps on his skin which detach themselves along with a bit of fir if scratched off. There doesn't seem to be any pain involved, as Harold will mimic the action of cleaning himself, bitting gently upon the hand that I'm using to rake off the little scabs, as if getting some relief out of it.

Wayne's World

Wayne sits in his apartment behind his computer with headphones on and works for hours giving technical support to people who have bought Apple products and don't know how to use them.

Assuming it's 12 bucks an hour he is making, he is probably bringing in enough money to warrant his incurring the burden of some of his rent payment being taken out of it.

I would perhaps work 8 hours a day, and have to pay some of my rent, if the result would be my putting a grand in my pocket each month. Otherwise, I would rather take my chances busking. The putting of 250 dollars a week in my pocket regularly is just a little further down the yellow brick road.

Excerpt From "How To Succeed at Busking in New Orleans:"

I haven't even approached it (busking) in the manner of how it would be advised to do in some "How to succeed in busking in New Orleans," book that I might write some day.

That would be to get out onto Royal Street and do whatever you do, but at 90 decibels in volume. Using myself as an example, I would be in the market for the same one dollar out of every 13 tourists, using the same formula that I calculated based upon 7 years of Lilly Pad data.

And, there would be 10 times as many tourists, in the literal sense, and so, at first glance, I would be looking at making 180 dollars an hour.

Now, that is right around the amount where my "educated" guess at how much Tanya and Dorise used to make, falls.

Now, I might be having the same effect upon the tourists at the Lilly Pad, under my homemade spotlight, and perhaps appearing homeless, as Tanya and Dorise were having by dazzling and enthralling groups of 40 people who waited with bated breath for Tanya's next note, and then made the ancillary observation that it is nice to see a black girl and a Chinese girl in such harmony with one another, and how only God could have wrought such a union, etc.

I basically think my best tips come from individuals who might be trying to encourage me to think on a much grander scale ("Look, kid, there's money out there. They don't call this the Big Easy for nothing. Look, I'm loaded with it. How does it feel be be handed a hundred dollar bill; feels good, right? You ain't gettin' nowhere playing for these trash barrels. Get yourself some clothes and an amplifier, go knocking on the doors of some of these clubs. That hundred I gave you is nothing to me! You should be thinking like that!" type of thing) and who interact with me on a one-to-one level. That is the kind of work that pays as well as Tanya and Dorise were making.

But, alas, I only get it every 11 months, according to my last calculation. I might have to adjust that rate to one tip of 100 dollars or more every 7 months. I think I've gotten better over just the past year, and can do so.

At 30 hours per week that is a 100+ dollar tip every 200 hours...

But, obviously, I wouldn't have the trash barrels working in my favor, on Royal Street.

I honestly think that if I were to arrive on Royal Street, able to perform at 90 decibels (or whatever good and loud would be) and did it for 3 hours, during the daytime, when Royal Street becomes the lit up (by the sun) attraction that Bourbon Street mimics at night with its neon, I would average 30 dollars an hour. That's my gut feeling tempered by experience.

Or, I could open a bank account, using the social security number of a dead person, and then get the same kind of job as my neighbor Wayne, and....

But then the "Carcass Song" would go unheard, never mind.

Right now I have missed the closing of The Family Dollar, where still waits that bag of kitty litter.

I grabbed a bottle of dish soap and one of hair conditioner (ocean breeze scented) and a roll of toilet paper while forgetting it yesterday. Having made 230 dollars the past 5 days was good. It has "Take your trip to New England" written all over it.

I wonder if I can do highway ramps along the way. I don't see why not. I learned how to select the right ones, while in Florida.

The ideal ones have a wall right behind the busker, and have an average of 6 cars contained with each turning of a light to red.

Most likely the busker is standing on a patch of dirt that the sign holders have worn bare. It is even advisable that the busker wait for the sign holder to take some kind of break and then jump on the spot and start wailing upon the most anthem-like piece of music in his repertoire.

The outpouring of "at least you're doing something, not just standing there holding a sign," I have found to be quite evident, when I did that kind of thing in Jacksonville, Florida and even in Saint Augustine, where I tripled the income that I might have expected to make in the "historic" areas where tourists go, and where buskers are "supposed" to be.

I suppose, when the people in the vehicles are seeing you for the first time, instead of seeing the few skeezers that they have been seeing every day, they can romanticize things like, the guy ran out of gas and is going to rock and roll his way out of trouble, the way Elvis would have, or just that the guy has some important gig to be at somewhere and they want to vicariously touch that audience of people. If they only knew that the concert might not have happened if it wasn't for the 50 bucks I helped the guy out with...type of thing.

Caveat Busker

A good chunk of that money, though, came from people who would roll down their windows and listen for a few seconds before tooting their horn and holding a bill out the window -so, it helps if you can actually play the sign that looks like a guitar. 

By then, I will hopefully have made more use of my smart phone and will be able to post up little video segments from along the way. I am 3 songs into a special repertoire intended for the entertainment of certain people whom I might see while up there.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Money, Check.

  • 125 Dollar Thursday
  • 25 Dollar Friday
  • 50 Dollar Saturday

As the time for me to hop out on the road and make my way to New England nears, the practical side of my brain has started to compile a checklist with items such as:

  • Buy a month's supply of cat food for Harold the cat.

This, I could give to my neighbor, Wayne.

I might even give him the key to my place, so Harold could come inside to eat and then sleep in the air conditioned environment of my apartment, rather than being outside all the time...

  • Ask Wayne if he would even do this.

  • Order the set of tuning machines for the Takamine guitar, so that I can take that, rather than the Epiphone with me.
  • Post the Epiphone for sale on Craigslist, priced to sell within the next few weeks ($80).
  • Maybe embark upon a water fast, so that, at the time I leave I will be happily consuming fresh fruit and vegetable juices, rather than sampling, say, the pizza in Savannah, Georgia, or the burgers in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Aside from making me sleepy and leading me to take a naps in parks with my guitar tied to my backpack and my backpack tied to my arm, those kind of heavy foods, consumed under the circumstances of being out on the road, could start me back drinking, after 28 months sober.

The wine bottles in stores look better to me when I am hungry and contemplating a splendid meal. But, when I am sustaining myself on wheatgrass juice in the evening and apple juice in the morning, wine would ruin that "feeling."

Last night marked the return to the sane diet of whiting fish fried in olive oil with vegetables, and the end of The Baking Age.

I had really gotten into mixing flour and eggs and sugar and oil or butter and maybe peanut butter, raisins and/or cocoa -and then throwing it into a 375 degree oven and letting it rip.

These pancakes, cup cakes, cookies and other assorted loaves became addictive in a way.

There were also times when, rationalizing to myself that I was in a hurry (and not wanting to wait for the low fat high protein meal of baked fish to materialize) I would be eating, within seconds, Raisin Bran in coconut milk slathered in honey off of a spoon that had a gob of peanut butter stuck to it.

This kind of diet made it so the soreness in my wrists after a night of hard playing would set in and ache for an extra day or so, rather than being fine the next morning after 5 minutes of warming up.

I suppose I should order the set of tuning machines for the Takamine, after I Google my particular model to see if I can order exact replacements for them, while I have the wi-fi connection here at the Uxi Duxi.

The Shopping Bug
...has bitten me, and I have on the way a new set of tuning machines.
These are raved about by the dozen or so people who have reviewed them on the MusiciansFriend website; this is good enough for me.
At almost 50 bucks, I can expect them to perform at the level of the ones that are already on the Takamine.
It has been humbling and slightly embarrassing to have been playing the Epiphone and to have knocked a string out of tune in the middle of a song but continued.
And, while I was at it, I almost grabbed one of these recorders; apparently made by the same people who make the tuning machines.
I guess they are both just a matter of conforming to specifications.
I have been thinking about adding another sound to my home recordings, with a Casio keyboard being at the top of my wish list.
But, a poignant recorder melody at just the right spot in The Carcass Song, for example, might be cool.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Beautiful Day For A Hurricane

There were a couple of drops of rain falling out of an otherwise pretty sunny sky with only a few clouds, as I stepped out into the 90 degree parking lot at about 2:30 PM.

I had the hundred dollar bill that I had gotten as a tip on what otherwise would have been a 25 dollar Thursday night.

I had played for almost an hour and had only one dollar in my basket, and had resigned myself to the possibility that it might be a one dollar night altogether when the floodgates kind of opened with one group coming along out of which a guy asked me if he could take pictures of me, who threw a few bucks in, and then a couple more 5 dollar bills appearing after each of a couple songs that I was doing for the love of it, not trying to guess what people might like.

But, in the naked light of day, the hundred dollar bill looked suspect. Sure, I could see Ben Franklin when I held it up to the light, but the blue plastic band had broken in a couple places and the paper was peeling back in a spot where it should have been under the blue plastic band. It appeared that the band had been adhered to it after the paper had peeled. And, aren't the new 100 dollar bills made of a plastic-like substance that wouldn't peel? I wondered.

But, it passed the pen and ink test at the dollar store and I put 90 dollars on my green American Express card. Now, I can order tuning machines for the Takamine, and I guess, list the Epiphone on Craigslist at 85 dollars (bought brand new for a hundred and only played like hell for 5 nights, type of thing...).

And this signals the beginning of the preparations for making a busking trip to New England to see family and friends. The 92 degree temperatures are another signal...

The video above is what I encountered as I stepped out of GNC on my way, I thought, to the Uxi Duxi.
I wound up waiting an hour for it to stop and then getting soaked from head to toe after my patience wore out...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mothers, Don't Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Buskers

I woke up the next morning, after having ended the evening putting the final "touches" on this video, feeling depressed, I recall.

I knew what was waiting for me when I hit play.

The images of the park are nice -a nice place to perform a dirge.

And, why don't I say that I was going for a Wizard of Oz thing, with the black and white intro bursting into color. Sure.

I should have made this a multi-day project, not proceeding past step one until I could play and sing the whole song through. But, in my haste to slap some effects on it, add a shaker (a plastic harmonica case with popcorn kernels inside -yeah, it separated about half way through the song and I had to finish with a less-corn-inside shaker sound) and be done with it.

To pass it like a hard stool. LOL!

I realize that I could be damaging my "brand" by releasing this under my real name, now that my smartphone is connecting my stuff to anyone who Googles the right terms on theirs.

But, I am hoping someone is going to say: "Wow, you really got video making down to a science!" about a year or two from now...

The whole message of the song, which happens to be a verse that I forgot to sing, has the lines:
"And so, help them with your youth,
That they can see the truth, before they can die"
And, underneath that line and in counterpoint to it are the nice Mrs. Nash and Crosby singing:

"We can live in peace..."
That is, of course the "truth" that the Woodstock-tested youth, in between lugging out trash and mowing lawns for, are called upon to teach their war-mongering parents:
"We can live in peace."
Or at least make sure our wars are actually stopping something evil.

I think the harmonica and guitar sections came out well. Those were played live in the park, and were trying to sound like a bayou swamp.

I am thinking that I have learned enough through the experience to be able to make my next video a lot better.

For one thing: It is very hard to watch your lips on a video screen and then try to sing right along with them.
Not unless you keep time very rigidly in your singing.

I remember seeing a video of Simon and Garfunkle singing "Mrs. Robinson" in Central Park, New York, and noticing how their notes fell so exactly on the beat; it was just short of sounding choppy, or like they were rapping.

I'm sure this is because Simon and Garfunkle were probably just re-acquainting themselves with each other, after having each agreed to do the Central Park concert, and each probably flown in a couple weeks in advance of it so they could see each other for the first time in 7 years, run through their material and do sound checks, etc.

It was most likely concluded that, if they sang all the syllables, machine-gun style, right on the beat then they would be able to stay together a lot easier than if, say, Paul Simon had a wild hare and wanted to substitute Gary Jeter for Joe DiMaggio for crowd response.

Then Garfunkle would have to be consulted before they went on stage and brought up to date, so that he wouldn't be holding a "Joe" under the "Gary" being sung by Simon. That would result in raggedness (see "Teach Your Children" video above for a more elaborate example of raggedness).

So, you're darned tootin' that on my next attempt of making a video, I am going to make sure that the original track is sung in a more robotic, bordering on choppy, and as if rapping over a beat, style.

And, the music should be recorded first.

I would be better off sitting in the park, with invisible earbuds playing the music that is going to be on the video; and shooting a video of myself strumming and singing along, not caring what I sound like, just staying in time, instead of shooting the video first.

That way, as long as my lips are in time with that music, they will be able to be matched up later.
And, then I could do mobile shots, using my cellphone and always singing to the soundtrack, coming through an earbud. Yup, instant interesting video.

Now I understand why a lot of stuff on MTV avoids showing the actual production of the tracks you are hearing. Unless it is a live concert.

Otherwise, it is easy to take a shot of a guy sitting up in his bed and gazing out a window, while the lyrics underscore it "Every morning, I wake up and look out my window..." type of thing, LOL.

And that doesn't have to be synchronized with the music much at all. Who cares if the shot goes from his grief-stricken face with the reflection of the window in his eyes to the shot of the girl holding an umbrella in the rain at exactly such a time.

Or the, guy can just sit up in slow motion so he doesn't really have to follow the beat either. I'm just figuring out the little tricks.

I can only vouch for the harmonica/guitar parts in the above posted video. That was just barely enough to prevent me from sending it to trash. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

It's All There

The spare bike has been sold, with enough left of the proceeds to order a set of strings or two to be here by the weekend.
Fixing the Takamine (shown) looks like it will require that I buy a full set of 6 tuning machines, for around 40 bucks. At least that way they will all match. The Epiphone doesn't stay in tune quite as well as the Takamine, which I might have tuned 3 times during a typical 2 and a half hour gig.
I was really hoping to find an individual machine for under 10 bucks that I could order and be playing the Takamine again by the weekend; I still might check e-bay, which I didn't.
Other than that, it is a Tuesday afternoon, and either I go to the park to shoot another video or do something else.
I spent a few hours writing yesterday's story about the Rhonda Harris drawing that I chanced upon on St. Claude Avenue.
Apparently she never tried to make a name for herself as an artist, or if she did, Google doesn't know it.
Last night, I seemed to be doing well, focusing upon the inner space that animates all forms -I'm almost to the end of the current Eckhart Tolle book that I'm reading- and I felt like I was about to make some kind of breakthrough, maybe wake up in an awesome world as if out of a dream...
But, Harold the cat was hanging back, rather than trying to rush through the open door to get in as I held it open to push my bike through, so I left him outside.
Even when 2:30 AM rolled around and I had fallen asleep listening to the Yes "The Ladder" album and then woken up again, I left him out.
I think I was trying to teach him that I'm not going to stand there holding the door open for him while he pauses to stare at something, as if the armadillo that I've seen around the parking lot is on the prowl and he doesn't want to miss a move.
Well, the time is now to go shoot a video in the park. Some of that footage will find its way onto a video.
My goal is just to capture some good singing.
I recently read about how Joni Mitchell "lost" the top octave of her singing voice at a certain age (I think she is near 80 years old now) and how she blamed it on vocal nodes and constricted windpipe (not smoking, though) and it bothers me that the last time I thought that I was singing as well as I can was a couple of years ago.
I've been blaming it on the restricted windpipe that comes with being paranoid about expressing oneself emotionally when he feels like the weirdos that live in his building are pressing their ear outside the door, trying to figure out what ol' whiteboy is in there singing about (it surely ain't about helpin' a nigga out!) type of thing.
Enter the park.
I think I will. Ta ta for now.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Girl Number Three

3 Dollar Sunday
I left the Uxi Duxi before the sun was down and began to head for the Wal-Mart on Gentilly Road, which, by the map looked about the same distance as the one on Tchoupitoulous, but was a straight shot rather than the maze of potholes along the way to the latter store.
She's been here!

I had my guitar and all my busking stuff on me, as well as my crescent wrench.
They had cheap, probably flimsy tubes for $4.44 (I love Wal-Mart's departure from the normal practice of rounding prices to the nearest whatever; if they can save you 12 cents on an item over another outlet's price then they will price it at at $8.68, for instance -I wish the Uxi Duxi had just raised their price on a shot of kratom from 3 dollars to $3.33 or something, instead of going up to the next buck; they are probably afraid of pennies in that scenario, though) and they had "heavy duty" tubes, guaranteed to be 80% thicker than regular tubes for $5.96 (there you go, again) and I decided to go with that tube, even though I was going to get the same 40 dollars for the bike regardless of how much money I put into it.
I did this because of having met Candy and liking her enough to not want her to get a flat tire.

Shortcut To The Past

Leaving the Gentilly Wal-Mart, I couldn't resist trying to find a shortcut to Lilly's house, where the candy red bike was being kept. I already knew the way that I had come in, and so why not try to cut some distance off by trying a different way back?

I saw Elesian Fields Road, which I knew eventually would wind its way over a bridge and to within 3 blocks of Lilly's house.

I took that way and eventually ran into St. Claude Street, which I knew turned into Rampart, which also ran within 3 blocks of Lilly's on the other side.

It was along that route that I came across the artwork in the picture. I had seen it before on the Facebook page of a girl that I was kind of almost "involved with" when I was 19 years old.

Rhonda Harris is her name. She is most notable as being an artist, and had one of her oil paintings hanging in the JFK Museum in Washington, D.C., or in Philadelphia...I can't remember...the name of the museum or the city..but...By the time she was 17.

Rhonda was what would now be called "bi-polar" and struggled emotionally, with fits of laughing being followed by bouts of crying, alternately.

A lot of guys would overlook such a thing based upon the beauty of Rhonda. She was the first "pretty enough to be a Playboy centerfold" girl who had come within 50 feet of me in my life, who wasn't holding a pole.

The fact was that Rhonda was in love with my best friend, Ted, a "prettyboy" drummer in a band at the time.

Prettyboy + 36 Years =
Her interest in me was largely connected to that obsession, no matter how ingenuous her approach to it was. We had a lot of 3 hour long phone conversations, leading her to wish that I had Ted's looks, or that he had my personality. We had a pretty intimate, platonic relationship.

I had my own baggage -didn't think I was worthy of such a gem, or was hearing the calling to where I am now, even then.

Having a wife and kids would most likely have obscured any dreams of ever becoming Street Musician Daniel, and I think I sensed that at a deeply subconscious level.

It was flattering to be seen with this knockout chick by my side, if only the people knew that we weren't having sex, though, but were rather having her crying on my shoulder about the way my friend Ted (right) just didn't think of her in "that" way (He noticed her beauty and its provocativeness to the eye, but was put off by her passionless lovemaking "She just lays there," I recall was his complaint).

I was thinking of her in "that" way, as I wrung tears out my tee shirts, and was quite smitten by her at one point.* I should have been crying, too, I suppose. If only I was Ted... but that's life -been going on forever, the girl needing something from a guy, just not sex...The guy who has this really hot friend, but they never "do" anything. A cliche, that.

A weasel-like high school "friend" of mine, Peter Dion, wound up stealing the girl from me, though. More on that in a minute...

Rhonda's artwork was pretty amazing, as per the picture shown; she "specialized" in buildings and other things that had faces, almost a caricaturist in that regard -a winking cottage, a crying skyscraper with the tears falling as rain upon goofy looking people on the street who are holding umbrellas with confused looks on their (the umbrella's) faces, type of thing...

Peter Dion

Peter Dion was a high school "friend" of mine whom I think used me as a measuring stick.

Like a person in a group of people at the starting line of a race, who looks around for someone who they see as being close to their equal. Then he thinks: "I'm gonna try to match myself against this guy. It will probably be an interesting race between us; neither one of us is gonna win the whole thing, those Kenyans are freaks, but this will make it interesting."

It becomes side action to the race: How do I feel? Do have much left in me? What was my time at the half-way point? How far ahead of me is the leader? And...Where's my buddy with the black and yellow sneakers?

Some guys run marathons with the primary goal of at least beating all the women who enter the race. "At least I beat all the women!" can boast the guy who came in with a time like 2 hours and 33 minutes.

Peter Dion befriended me, somehow, out of nowhere it seems, probably by looking around the high school class and deciding he was going to try to match himself against my accomplishments, and then began to keep tabs on me.

Pete: "What did you get on the Lit test?"

Me: "An 83."

Pete: "Oh, I got an 88, hmm hmm hmm," with a smug grin and suppressed giggle, inner satisfaction written all over his face, or:
Yeah, that's her style...

Pete: "Hmm, I only got a 77," with clenched fists and, not quite suppressed, anger and a slightly red face, type of thing.

When we ran track together, Peter found his niche astride me throughout the 3 miles, or whatever, that we might be running after school.

And, I would talk a lot as we ran, getting pretty philosophical, I recall now.

I was a pretty philosophical high school freshman, talking about changing the world, et al.

Pete was measuring himself against me, making sure that he could at least match my pace.

He would be saving his mad-dash-to-the-tape for when it counted. For when the eyes of all 45 members of each track team plus their coaching staff (nobody in the bleachers) were upon us. Then Pete might ruminate: "He talks a lot of good philosophy, but I just smoked his ass over the last tenth-mile!"

It may have been that Pete enjoyed close competition, knew he could never keep up with the leaders, and had chosen Daniel McKenna as his standard.

It might also have been the case that he had such low self esteem and was made so miserable by being bested by anyone that he had adjusted his goals from the pinnacle, downward, until he reached Daniel McKenna, somewhere in the middle. I was about a 75 on a scale of 100 as a runner (My best mile ever was a 5:03).

When the senior class was assembled for the annual ceremony of presenting awards to outstanding students, it was probably no accident that I found the seat to my left to be occupied by none other than a tight-lipped Peter Dion.

I had told him that I thought I might get the Physical Science trophy, as I had held an A average the whole year, and couldn't think of any obvious future rocket scientists among the rest of that class.

Peter could smell the "Literature" trophy, for similar reasons.

There never was a Physical Science trophy presented -skipped right over the category- as the instructor was averse to the distinguishing of any one student as being "above" the rest, as he explained later. I really didn't care. Though, I would have gotten it, I think. Pete.

There was a Literature trophy awarded, though.

It went to....the envelope please....Paul Grautski!

"Hmph, and didn't get your Physical Science award!" was out of Peter's mouth to me before "Grautski" had even stopped reverberating in the large auditorium.

I guess Pete had been hoping that I wouldn't get mine, but he would get his, so he could let loose with a year culminating suppressed giggle, and put me in my place, having taken 4 full years to do it.

When I started to hang around with Rhonda -this was a couple years after our graduation- Peter, from out of nowhere it seemed, soon found a niche beside me.

We knew a lot of the same people, of course, but Pete certainly hadn't met Rhonda through Ted, like I had, at least not directly. It had been by attending a party that Rhonda had thrown at her house on a night when her parents were away.

She had made sure, for one thing, that I was invited, and that Ted's sister, Betsy, and as many of his other friends were also, and this might have included Dion, -he may have gotten in just by being a classmate of Ted's, as she seemed to have been going for as many of them as she could get.

And, yes, that all worked, because Ted was there.

Dion was able to lay his eyes upon Rhonda at that time, up close, made up to the max and dressed to kill. He may even have gotten to see her sitting in the easy-chair in the living room crying at some point shortly after Ted had left.

But, it think it was the introduction of Daniel McKenna on the scene which was like a bugle call to Pete.

If he saw my car parked in front of her house, for instance, we would be joined by him just a knock on a door and a "Good evening, Mr. Harris, is Rhonda at home?" later.

He would enter her room, with the "I only got a 77" look on his face, dart his eyes at me, and would then proceed to unabashedly try to one-up me upon anything I said.

"Yeah, I got up at 5 this morning and ran my 5 mile coarse," I might say to Rhonda.

"I was up at 4, and ran 10 miles," would Peter then say, without missing a beat. It was comical.

"Our seats for the Cars show are in the 23rd row..."

"Mine are in the 12th row..." type of thing.

Maybe his philosophy was that I was just saying "anything" to try to impress Rhonda, and his response was to the effect of: "I can do that too!" (or, I can do that one more time than Daniel McKenna, at least).

The closer I appeared to be to this Beauty, the more Peter Dion seemed to surmise that if she could be interested in me, then....well, we were always kind of like equals, right?

All he needed was to keep pace with me, and then make his mad dash near the finish line.

And dash, he did!

Rhonda began to show me multi paged, handwritten love letters that she had received from him. One of them began something like: "George Bernard Shaw once said that a women's beauty is like...blah blah blah" I recall. But the letters were going to Rhonda's heart like daggers, I could see her buckling under them. That Shaw can bring it!

The citation of great writers, dogged determination, and the unremitting desire to finish ahead of Daniel McKenna at all costs eventually led to Rhonda Harris becoming Rhonda Harris Dion. I kind of feel responsible for anything that their children or grandchildren might do in that sense. Their marriage was consummated probably 2 years after I was forbidden to Rhonda.

I Am Out Of The Way

Rhonda had severed ties with me by 1984 (returning a cassette of my music that I had sent to her from Texas with "Return to sender" scrawled upon it in what looked suspiciously like Peter Dion's penmanship) in large part because the shrink that she was seeing (Our daughter cries for 10 minutes and then laughs for 10 minutes, Doctor, what do you charge for that?) condemned our relationship as being toxic to her; as she had been using me as a proxy to my friend Ted, and I guess it was decided that being around me was dredging up too many hurtful feelings within her.

She may have felt afraid when she was around me -afraid that I would tell her something like: "Ted met this Asian girl at Cathay Island, and they're going out tonight..."

She had come to my house and picked me up one night, and then showed me marks on her wrist where she had cut herself, and even showed me a puddle of blood on the floorboard of her Mustang, which was steamy and had a metallic smell inside it, as if to prove that it was blood.

She had done this, most assuredly, so that the news of it would reach Ted through his best friend, Daniel, and that that worthy would, I guess, realize the depth of her love for him (excuse the pun) and would start loving her back before she killed herself altogether.
My past has followed me down the river...

So, I somehow became taboo, ...Don't kill me, I'm only the messenger!... forbidden to her by her shrink (who, at one point tried to rape her on the couch, but that's another story. Of course he did, anyone who reads today's news might conclude that every guy has such a skeleton in his closet. A beautiful, troubled and vulnerable 19 year old laying on the couch of a gangling, awkward "academic" bookworm type of guy. What's professionalism got to do with it? But, again, that's another story).

For my part, I was ready to relinquish her to a guy who apparently wanted her more, in the words of George Bernard Shaw, and was willing to tell blatant lies to get her. My father may also have sat me down to have that little father to son "wrist slitting girls" talk, since he could see that I was ready for it.

Rhonda, gullible as she might have been, somehow bought Mr. Dion, hook line and sinker, telling me at one point: "I think that Peter could really change things..."

Yes, Peter Dion looked out at the world, and saw "change." OK, the back of the line is over by that tree, Pete, better get take your spot now, before Daniel jumps on it.

So, Peter was talking about changing the world, and Rhonda fell in love with him. I wonder how much of it was stuff he had gotten from me during our 3 mile jogs...

It was only a couple years ago that I became curious enough to Google Rhonda's name (I chuckled when I saw "Dion" appended to it...really?) and saw the drawing of the umbrella girl on her Facebook page.

Girl Number Three

Karrie Porras, my girlfriend of 2009 showed up here in New Orleans, out of nowhere. Xanna, my girlfriend of 2002, I saw flying a sign on Carrolton Street just a couple weeks ago, on the way back from the Guitar Center after Bobby had bought me a guitar a lot like the one that Xanna had given me as a birthday gift when I was dating her.

And now "Oh, my God, she's been here!" another piece of my past life has been drawn here (excuse the pun) as to a magnet.

I realize that New Orleans is a common destination for a lot of people, almost everybody winds up coming here at least once, but I never would have guessed, back in 1982, that 36 years after sitting in Rhonda's bedroom watching her draw, I would see one of her works while on my way to sell a bicycle to a trans-sexual named Candy.

*I posted a "Rhonda" video here about a year ago probably, with images of my artwork and random others as background -yup, same Rhonda.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hurry While Supplies Last!!

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Introducing....the Liquidator-96! 

Why am I sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, Mother's Day, doing this blog when I should be hopping on my bike, riding 4 miles to Wal-Mart to buy a bike tube and back, then bringing the tube and a wrench over to Lilly's, fixing a tire, then wheeling the bike to the Hotel Monteleone garage to inflate the tire, then riding it 3 blocks to where the Chris Owens club is to sell it to Candy for 40 dollars?
Because I'm lazy, and would rather sit and do this right now.

I got a call from "Candy," about the bike that I had listed on Craigslist for $35.
"If you wait, someone will call and offer you the full price," Tim my caseworker had told me after I had told him that someone called almost immediately after I had posted the bike for sale, offering me only 20 dollars.
I had asked Tim about this because Tim is a frequent user of Craigslist and will check the listings for "free stuff" as he drives around the city, just in case there is something for free right around the corner from him that he can grab.
"Is it common for someone to call right away with a low-ball offer, hoping that the seller is a drug addict who needs money -just enough to quell the shakes would be fine- and will jump at the offer?," I asked Tim.

It dawned upon me that this would be another good business to get into, with a little bit of capital to make it work -monitor the Craigslist postings and call each and every one of them offering about half of what they are asking, then, using the same ad and picture, but with the seller changed to yourself, list it back on there at the original price. (Then reject the initial offers of about half that price that you might get from people intending to do just as you are).

I'm sure that it has been thought of, within a half hour of Craigslist having gone online whenever they did. And I would bet that Alex in California would tell me that the legwork involved in running around picking up things up and then storing them, plus the cost of shipping etc. would be prohibitive.

Although Tim did say that he had grabbed a free bookcase once that wound up not matching the rest of his furniture or something, that he wound up selling for $90 to someone. On Craigslist...

I told Candy that I would be able to ride the bike into the Quarter -"That's good, because I'm on the bus," to show it to her.
"At least that way, if I don't take it, you'll be able to ride it home," she added.

What could go wrong? I thought, but then remembered the karma surrounding the bike -how I had taken it from Howard and thanked him profusely, telling him the white lie of: "A bike will start saving me $2.50 a day on street car fares," without mentioning that I was already saving that amount by riding the Specialized bike that I had bought while he and Berta were still in the process of searching for one to give me for Christmas.

I had sold the bike once already, to Rose and Ed, who were subsequently evicted from Sacred Heart Apartments, and who returned it to the spot where it was in my way when I wanted to water my plants or vacuum the rug.

By the time I got to Clairborne Street, about three quarters of the way to the Chris Owens club where Candy told me she "was," the back tire on the bike had deflated to the point where I got off it and started to push it the rest of the way. I had texted "15 min e.t.a." to Candy right before the tire started going flat.
Had Rose ridden the thing and gotten a flat but never told me about it? No, I don't think so.

I got to the corner of Bourbon and St. Louis streets after having pushed the bike past Tanya Huang, feeling her: "You got a flat tire on your bike and you don't have a patch kit and an air pump; not the kind of guy I would want to partner with" gaze fall upon me.
At the corner stood an androgynous blond haired person, whose face went from lit up "Hi, I'm Candy!" to crestfallen "Oh, so there's no way I can check the brakes and the gears to see that they all work..." after I told her/him about the tire having gone flat on my way to sell it to him/her.
I can understand that someone in the Quarter might be leery and see a (conveniently) flat tire as a way one might conceal the fact that the gears and brakes don't work. Like trying to sell a car to someone that you forgot to bring the key for (d'oh!) otherwise, you could start the thing right up and rev the motor to show that it was in tip-top shape...

This is where the karma intensified surrounding the bike, as if we are in a Harry Potter type of story and the bike has a charm upon it.

I pushed the bike on its flat tire down Royal Street. When I got the the corner of Dumaine Street, I realized that I was right around the corner from the coffee shop where my friend Ester worked.
She is the one who sold me the Specialized bike that I had neglected to notify Howard and Berta about my acquisition of, so they would call off their search.
Ester had permitted me to stash the bike behind the coffee shop in a storage type area that already had about a half dozen bikes, some rolled up carpets and furniture in it.
As I was putting it back there, I heard the voice of a man yelling: "I don't give a fuck about him and his bike, get the damned thing out of my storage room!" at Ester and the other employee who said they would allow me to come back and get it any time either of them were working.
"Don't tell anyone else about this," Ester had cautioned.
A husky, bald headed man wearing a "Born Again" shirt was standing just around the corner of the place and as I pushed the bike past him, thinking of Lilly as plan B, he said words to the effect of: It's nothing personal, it's just that the people who live in the building use that room for extra storage, and if anything came up missing, some guy who was allowed to stash his bike in there would become suspect.
This made sense, and I sensed that it had been nothing personal. He just wasn't ready to trust Ester's judgment of me as someone who could be trusted with people's extra rugs and framed artwork that their walls have no room for, etc.

This was the French Quarter, after all.

This made me cherish my relationship with Lilly even more, to be reminded of how much of a dog-eat-dog place the Quarter is, in that way.

I got to the Lilly Pad, realizing that I hadn't brought my lock with me (why would I have, when I was just going to hand the bike off to someone and put 35 bucks in my pocket.

I should have brought the lock, though, in case he/she didn't buy the bike for any reason, like it having a flat tire.

It was the karma coming back to me over the duplicity that marked my taking the bike from Howard and Berta, leaving them with a sense that they had truly helped me out, when I technically didn't need it.

I was actually considering borrowing the bike from Rose, to ride to Howard's whenever I visited, so that he and Berta might think that I was enjoying their gift to me.

Something happened to underscore this.

First, Lilly arrived with her daughters at about 10:30 PM.

The bike, I had inverted and stood upon its seat about 15 feet from where I had begun playing. This is done often by bike owners who don't have locks. The theory is that, if someone wants to steal it, they would have to flip it upright before hopping on it and trying to make their get-away. This would alert the owner and give him a crucial few seconds to close the gap from wherever he was keeping an eye on it, throw the thief off of it, beat the shit out of him, etc..

I would have a few extra seconds available to me, due the the fact that the flat tire would delay a skeezer's departure.

I called for Lilly before she had gotten too far down her walkway, leaving my milk crate, backpack and tip basket with 4 dollars in it, along with my guitar case sitting under my spotlight 40 feet away, my guitar in hand.

"Oh, sure, go get it, hurry," said Lilly.

I whisked the bike over to her waiting hands.

"I'll take it back there. Get back there before they steal any of your stuff!," she said, and the Dynasty 930se became secured behind her gates.

Bike Karma
Chain of events continues...

Then a guy came along near the end of what was probably a 15 dollar Saturday night, and gave me a cup of coffee that he had poured out of a Thermos that he was carrying along with some other stuff.

He didn't have any cash, he said.

He was a simple sort of guy, in the Gomer Pyle vein, and after telling me that he had made the coffee himself "at home" and had used Community Blend or whatever the name of that coffee is that comes in red packaging and is a little more expensive than most, and that he had carefully added cream and just enough sugar, with an air of pride about him, and had stood there expectantly; I humored him by taking a sip off of the warm to the touch plastic cup that he had given it to me in.

It was warm, relatively weak, not quite sweet but not bitter, and just OK.

"Mmm, it's good, thanks," I said, wondering if he had pulled the plastic cup out of the trash by Lafitt's or if he carried his own cups.

I was transported in my mind back to when I had accepted the Dynasty bike from Howard and Berta, and the way I had said "Mmm, it's nice" feeling like a phony in the same way, knowing I had a Specialized Rock Hopper at home, just as I knew I had a better cup of coffee waiting for me at the Quartermaster.

As I walked off, I noticed the guy a short distance away, watching me. He wants to see if I chuck the coffee, which I had only sipped off of a couple times, into the same trash can where I thought he might have gotten the cup, after having lied to him about its being "good," I thought.

So, after I threw my dead batteries and the rest of my trash away, I headed towards the Quartermaster, under the gaze of Gomer Pyle, making a phony show of drinking the coffee as I went. Oh, what tangled webs we weave when we practice to deceive. This is just how I would feel showing up at Howard and Berta's on the candy red Dynasty...

Chucking the coffee in the trash would have hurt his feelings in the same way I was afraid that Howard's would be if he knew I was selling his Christmas gift. I saw the parallel between the two things, and could see how the flat tire and being chewed out by Mr. Born Again fit into the puzzle -which happened right at the spot where I had bought the Specialized bike that I never told Howard about.

Candy called me this morning and said that she had been thinking about me all morning, having determined that I am a really nice guy and perhaps feeling a bit guilty about having been so suspicious about the flat tire.

He/She had walked past me at the Lilly Pad at around midnight, as if wanting to verify as much of my "story" (about being a busker who played there, who wasn't trying to rip someone off on a bike that doesn't work) as possible. I had played "Help From My Friends," by the Beatles upon seeing him/her approaching, even though I had packed up everything but the guitar at that point.

He/She said in this morning's phone call that, if I fix the tire and still want to sell it, he/she would give me 40 dollars.

This call came after the phone rang with "Lilly" displayed on the screen, and I was unable to unlock the phone and tap the right buttons to answer it before she hung up. When I went to call her back, as soon as the phone came on, I hit a button that wound up answering a call that was from Candy. She had just happened to call me 30 seconds after Lilly had, and I had answered before her call even rang.

Mere coincidence, or is the bike charmed?

So, now I guess I fold up this laptop and get over to Wal-Mart (after grabbing my crescent wrench from the apartment) to buy a tube so I can hopefully fix it up in Lilly's back yard, pump up the tire and sell it, before the charm wears off of it.

I suppose Candy can't resist a candy red bike for 40 dollars.

And, people will be able to guess her sex by it, because it is a womans bike, so this might be a win-win situation!