Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Straight Ahead

  • Horrible Halloween
  • Mom Sends Scary Pictures From Past
Yes, I have not given any grandchildren to my mother, I suddenly realize.
I need to have children, so that I can hand down these photos. D'Oh!
I hadn't been thinking of that...

Who would think that the boy in the photo would die without leaving any descendants?

This photo made me think, first, boy has photography come a long way in fifty years, and then, after determining that I think I remember the bike and the shoes, my attention was drawn to the LaPointe's house across the street.
Mr. and Mrs. Lapointe would eventually become separated or divorced and about eight years after this photo was taken, Mrs. Lapointe would be burning furniture in the fireplace, choking the whole neighborhood with acrid smoke, in which overtones of acrylic and varnish  and, I guess cotton could be smelled.
She may have been trying to make a statement about not having enough money to feed the kids and keep the house warm, by burning his half of a pending divorce settlement.
I remember Mr. La Pointe's hot rod and its custom speedometer that went up to something like 220; I remember thinking how boring it would be to be doing the speed limit on the highways and have the thing only in the "ten o' clock" position on the dial, not much action.
The LaPointe's had apparently just sealed their driveway with that black tarry goopy stuff. They were smart enough to take the car out of the garage, in case they needed to run anywhere in it before the sealant was dry, and did the same for Shelly's bike, I can see (although they could have gotten it out of the garage through the back door so she wouldn't have had to ride it across the freshly poured goop.

So...that was the day in 1968 when the LaPointe's sealed their asphalt. So full of optimism and looking forward to a happy future with a nice driveway, they must have been. It's hard for me to push the image of the toxic smoke flooding the neighborhood just 8 years later, out of my mind, now.

I woke up depressed this Wednesday morning, but was able to shake it off. It lasted like a feeling that lingers from a dream woken up out of.
I am pretty sure I was dreaming about something depressing. It is possible that there is such a thing as a kratom "crash" that might cause someone to wake up with a sinking feeling. They do say to take a week off from it every couple months or so...

Having made only 2 whole dollars the night before, busking from about midnight until about 1:23 AM would have to be factored into the equation of waking up feeling like if I had a pistol nearby, I would at least take a glance at it, from where I lay, then probably get up and have coffee, and tobacco...

I thought about those ads that instruct anyone who might be having suicidal thoughts to immediately call their hotline.

I wonder if, for your own protection, they send the cops to kick in your door and take you into custody, where you would be hospitalized and then administered mind altering drugs to make you actually crazy and then be given over to a state paid shrink to keep you doped and keep money flowing to the pharmaceutical companies from the doctors paid by the state, and if this would be a bad thing.

The envelope full of pictures that my mom had found "while cleaning out a few things," that she thought I might like was in my mailbox, having been bent in an arc but not folded so that the pictures were damaged.

I had hoped that she had stuffed a twenty dollar bill in the thing, even though this should have been a secondary or tertiary concern to the joy of having gotten a correspondence from my mom and especially the bad news that my mom had been having "heart problems," and had been put on medication.
That cast her "cleaning out a few things" in the light of one making peace with oneself when reminded of ones mortality, and made me ashamed of myself for having hoped there was money in the envelope.

The pictures had the immediate effect upon me of, of course, reminding me of when I was a child. I couldn't help think of how much lay ahead of that five year old boy in the next fifty years and where he was going to wind up...
Hello, I have projected myself into the future fifty years and am now blogging my thoughts from the chair as I sit here in my robe; don't ask me about all the time traveling b.s., that's not important...
The body of the man who is holding the image through which I speak to you, I had to find upon short notice; he is the vehicle through which I transport my thoughts fifty years into the future, though, lol!
Yeah, so I am basically a five year old kid in 1968 and I'm a bright little kid and I have devised a way to project my thoughts into the future using a machine that I made in the cellar, only I have to project them into the head of some skeezer and get him to post to a blog holding up my picture...In this way, I can see what the world will be like in fifty years, experienced through the body of my gullible host, all from the comfort of my robe and my chair; time traveling, hell yeah!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Round Trip To Gretna

The following is just a long rant against certain, but certainly not all, African Americans, but certainly all bums...

A trip to the plasma place in Gretna has historically been an ordeal.

I have blogged a few times about how Gretna seems to be ruled by evil spirits  and/or built on a sacred burial ground.

There is a palpable anti-white bias there, where it seems that over ninety percent of the citizens are non white.

I am starting to think that black people know what annoys white people and they act up and "pour it on" when in the presence of Caucasians, just to bother them.

I noticed myself becoming progressively more angry as I neared the place.

This began before I even left New Orleans.
Family Dollar Skeezer
There was a young black girl by the Family Dollar when I came out, after spending all my cash, except for the $1.25 for the bus fare, on cat food, who begged me, like a child asking for candy, for a cigarette.

I told her that I only had 3 left, as a way to test her.

She then asked if she could "pleeese have one," as if it would mean the world to her.
"I only have three left, to last me all night," I reiterated.

She failed the test.

"Could I please, please pleeese have one?"

"I only have 3 left and you want one of them?!?"

She was doing the exact same thing that my neighbor two doors down from me did when she first moved in and had knocked on my door begging me for a pan to cook her "pattetti" in. That one was holding her stomach and telling me that she was starving, and saying "pleeese" the same way, in the same tone of voice; like a child asking for candy.

They must compare notes, these skeezers.
Sacred Heart Skeezer
Then, I was asked for one by an older black guy who lives in our building whom I have seen before a few times.

We have never had a conversation and I don't believe he even knows my name, but he saw the one I had stopped to take a few puffs off of and, as if by knee-jerk reaction asked: "Could I get one of those?"

Then he followed the script used by his ilk by thanking me and telling me "'preciate it..." before I even had a chance to answer him. I guess that type of skeezer thinks that someone who is on the verge of saying "no" will change his mind after hearing how polite and "appreciative" he is. They all follow the same script and use the same tone of voice. It's eerie.
The All Black Bus
I wound up on the bus that would deliver me to Gretna with minutes to spare before the plasma place closed at 7 PM.

I was able to get my bike on the one remaining rack and to get a seat because I had ridden to the stop which is one stop before the one where a herd of black people normally wait to rush the door when it opens.

Everything that bothers me about a lot of African Americans became amplified.

Any one of them who wound up bitching about there not being any empty seats could have averted that catastrophe by walking about 750 yards to the stop where I got on, but it seems like they haven't figured this out yet.

Or, I thought, they are such pack animals that they all wait in a mass because none of them are able to think autonomously nor able to count the number of people at the stop and then subtract that from the number of seats likely to be available on a bus.

Plus, a lot of them were wearing shower shoes, flip-flops or slippers, which would make it "impractical" to walk the 750 yards to a better stop.

I guess they are making the fashion statement of "I don' work, I lounge around in my slippers all day."

So, they stand there together, taking whatever life dishes out to them. Ain't that some shit; every seat taken...a damned shame....

The bus filled up.

I will usually offer my seat to any lady that boards and has to stand up. But I had actually disqualified the females that I saw from being ladies. None of the black men were getting up to offer their own fair sex an opportunity to unburden themselves, so why should I? My experience has been that the "lady" will plop herself down as if entitled to the seat without a word of thanks to me.

My bitterness towards them fomented. It's something that I'll have to work on, through the self help dialogues, and the Eckhart Tolle books. I looked around and saw at least 3 obese women with pudgy babies in their laps. "Oh, look at all the welfare babies!," I wanted to say out loud. That might have gotten me a shower shoe up my ass, though.
One Crazy White Guy
But, it was an older, scraggly looking white guy -the only one besides me on the bus- who was annoying me directly. He had sat down on the step that separates the rearmost part of the bus from the front, and so he was immediately to my right. And he started to talk to nobody in particular. I ignored him, and got the impression that he was upset because I didn't seem to think it was interesting that he was crazy.

When we got to the stop where I was going to get off, the guy asked "You're getting off, right?" -he had seen me pull the cord.

"Yeah," I said, and then stood up. There were people crowding the area of the back door, so, even though I was standing, I had to wait for them to get off and be out of my way before I could budge.

The crazy white guy started to try to wedge himself past me into the seat, as if he couldn't wait a few more seconds to sit, even though he had already been sitting. Then, he started to cuss at me..."Jesus Christ, can I get in the seat?!?" seemingly totally ignorant of the fact that I was blocked by the people who had rushed the back door, as if determined to get off before the white guy had a chance to.

The crazy guy, I figured was so adamant about getting the seat because he was afraid one of the blacks would try to barge his way into it.

After I got off, I went to the front, where I put my leather jacket down on the sidewalk, to free my hands for taking the bike off the rack. A black lady who had gotten off after me, stared at it, and then waited until I was finished with the bike, as if to see if it was mine or had been left on the sidewalk.

The plasma place was as it usually is. There was one other guy there with light skin, but his speech was littered with the word "nigger," as he conversed with a few people around him.

The Patriots/Bills game came on at 7:15, when I had just about filled my plasma bottle to the half-way point. I almost wished that I could have slowed down the flow of it, so as to see more of the game.

"Oh, the Patriots are on!," exclaimed the light skinned guy who might have had enough dark blood in him to allow him to say "nigger" in every other sentence.

He then said that he had been a Patriots fan since a young age, "those are my niggers!"
"You don't remember 1995, you're too young," he said in reference to something about the Patriots.

"Hell, I watched the Patriots play in Shaefer Stadium when I was a kid," I said, in a rare attempt to make conversation at that place.

The light skinned guy started to say something to me, but then seemed to catch himself, and returned to the program of "don't even acknowledge a white guy," that seems to be the norm at the plasma place. A look of distaste came over his face, and he didn't say anything back.

"I saw O.J. Simpson play," I then added, just to annoy him and the rest of them, for I knew that that topic was taboo and, if they were going to annoy me, I was going to "O.J." them.

My donation made, I had to leave, for there is no hanging around the place once you're done. I stepped outside to see the light skinned, somewhat heavy-set guy who had had nothing to say to me, standing in the parking lot talking into his phone as if calling for his ride.

I got on my bike and rode down the sidewalk a ways to where I could watch the game a bit more through a window.

I still needed to get some "cash back" off my plasma card, just to have the money for the bus home, but figured that there would be enough time for me to do that at the Family Dollar and still make the 8:19 PM one home.

I would wind up on the 10:14 PM one, though.

I lit a cigarette while catching a few more plays of the game in front of the window down the sidewalk. And, along came the heavyset light-skinned guy, who had begun to saunter my way as soon as I had lit it.

"You got an extra one of those?" he asked.

"Dude, you didn't have anything to say to me inside, when I started to talk to you about the Patriots; what makes you think I would have an extra cigarette?!?" I snapped as I rode off. I could hear him cussing me out as I rode away. Fuck that "nigger."

I got to the Family Dollar, where I realized that the "no cash back" sign must be a permanent fixture there.

The guy who works there, a light skinned tall young black guy, had bent the rule for me on past occasions after I had shown up with the ace bandage around my arm, telling him that I needed cash or I would be stuck on that side of the river for the night.

I could kind of sense that he was going to deny me this time, as if I was in a movie that I had seen before. He did.

I rode off, able to quell any anger I might have had towards him, to deny him any satisfaction he might have gotten from seeing it, and because I knew there was another Family Dollar near another bus stop, closer to Howard's house.

I got there and saw that, they too, had a similar "no cash back" sign.
Gretna is ninety nine percent black, of course they wouldn't want to keep any cash within sight, I thought, cynically.

I started to ride towards Howard's house, thinking that I would have to hit him up for $.1.25 for the bus, but decided to ride down a certain street where I knew that there were businesses.

I stopped at a Shell Station and was annoyed be seeing an obese black lady at the counter, wearing slippers and in the middle of asking "What dat eeis?" of one of the cashiers, about something. They didn't give cash back, the machine was "down." Of course the machine was down.

There was a Dollar General store in a mall. I rode toward it.

A black man was walking across the parking lot. "He's gonna want something for free," I thought, as I sped up enough so our paths wouldn't cross.

Then, in front of the Dollar General was a black guy who had a large backpack and a milk crate with some stuff in it.

"Yo, bro, do you have a dollar?" he asked as I was locking my bike.

"Do I have a dollar?!?" I asked, as if I had no idea why he was asking.

He could have been the twin brother of one of the inveterate skeezers who lives at Sacred Heart, he even sounded like him.

"No, I don't have a dollar," I told him rudely, pretty sure that he was going to believe that I was lying.

I wasn't sure if the Dollar General even gave cash back, or if they did in the amount of ten dollars, which was about all I would have out of the fifteen dollars for the plasma, minus the amount of the cat food that I would have to purchase in order to get cash back.

Every black person in the aisles of that store looked to me like they were shoplifting. The flicked their eyes at me. They looked like the eyes of raccoons that have been startled by the beam of a flashlight as they are tearing up a garbage bag, guilty looking and ready to run.

I got to the register, where I had to wait behind a couple people before I would be able to inquire if they gave cash back. The person immediately in front of me was a skinny black lady probably in her forties. She had the rough around the edges look of a crackhead and moved with the jerky motions of one.

She put her stuff on the register and then added a bottle of soda. "I'm not sure I'm gonna have enough for the soda, but..." she said.

There she was; laying the groundwork for the skeeze. Of course she wasnt' going to have enough for the soda, and of course she was going to turn to the white guy behind her for it.

Then entered the Brian-from-building-A-look-alike who had been begging out front, who glanced over at me with an evil look (how dare I not have a dollar?) before grabbing some chips or something and taking his place behind me in the line. But not before slamming his milk crate down rather loudly upon the soda case right behind my head.

He stood about two inches behind me, bumping me at one point.
I then moved about a foot away from him in a deliberate way, intended to communicate: "I'm moving away from you," after looking down at my feet, with his almost on top of them, and then stepping mine over a couple feet.

Then, the skinny lady with the orange-ish Afro which was grey around the edges, looked at the can of cat food in my hand. "Is that for a cat?" she asked.

I couldn't keep the sarcasm out of my voice as I rotated the can a bit so that the cat on front of it was staring straight at her. "You've never seen cat food before?"

I knew that she was just trying to make conversation, softening me up for the skeeze; probably knowing darned well that she was going to be short for the soda.

"I saw that it was cat food, that's why I asked..."
(she at least could have asked: "What kind of cat do you have?" that would have been less obvious of a foray into a skeeze)

Then....she was short on the amount for the soda. Of course she was.

"Do you have twenty-six cents?" she asked me. She didn't ask the cashier, nor the black guy behind me.

"No, I only have plastic," I said.

I then asked the cashier if they gave cash back.
She told me that they did, hesitating a bit, as if considering lying just to send the white guy away disappointed.

"Can you get ten dollars back?"

"I don't know, I think it's just twenty" said the not too bright looking cashier with a name tag which read something like LaKeeshontay.

She works there and she doesn't know what the cash back amounts are? It must have been LaKeeshontay's first day.

"Well, if I pay for this cat food and I can't get ten dollars back then I won't have enough left to get ten dollars back at the next place...."

A dumb stare.

"Let me try to get ten back," I said, putting the cat food on the register.

"Just for future information, you can get ten back," I told her, after the screen popped up and I hit the "$10" button.

She probably already knew that.

While I had been deciding whether or not to try the machine for ten bucks, Brian the skeezer had bought his chips and was ready for me as soon as I walked out with the ten dollars and a can of cat food to my name.

"Did you come out alright?" he asked, concerned about me, I guess.

"Yeah, everything is good," I said, and hastily rode away, ignoring whatever he said next. After all, he knew I had just gotten ten dollars in cash, surely I could spare a couple of them. My cat will be alright with just one can of food. I'm sure Brian would "really appreciate it."

A Project

So, that is going to be a project for me; to figure out how not to be bothered by the plethora of bums out there; because they don't seem to be going anywhere soon.

Hopefully if the unemployment rate falls to a certain level, the public's patience with bums will drop along with it, making it not so worthwhile to trade one's dignity for handouts.

Fifty years from now, this generation of African Americans will have passed away along with their "entitlement" mindsets.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Monday After A Weekend Of Recording Music

Life continues to speed by at the speed of a 4g connection.
Jacob Scardino and Daniel McKenna

I woke up bright and early, this Monday morning.
Busking, what's that?
I haven't been to the Lilly Pad for a whole week. I have a dread of getting a message from Lilly telling me that she gave my spot to some other street musician whom she might have met, because I have stopped playing there. I have gone from being there at least five nights a week to being there only 3 times the past couple.

But, I had a 3.15 pound bag of kratom, which I got on October 12th, my birthday and which just ran out last night, having lasted 14 days...

That boils down to my having consumed 6.3 grams a day. Since a "shot" is 5 grams, I had only upped my daily dosage by about 25% from having such a supply at my disposal.

The little bit of plasma money plus the twenty bucks that was in the parcel that the Lidgley's sent from London, has been able to sustain me.

Whatever music comes out of our sessions will be the return on the investment of time that I made.

Left: One of the hundred or more pictures that Bob has hanging on the walls all over his house.
This actress, I could not identify from trying to read her autograph, but she seems to be hanging in the Star Wars "section" of the wall. When I first glanced at it across the room, I knew that it couldn't be Sue, the Colombian lady -could it?- who was my girlfriend more than 4 years ago, but I had to get a closer look to determine that.

There has been a Voodoo Fest going on, but I spent the entirety of it recording tracks over at Jacob's house.

Sue, the Colombian lady...

Now there is a pile of recorded tracks that can be gone through and have songs made out of them.
Some songs are kind of complete.

I have to go to the plasma place, but not before stopping at Howard's to see if he is going to be able to pick up the Patriots game tonight. Monday Night Football has been taken over by Fox or by ESPN or perhaps it is still on ABC, but there is a chance that Howard doesn't get whatever network it is.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday After Saturday

A lot of things have been going on the past few days; at the speed of the Internet, it seems.
The morning after...

Jacob and I had agreed to jam after doing so the day before (Friday), taking advantage of Bob, his guardian, being out of town for the entire weekend.
He is ever present through the cameras, which he can sit in San Antonio, or wherever he was, and monitor, and probably does so, knowing him.

Ever the manager/producer, Jacob had enlisted the help of no less than two drummers and a keyboard player to join us in our session. Out of those, only the "keyboard player" showed up briefly at the big house in Kenner, Louisiana, tickled the ivory's even more briefly, helped himself off of the table full of snack food type stuff which, Bob seems to keep stocked, and then was gone.

But not before looking frantically all over the house for his keys, at a pitch that reached the point of him almost casting an accusation upon Jacob's new friend, whom he met at the Uxi Duxi, when he exclaimed: "Someone's got them!!"
But, as it turns out, the prank of one of Jacob's friends hiding an object of one of the others just for amusement has been played out enough so that his comment was most likely directed at one of them.

The keys wound up being in the bathroom, off camera, and where things might be done which would make someone totally forget their keys.
This left myself and Jacob to jam. He had also been in the company of two other of his friends, named Patrick and Doug.
Both about twenty years of age, Patrick a tall, skinny bespectacled young man, not too far away from the Harry Potter movie actor of the same description, and Doug was a skinny young black man who wore a hoodie, which he pulled over his head half of the time.
How these two became Jacob's friends, are mysteries that can be solved by observing how Jacob, for instance, started having myself over to jam and record music.
I guess the fact that both Jacob and I might wake up on a given morning with the day's goal being to perfect a drum track, made us birds of a feather.
Patrick, I had met after Jacob and I had jammed on Friday, when we picked him up and he rode with us to drop me off, with the two of them continuing on to some party that I really probably wouldn't have felt comfortable at, and since I was still holding out the possibility of going out to busk.
I decided to get to sleep at the decent hour of about 2 AM, rather than busk, the $40 that I had gotten from the plasma place that (Friday) morning having only been dented by a couple cans of cat food and a pack of cigarettes.

I had gotten to the plasma place earlier than ever, arriving there at about 10 AM. A lot of things, I am doing differently lately, I find.
I suspect that this is from having some of the self help dialogues that are on the self hypnosis recordings that I made (for myself) out of the "Awaken The Genius Within," books, sink in and cause me to make different choices then I "always" had been making.
Things have been materializing along the way, making me feel like I am in one of those early "labyrinth" type computer games where you are in a room and there is a lamp, and you type in "light lamp," and the lamp gets lit allowing you to "see a huge wooden door" in front of you, and you just might "knock on door," and then see what happens.
My steps have been similarly guided lately, beginning with, but not limited to, the notification from Jacob earlier in the week about the pending departure of Bob and all the opportunities for creating music that that was a harbinger of.

One time, about 4 years ago now, I blogged about having decided to embark upon a water fast. My plan was to arrive at the Lilly Pad with nothing but a gallon jug of water, no beer, no cigarettes, no weed, no energy drink, just water. On that, the third or fourth day of the fast, my appetite for all those things had diminished to the point where it had only taken a bit of will power to force myself out there, which was helped along by a short prayer for "strength" before I went out.
I didn't have the gallon of spring water, though. Having stayed in the over the first few days of the fast, in order to not go out where there would be temptation until my appetites had been subdued, had depleted my money through cat food, and the first few gallons of it, and I almost decided to not busk for one more night because of not having even the spring water, but decided that I was just looking for an excuse to avoid the ordeal of busking after not having eaten for 4 days.
So, I had said the short prayer, then hopped on my bike and ridden to the Lilly Pad, where the first thing I saw upon my arrival was a full gallon of spring water sitting on the stoop at my right elbow when I play. It hadn't even been opened.

An atheist might say that someone around there reads this blog and knew that I was water fasting and had left the water there for me, or that it was just a coincidence, but...

I mention that because things have been kind of turning out that way lately.

I called my mother this morning, after having dallied almost a week, waiting until I had something to say to her, something important, or when I was in such a good mood that it might be contageous and I might cheer her up.
I just dialed her up on my phone this morning, relying upon myself to think of something to say after she answered.
She told me that she has just mailed off some old photographs of me, when I was younger, that she found when going through, I guess, her chest full of stuff which she might have moved from the last place where she lived and was only now digging through, 15 years later.

That is kind of like the jug of water sitting on Lilly's stoop, as I was just recently lamenting not having any pictures of myself from back then.

So, I had stayed up Thursday night into Friday morning and gone to the plasma place, rather than try to sleep first, and winding up having to shake off the cobwebs and dash across the river before they closed, and put myself in jeopardy of encountering the same bus driver who might speed off rather than allowing me onto the last bus that could get me there on time, as had happened the night before.

That had been a learning experience, after I was surprised to find myself reaching for my phone to call the station and threaten the life of that driver. I think I was able to dissolve that anger in the light of consciousness and through listening to one of the self help dialogues from the "genius within" book. 

And then, Jacob and I had a pretty decent recording session, with the only hindrance being that the mix between myself on acoustic guitar and singing was almost being drowned out by Jacob on the electric guitar.
At least for anyone standing in the room, he would be the loudest thing. But the recording told a different story, since, even though I could hardly hear myself, I was singing directly into one microphone and playing into another. So, I almost could have been playing and singing anything and Jacob would have been none the wiser. When he listened back to the recording, though, it would be like I was whispering in his ear, tempting me to throw in lyrics that I knew would amuse him when he mixed the stuff down the next morning.
We have switched from the Tascam 4 track cassette recorder (with DBX noise reduction) to using a USB interface feeding directly into Jacob's laptop and recording digitally on four separate tracks.
We are, in my humble opinion, realizing audio quality comparable to that of, say, Elvis Presley records from the early sixties. We are probably using better equipment. Jacob's cellphone is probably better equipment than what was in whatever studio in Memphis where "That's Alright, Mama" was cut. What a difference fifty years makes...

But, Friday's session revealed me to be a little sloppy on the guitar, since I could barely hear myself, and a little raspy on the vocals, as if I was straining a bit to sing louder, since I could barely hear myself, etc.

That is one of the bad habits that can be cultivated when busking at times when the busker can barely hear himself.

But, being in bed at the early hour of 2 AM, I was well rested when, at around noon, I heard the clang of Jacob's set of keys against my window.

I looked out to see Jacob, Patrick and Doug, all staring gape mouthed at the set of keys which had landed on the ledge outside the window.

While they were boosting one another up so as to retrieve them, I had time to find a pair of socks, grab my guitar and harmonicas, gulp down a shot of kratom and then join them.

I was soon riding "shotgun" with Patrick and Doug in the back seat.

It was a crash course in millennial culture, as Jacob located some music on his phone to be played through the stereo and Patrick and Doug each poked at their own phones in the back seat, Snapchatting with people, trying to line up parties and such.

At one point a guy texted Patrick, whom Patrick wasn't sure he remembered; no problem: "Open up Facetime, so I can see you," he said. Seconds later the texter's face was on his phone, he recognized him, and life went on. Life in 2018 A.D.

I thought that the three had met through the Baptist church that Jacob attends, which is somewhat of a glue keeping Jacob adhered to Bob's patronage, I would guess, since Bob hosts a Christian radio show on 800 AM in New Orleans, if you're ever in the area and could use some of that old fashioned religion.

It was with this in mind that I rode around with Jacob and his two friends seemingly cruising around Kenner at random while they tried to line up all the participants in what was to be a grand jam at the house.

Snapchat messages are streamed and only appear briefly before disappearing forever into the ether, and so that is the method of choice for locating drug dealers, and Patrick only had to post "Does anyone have any mushrooms for sale?" without fear of being traced, and someone with mushrooms for sale was able to answer likewise, and meet us at the Wendy's while Jacob and his friends scoffed down fries, so as to have some food on the stomach because "shrooms" can be upsetting on an empty one.

Patrick and Doug had began to insist that Jacob stop there. Jacob acquiesced with hardly a sign of perturbation. This had caused me to question, for the first time, exactly what the relationship between them all was like. Was Jacob a push-over whom they were taking advantage of?

Then, when we were sitting in Jacob's car, after he had gone inside the Wendy's to get the fries, Patrick, at one point said "Jacob said that he was out of twenties, but he was lying because he has some right here," before reaching into the console and retrieving a small wad of "twenties," which he took into his possession.
Did Patrick just steal Jacob's money, I wondered?
Patrick and Doug shortly thereafter left the car, saying that they were going to see what was taking Jacob so long, as something seemed to be.
I wondered if they were going to take off with his money and then I would learn that Jacob had been swindled by them and they he really didn't know them as well as he seemed to. They were so incredibly at ease with each other, that this didn't seem possible, but were they like the spoiled brats that are so unbothered by any material concerns that they had an "easy come, easy go" attitude and knew that Jacob would just have to hit up Bob for more money and he would be fine?

But, they all came back to the car, with the money that Patrick found having been returned to Jacob, and I began to rest assured that the friends were as "tight" as they seemed to be. Even though it was only Jacob's third time meeting Doug, the young black man who wore a hoodie.

Patrick had been barred from Bob's residence, not because he broke the solar lights that lined the sidewalk in front of the house, but because he knew who did, but wouldn't divulge the information, making him just as guilty in Bob's eyes, as the perpetrator.

Jacob has known Patrick since high school, which I keep having to remind myself was only like 4 years ago.

So, the two of them had to sneak in through the back yard to avoid the camera, and then to stay in the kitchen the whole time they were in the house, or to hide in a bedroom, out of lens view.

It all made for a magical mystery occasion, and we were able to record some good music, of the kind of rowdy sort initially, and then a much more focused version between just Jacob and I after we had left Patrick and Doug to their next adventure, and then returned to Bob's house around 11 PM.

Now, it is Sunday afternoon, I am blogging instead of watching football, and now Jacob is here with me at the Uxi Duxi, and has just spoken with Justice, a drummer and we are planning to do another jam in a little while. Soon some of the results will appear here, and I will at last have enough material to put at least an "EP" together. Now, for the cover art....


Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Beautiful Night For Busking

  • A Parcel From London
  • Cooler Temperatures
I left a bit before 6 PM, trying to catch one of the buses across the river that would get me there in time to sell plasma for the $40 that I am in line to get.

The 114 went by with its "to station" sign lit, leaving the 115 as my last hope.

I caught a glimpse of it, and gave chase on my bike, pretty much keeping up with it, as it had to stop for a red light.

I had caught up with it by the time we got to the Greyhound station and I'm sure the driver saw me headed towards that stop. But as soon as the light he was at changed, the bus lurched forward as if he had floored the pedal, and he flew down the little lane leading to the stop in front of the Greyhound faster than I had ever seen that bus do, the forty or so times that I have taken it.

Still, he had to stop at the stop, not because someone was waiting, but because he had to wait for traffic. This allowed me to reach the front of the bus, where I saw one slot available for my bike. Then I watched the bus drive off with the driver yelling "Next one!," loud enough for me to hear, but especially aimed at drawing a cheer and laughter from the all black load of passengers.
"Call Donald Trump, he'll give you a ride!, type of thing.

 Thank You, Lidgeleys

A parcel arrived from London Tuesday.

I got a call from the security lady at the front desk just before she was about to leave for the day, informing me that I had a package at the front desk. She did this to cover her ass in case the parcel came up missing. The night shift could steal it, but it was present and accounted for when she went home at 4 PM.

There was a nice letter in the box, bringing me current with all things Lidgley and assuring me that this one is not to be confused with "the Christmas one," which is forthcoming.

How I caught lightning in a bottle the day Alyne Lidgley encountered me busking in St. Augustine, almost ten years ago, now...

The gods conspired to have me, I guess, sitting the right way, playing the right song ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps (?)) and in the right situation to have led Alyne to decide to that I was worthy of a parcel or three each year.

The parcel was filled with a pure light which worked the same way as the light that engulfed John Travolta's character in the movie "Phenomenon." It infused me with super human intelligence and the ability to memorize all the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica in one sitting, type of thing.

There was also some excellent instant coffee, some delicious "Belgian" chocolate, a Starbucks gift card, and I feel like I am bragging now, but there was some underwear too. Underwear for the super-intelligent.

And a couple packs of Benson and Hedges cigarettes.

I had just smoked my last cigarette when the security lady called...

Thursday Night

After the bus took off on me I did not call the station and tell them that the driver of the 115 is a piece of shit and that I was going to wait for him at an isolated spot in Gretna in the middle of the night and blow his head off with my shotgun as soon as he stops. This is what I felt like doing.

Then I thought about the valuable opportunity that I had to do some self examination. "Why does it piss me off so much when the bus drivers do that?"
I thought that the driver must be a pretty miserable racist, to be doing that. He is suffering enough because of that.
Then I thought about "blessings in disguise" and that I might have an awesome night in store for me which would never have been possible had the driver stopped for me. How pissed would he be if he knew he facilitated that.

I think it's important to figure out why the things that are one's "pet peeves" are so.

In the case of my becoming angry when skeezers try to skeeze me for cigarettes, I really think that is because I am mad at myself for being addicted to the things and trying to take it out on someone else..."Yeah, I'm going around passing my cigarettes out to everyone I meet today, you're in luck...beat it, skeezer!" type of thing...
So, tomorrow, I can go and get the $40 for my plasma, and I'm now glad that I didn't call the bus station and threaten to kill the guy.

I can go out and play tonight. I rode past the Lilly Pad at around 7 PM and there were a lot of tourists out. It is forecast to be much cooler the next few days, leading up to Halloween.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Busy With The Nobs

The "virtual" amplifier and effects rack that I installed for the heck of it actually processes the sound of my guitar in myriad ways.

If I put on headphones I can apply all kinds of effects to my acoustic guitar.

I have even figured out how to send the output to Audacity, so I can record it.

A lot of times it helps to be able to hear whatever effects you are playing through. If you are getting a lot of sustain, for example, you might tailor your playing style to this and do a lot of long and sustained notes like that Pink Floyd guy with his long slow bending notes. He was most likely inspired by the sound and what he could do with it.

I have been burdened with having to imagine what my guitar will sound like after I record it, plain vanilla, no ambiance at all, and then doctor the file up by applying an effect.

My Newest Facebook Friend, Jacob's Mother...

If I am going to sound like I am in a cathedral after I add "cathedral reverb," then I have to pretend I am in one as I am recording the track...Don't worry, I might tell myself, it's going to sound full and spacious and like a wall of sound; and hitting these little few notes and letting them ring, even though they sound moronic and simple in the light of day, is going to sound cool, like you are playing in a cathedral!
Kevin Bape, drummer

So, with the Guitarix effect (shown) I can at least put my headphones on and hear what the result is going to be after running my guitar through all kinds of simulations of amplifiers and squash boxes and filters.

This at least helps me write a part that optimizes whatever flange or phaser I'm going through. I still can't hear the effect after I hit the record button on Audacity, but I am working on that problem, reading more manuals and help screens and tutorials.

So, an acoustic guitar sounding like a cranked up electric one might be coming soon..

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A Podcasting Wannabe

The Uxi Duxi is closing in seconds...
I promise more music made using the cries of herons as samples, soon.

There is a certain frequency to the cries of the bird; this would allow the sound to carry a certain distance, I assume, to the nearest other heron, I am also guessing.

The black caped night heron would emit a loud "Waauuk!!" sound upon taking flight.

I think this is to frighten any flying thing that might be airborne to get out of its way, so as to avert "bird strikes;" kind of like a horn. How else to explain it?

The above idea came from the fact that Zen, my friend, whom I recently saw for the first time in almost a year, does a "podcast" and, I see him sitting at one of the tables outside the place, squawking into the screen of his tablet upon which it seems is a mirror-like image of his own face.
But, he seems to do it in "real time" and people actually comment and these appear in real time and conversations are held, people ask questions and he answers them and he is usually drinking beer and kratom as he does this.

My first topic has to do with people who smoke half a cigarette and then, after dropping the remaining tobacco on the sidewalk, make sure it is out by grinding the thing so as to rend open the paper and render the cigarette un-smokable by any skeezer who might come along and have his hopes of getting a free half a cigarette dashed by the brutal realization that there are people cruel enough to do such a thing.

Perhaps the people have 11 diseases and are doing a public service by destroying the cigarettes. No, if that were the case, they would crush the butts in their hands and throw them deep into a trash can, insuring public safety.

No, they are left out there so as to entice a skeezer from a distance (from whence the term "snipe" comes from with regard to long distance targeting) into thinking he has scored himself a half a cigarette and then to communicate to the skeezer that whomever left it there has no mercy, nor love in his heart, for the skeezer.

I almost don't blame them...

Friday, October 19, 2018

My '67 Camaro

This blog is like a Camaro that I'm building from scratch in my garage, which I just take a ride around the block in each morning to test the latest improvements upon.

Once it is a killer machine, street legal and all pimped out then I'll take it downtown, i.e. apply the "five secrets to generating blog traffic" that I have read about and which I don't currently do any of.

Except for an attempt at number five, which is (duh) to create great posts.

I am thinking of "pivoting" away from the mundane and might reserve a bunch of stories, essays and artwork for the days when I can think no further than the boiled egg I ate for breakfast, for material.

  • Thursday Night Off
  • Another Week Without A Blood Plasma Sale

It's the recipe for financial disaster; most of the ingredients are simmering away. But, whatever...

When I woke up and saw that it was 6 PM (Friday evening, October 19th) It hit home that I wouldn't be able to make it in time to the blood plasma place. No $15 for 3 hours spent today; no opportunity to go Sunday and get $45 to go with it. There's a sixty dollar "swing" in my fortunes...or not.

I had lain back down in the early afternoon to cap off the "night's sleep" with a couple more intended hours that turned into four...again.

I learned that there is indeed kind of a kratom "crash" that results from doing a second dose after the first kind of wears off.

I worked on another piece of music, using the cries of a heron as a sample, set to the beat of Kevin Bape in one of his lucid moments on the drum kit from our jam in Jacob's back yard, and then used a 2 second note held by a female vocalist out of a set of free downloadable samples from the web.

The samples are free because they come with no rights to use them commercially.

I looked at it all as a learning experience, knowing that I would probably file the finished song away in my "music made using bird samples" folder where it would reside as a curiosity.
A half-chicken in every pot; and a pound of kratom...
But, as often happens when I idly begin a pencil sketch only to determine at some point that it is coming out better than I might have expected and then go on to spend the next 4 hours on it, I spent the next 4 hours on it.

It still sucks, but there was something about how Harold the cat parked himself right in front of my floor speakers as if not wanting to miss one bird cry that made me feel like I was making progress, having captured the imagination of one of my harshest critics.

I feel like I am making music now that might be listened to retrospectively after I manage to crack the nut of success and have something go viral, by people who then have an interest in hearing my "formative" pieces. ...and the herons cry...

Heron rhymes with Erin, the name of the girl who is a barista at Uxi Duxi, and almost sounds like heroin, the drug that people use kratom to mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal from, and their cries is a sound that reminds me of my roots, since I heard a lot of them when living under a wharf with a black caped night heron, so I can see some kind of cosmic connection.
Of course he was arrested, those former NFL running backs are bad apples...

It has nothing to do with Mack Herron, the running back who played for the Patriots in the early seventies, I don't think...but the other-than-conscious mind might be up to its tricks...

Shortly, I might find myself down to my last everything...last bite of food, last cigarette, last energy drink, the last of my coffee, the last of my one pound bag of kratom, the "last" list goes on. But is not fodder for a blog post.

Pivoting Away, Now...

Or I can go out in a couple hours with a fresh perspective, fresh batteries in my spotlight and a renewed determination to get a new harmonica the next time I have the money for one. The 45 dollars I could have gotten on Sunday was to be used for this.

I can just go on Monday, and then Wednesday, setting my plans back only 3 days.

I continue to, perhaps fool myself, into thinking that the projects that I work on at home, when glances at the clock cause pangs of guilt over my not being out busking have some kind of value.

Equivalent in some way to the cold hard cash that I might have come by at the Lilly Pad.

Why is money referred to using the same terms used to describe cadavers..? But, I digress...

"If you're not living with a certain amount of dread each day, perhaps you're not working hard enough" might have been the philosophy that I am re-examining.

Tanya Huang said that her father, a doctor in China, saw "a hundred patients a day."

(Hey, my traffic from China has slumped, so I am going back to utilizing a proven strategy)

This revealed that one of her primary values is "productivity," hard-wired into her brain, and congruent with her playing until her violin shoulder is black and blue, after 14 hour Mardi Gras season gigs.

Maybe some amount of dread over going out to busk to "get 'er done," "make the doughnuts;" "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go," type of things, is fitting.

But, maybe it isn't. Isn't "dread" one of those self-corrosive, negative states of mind, spawned by fear and insecurity and feeling inadequate?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

I Want To Avail Myself To Your Charms


I guess every day spent, but not financed through busking falls into the category of freeloading.

What am I supposed to do? I listen to the self help, self hypnosis tapes that are telling me that everything I need will materialize and to not worry, since the lilies of the field don't, and that somehow the universe will conspire to bring abundance to me, in abundance.

So, on the night that I didn't busk and make what averages out to 14 bucks an hour for this time of year and for a Sunday, I found the 14 dollars laying on the sidewalk. I had gotten a one pound bag of kratom as a birthday gift from Erin at the Uxi Duxi, and into Monday and Tuesday I went, spending most of that time doing stuff like the recording above, which is myself embarking upon the journey of using my newfound knowledge of sampling and of using the Cecelia 5 "ear bending sonics" application to lay down some funky grooves, surely, but then to integrate these beats into the music that I had already been doing, minus the samples of the voice of Fiona Apple, stretched so that one individual sample of the 44,400 per second that "CD quality" is comprised of, might ring for ten seconds.
It occurred to me that this (these recordings) is more of what I would like to sound like when I busk; all coming from one guy, of course...

"Back In The U.S.S.R." Hubert's Trip -Daniel Mckenna, Jacob Scardino and Kevin Bape
So, while on the subject...

When we jammed Sunday evening (above) in Bob's backyard, it soon became apparent that low flying jets would be passing overhead periodically.

So, I decided that every time a plane flew overhead we should go into that Beatles song, the recording of which which begins with the sound of a jet flying by, overhead.

Of course, back in the 1960's, George Martin and the boys were probably using the plane as a cool way to sneak in a "stereophonic" effect, since, back then something that came in one speaker and then passed through the room, then exited out of the other speaker was amazing, and worth listening to several times over.

This tape, I distilled out of the only existing recording of that jam -it was the night that we thought we were recording, but weren't- which came off of Jacob's phone.

Once in my studio, I applied some digital mixing tricks.

As can be heard, Kevin Bape, the drummer took a while to settle down and play actual beats, sounding like the 16 year old just getting on the drum kit and "taking 'er for a spin" that he is, initially.

All things considered, especially the fact that he was unfamiliar with the songs we were doing, added to the fact that the mix between the instruments was fixed according to where Jacob's phone was placed, this is a pretty accurate snapshot of what we subjected the neighborhood to that evening.

Jacob and Kevin were intentionally trying to drown out some of the more off-color lyrics in some of my songs, which accounts for the cacophony that arises during Hubert's Trip during the line where self gratification is mentioned.

I had a cool little black and white video that I planned upon having loop on the screen while this played, but Openshot Video Editor is acting up on me again.

But, the good news there is that there was an "update available" which I downloaded and am looking forward to the "better stability" that it promises.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Totally Wet

Hello, from the Uxi Duxi, it is Monday night...
Sunday afternoon (yesterday) I became aware of the sounds of stones being thrown by Jacob Scardino, hitting my window.

My phone had been off and Jake and his friend, Kevin Bape had decided to stone mail me, in an attempt to see if I wanted to jam again at the house of Bob, the guardian of Jacob.

I was in a pickle. It was the classic dilemna of, should I devote myself to the creation of a piece of music, jamming with capable musicians who are equal to the task of keeping up with ol' Daniel, and the prospect seemed promising...

Then, there was ol' Howard Westra, on the other side of the river, by his TV, upon which was to appear the game between the Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. A big game.
But, also an opportunity to perpetuate what has become an actual "routine" between Howard and I.

I really felt that the solidity of our friendship was teetering on the brink, whereby, had I failed to show up at his place on a night when the Patriots are being broadcast world-wide he might see the break in that particular routine as just that, a break in our routine.

This would be huge for Howard. Has my love of the New England Patriots deteriorated, or is it that I have finally bored of the well educated and good heart ed Dutchman?

But, I chose the visit to Howard over the jamming with Jake and Kevin, and the Patriots won and I think Howard appreciates the string of games that I have shown up for whenever the Patriots were "on TV" and the predictability of our interaction based upon that.

The previous time that I had been there, to watch the dismal defeat at the hands of the Detroit Lions, Howard has said something about wanting to connect a fire stick to his tablet and be able to watch, I guess, movies.

He also loves a certain law show set in Boston and has purchased the entire series of them.
We will just have to deem ourselves as being capable of producing at will, anything that we might have played that night -he and Kevin went and played and recorded, anyways, and the Patriots won and...
14 Dollars Found On Ground After Having Watched Football With Howard
Then I went and found 14 dollars laying on the ground, after deciding that I would ride past the Lilly Pad once, to see what it looked like on a Sunday night turning Monday soon....that is cool because the five is one of the keys that is missing on my laptop that I'm still not complaining about because it was less than two hundred dollars and is just missing a few keys, so it was laying on the sidewalk, the 14 dollars a couple blocks off Canal Street near Toulouse....

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Half Way To 112

  • A Big Bag of Kratom
  • 30 Dollar Friday
Uxi Duxi goards
It is approaching Halloween, and the Uxi Duxi, in the spirit of the season, has imported goards, some of which being actual pumpkins, to decorate the place.

30 Dollar Friday

Busking just flew by yesterday, after having recorded at Jacob's house and then having gotten, as a birthday gift, a one pound bag of yellow Borneo kratom, from the Uxi Duxi staff.

I had blown off the chance to get 45 dollars Sunday, by going to record music in the back yard of Jacob's place.

A good amount of the music wasn't recorded because of us not understanding the Tascam 4 track cassette recorder fully.

But, it is 10 PM on a Saturday night, and I must try to follow up the thirthy dollar outing of the night before. Although, my strings are pretty shot on the guitar, and I am planning upon going to Howard Westra's tomorrow, to watch football.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Daydreaming At The Uxi Duxi

Street Musician Daniel
The maintenance guy woke me up at around 4 PM with loud knocking on the door.
He was there pursuant to a "work order" that I had placed at the front desk regarding my toilet.
Reggie is his name, I think.
He is a heavyset black man, probably in his mid thirties, or however many years older than 18 someone who probably played football in high school would have to be to have developed a gut like his.

He walked past the heating and air unit that has its own problems, and past the pile of dirt mixed with Harold the cat's excrement on the floor around his litter box, to get to the toilet. (Harold has been thinking "outside the box" with his excrement lately).

For the past couple weeks, I've been flushing it by stopping the bathtub and running its faucet while doing my business, and then having to scoop water out of the tub and fill the tank of the toilet before it all leaked into the bowl, in order to get a good flush -a satisfying flush, where the water is sucked down and disappears and then a secondary reassuring sound, as of the shit leaving the building, is heard from somewhere way down in the pipe.

Being below sea level here in New Orleans, shit seems more inclined to want to come up from the toilet, rather than go the other way.

Now that this blog post has ground to a halt on that note:

A Birthday Card From Mom

I got a card from my mom.

My birthday crept up on me this year, which flew by, with the months feeling like weeks.

Mom mentioned "the ravages of age" and "looking forward to the end of the journey," which caused me some concern.

Here I am, 27 years younger than her and am straightening my apartment up a bit before laying down to sleep, to spare me the embarrassment of having them find dust everywhere and maybe some crumbs on the floor around my body.

My nieces, whom I haven't met nor drawn yet, are "growing up, smart and well rounded in their activities."

With their uncle neatly tucked away in New Orleans.

There are "hurricane not too far from here" type warm gusts of wind blowing outside -I didn't wear my hat.

Wednesday Night Busking?

I supposed I should shut this down and go out to busk. If I leave soon, I could pluck my first note by about 10:45 PM.
"Did you see a tip basket blow by?"

Lilly said that she hasn't heard me playing much lately, the last time I saw her, and she is right; she hasn't. I guess the strains of my harmonica penetrate to her room and give her comfort in the sense that it is audible evidence that she is helping a lowly busker to make a living.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Looking For An Old Photo

I heard that Donald Trump actually has a daughter named Tiffany, and that she was named after the jewelry store that was next to Trump Tower.

Ellen Degeneres joked that the girl will never know how close she came to having the name "Buffalo Wild Wings Trump."

I should square her cheeks more, and put her in a Yankee's cap, when I have time one of these weekends...

 I Googled it, and this is the actual Tiffany Trump (left), and she is back to law school, according to reports.

It is Tuesday night.

Last night, there was a game in the Superdome, between the Saints and the Washington Redskins.

It might have been an opportunity for me to stand at a spot that I like outside the stadium and play "When The Saints Go Marching In," on guitar and harmonica, vigorously, for the twenty minutes or so that it takes the stadium to empty out after a game. But it was raining.

I can remember picking up a quick 35 bucks on a typical game day doing that.

I am almost at a fork in the road where I will either have to approach busking from a more professional angle -set up at the Lilly Pad when it is still daylight, and when tourists walking past can see the artwork I have for sale next to me, and the CD's that I will hopefully have soon, maybe be able to scan a bar-code on their phones to be able to find more of my stuff online for a buck a song or something. And, have a list of about a thousand songs that I could play, so that I wouldn't run out of material. And then, I would have to keep going after darkness falls, and all the way through the midnight-til-2 AM rush which is all I wind up playing lately.

Or, to fork the other way and try to get a job at Trader Joe's, where money would be guaranteed in exchange for hours spent working, and then I could spend a lot of time in my studio, and busk only if I wanted to, perhaps to test out some equipment like Tanya Huang uses, which would be easier for me to buy out of checks that might come every two weeks.

I might as well listen to Bobby from building C on the second head and try to find something "under the table," so as to retain the free status of my apartment, and have "extra" money to use as I will.

It would suck to have to work for five bucks an hour, after paying rent for a place that I never had to before, complacency sets in. Though, that might spur me to light a fire under the asses of the maintenance guys at Sacred Heart and get my toilet and my heating and air unit fixed.

Ten years ago, before I knew how to Photoshop
There are usually brand new heating and air units sitting in the lobby of the place, waiting to go into apartments other than mine. Because mine is still working.

I have to remove the cover and flip the switch on and then shut it off an hour later when it is starting to get too chilly inside, as evidenced by Harold the cat removing himself to the bedroom, but it "works."

I wouldn't be surprised if other residents have figured out how to sabotage the things, maybe to burn out their motors somehow, in order to get a brand new one with a digital display that more resembles the 21st century, than the one I have with the display that looks "so nineteen eighties."

Well, I'm not getting any cat videos produced by sitting here and blogging...