Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Not Going To Do It At 44 Degrees

Monday/Tuesday Off
I'm in the computer room at Sacred Heart, it is about half past ten on a Tuesday night, cold enough to ward off even more tourists than it being a Tuesday night already does.

Yes, my best nights of all have come after one wealthy tourist might have thought he wouldn't be imposing upon anyone if he were to sit down for a private audience, type of thing, it being a Tuesday night, after all.

Jacob Given Furlough

Just a couple days after being caught smoking maryjane in the music room at the house where he stays, Jacob, who was not thrown out "on his face" as Bobby in building C termed it, dropped by for a visit.
He apparently is being pressured to get some kind of job by his guardian, Bob. with his being able to reside there being contingent upon it.
He is also subject to random drug testing, he said.
Readers of this blog have been introduced to the characters at play here.
So in the interest of not providing any spoilers to their story, I will not say any more.
A spoiler, in this case, is actually something that I might write which would spoil Jacob's life if Bob read it here...
Jacob is going to have to buckle down, get a job, keep his grades up, stay drug free and....I know I probably lost Jacob at "buckle down," but it is what it is...
He did tell me that Bob hasn't placed any blame upon me; I wasn't there forcing him to smoke in the music room, after lighting "a bunch of incense."
I'm not really sure if kratom was included in the ban imposed by Bob, but Jacob is really up a tree, regardless.
His alternative to Bob's house would be something like sleeping in one of the classrooms at the college, on the carpet, maybe kind of behind the podium; with a gym bag as a pillow... 
Not Going Out

I had gone out Monday and had a twenty 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Braving 51 Degrees

An Essay On Making Nine Bucks On A Sunday Night
I cheat.

...I got on my bike and cruised towards the Lilly Pad, arriving at the Quartermaster to see that Robert, the amiable white haired man who works there until midnight some nights, was in there behind the counter. This is an indication to me that I have made it there before midnight, at least.

I went in and took one of the three milk crates that were there, myself having left the third one the night before, having found it on Royal Street, which allowed me to shave about five minutes off my arrival time at the Lilly Pad because I didn't have to go and take one of their's.

As long as they have at least one crate to sit on during their breaks, I am alright, so I leave the extra ones that I come across in my travels, to keep them a spare or two in their break area.

As I was leaving, it occurred to me to turn around and be friendly towards Robert.
Jean Lafitt, pirate

He has always been such towards me, most notably at times when it seemed that the tide of friendliness was flowing against me, in general. He has always seemed to harbor even a slight bias against me based upon the backpack and guitar that I tote around. He seems to respect my profession, I would say at the least.

When I first started playing at the Lilly Pad and started to frequently arrive at that store in the wee hours of the mornings, not all of their employees didn't frown at me when I walked in, but Robert didn't.

"How're you doing, Robert?"

The old fellow lit up with what seemed like a combination of joy and embarrassment, he said that he was doing well and then uttered the incomplete sentence: "For an old..."

I asked him how old he was, the same way I might ask a cancer patient a pointed question about his malady, knowing that people actually prefer to talk about things that are actually on their minds a lot, and that it is a more ingenuous approach to a person to have an equal concern for a person, a compassion, type of thing...

Robert said that he was 70 years old and then pretty much apologized to me for being so, with a coy gesture and a turning up of the palms of his hands as if to say "I can't help it!"
He has always had snow white hair since I've known him. He looked a little pudgier around the middle than say, a year ago. I don't see him a lot, he usually works the daytime shift. But, I can din from the way that, say, the pedicab drivers address him that he is the French Quarter, to who knows what degree, might have spent all 72 years there. I might ask him about that the next time I see him.

"Well, so ninety year olds must seem like squares to you," I offered in the way of humor and in an effort to remind him that he still might have a lot of life experience left in him.

Robert seemed very happy that I had spoken to him. Had I known that it might cheer him up so, I would have done more than just give him a cursory wave on my way out with a milk crates on previous nights.

So, I got to the Lilly Pad before midnight, when there were hardly any tourists in sight on Bourbon Street.

I played and, in small numbers, they came.

From around the side of Lafitt's they came, having traveled from the direction of Dauphine Street.

From the side streets leading to Royal Street they came, most with one thought in mind: to witness the oldest bar in North America, established in 1772, by Jean Lafitt, the pirate, and his brother, Pierre.

Making 9 dollars off of so few people was a moral victory for me, and I feel like I am taking my playing to the next level.
How many more levels do I have to go before I am jamming alongside Tanya Huang and raking in enough to buy my own house in the country with goats and chickens and a huge garden with kratom trees reaching for the sky?
Not many.
As soon as I become amplified, I will start setting up at her corner at about 10 PM, after having made sure that her spot watchers knew what I was up to.
Then it would be up to me to be in full harmony when Tanya arrived at 11:30 AM, sharp, with hopefully a few people staying an listening.
Then, I would tell Tanya to go ahead and start setting her stuff up, which she would do, which would give her probably 12 minutes to hear what I was playing, and then would give us an opportunity to do a few songs together, and then that would be the next level above the level I'm at... 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A Catch 22

  • The Jacob Scardino Saga
  • Saturday Night's Amount, For Tax Purposes: 27 Dollars

In The Dog House

It was about ten minutes past eleven when I got on my bike, thinking that I wouldn't pluck my first note at the Lilly Pad until after midnight.

I don't know why I thought that, given that I once timed the trip from my apartment door to the door of the Quartermaster, where I pick up a milk crate.

I think that turned out to be a 19 minute excursion.

Of course, I had to add the amount of time that it would normally take me to transport that milk crate one pretty long block to the Lilly Pad, and so that would be, I guess, 3 or 4 more minutes.

But, since I was guessing, I never really cemented in my mind an exact figure.

Plus, I had been on my mountain bike, lighter and faster than the Trek Calypso beach cruiser, and had taken the bike trail, an almost as-the-crow-flies path to the Lilly Pad.

The beach cruiser has ten gears and none of them in the direction of the ratios that I want. My pedals are already going a mile a minute when I reach a top end of about 20 miles per hour, why would I ever need to downshift in flat as a pancake New Orleans?

And, my use of the bike trail at night kind of tapered off after I got shot in the side of the face with a paint ball about 3 years ago, now, I think...

Timing the route definitely moved the needle and gave me a better bottom line at the end of the year, because there were plenty of times that I looked at the clock wondering if it was worth it to go to the busking spot and, after having added just 19 minutes to the present time and told myself, maybe even out loud even though I was alone in the apartment: "I could be set up and playing by [insert time that doesn't seem like most of the night is already gone after adding 19 minutes to it]" and went out and had some pretty good nights, I'm sure, to go with the paint ball in the face ones...
But, it's probably still just a half hour of vigorous pedaling...

Maintaining Schedule

I had been trying to keep the same time table in place as I had when I had been running to the Uxi Duxi almost every day. There, I would sit from about sundown to about the time they closed at 10 PM.

This really meant that I would have to make a bee-line for the Lilly Pad, just to be there an hour after my longstanding regular starting time of 9:45 PM, when the piano guy inside Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern starts to tickle the keys.

And, this was having its effect on the bottom line. It was bad enough when the Uxi Duxi closed at 8 PM, and I would then sit in front of the place and blog longer using their wi-fi, usually writing at some point that I really shouldn't be sitting and blogging about busking when I could be doing it. But the 10 PM closing time was like letting out rope with which I could hang my chances of starting to busk at a decent hour. In this way, being barred from the Uxi Duxi has already been a blessing.
All the tourists seem to make it here; eventually

After having bought kratom at the Herb Shop by the ounce at their location right up the street from the Uxi Duxi, just on the other side of one of the famous commentaries, and gotten kind of a "reading" on them, I returned to Sacred Heart and did a shot of the "Bali" kratom that I had purchased by the ounce (at about 65 cents on the dollar compared to the price of it by the shot at the Uxi) and did my blogging right from the computer lab here.

The connection problem that I had been having has resolved itself, either through one of the automatic updates to the Linux system that I run, or because the system had actually been down the last time I had tried and failed to get online.

The reading that I had gotten from the Herb Shop people was enough to convince me that Den-A, who also owns that place, was behind my banishment from the Uxi Duxi.

It actually crossed my mind that I would be refused service at The Herb Shop, because it is owned by the same people. I was prepared for one of them to tell me that the owner had told them to not let me in there.
"You're the guy that goes to the Uxi Duxi a lot?"
And for any questions as to why this was so to be met with non committal vagaries like "He just said that you're not allowed in here."

It is a shitty thing to tell someone out of the blue that they are unwelcome; and then to give them no clue as to the reason.

The reason that they give no clue is most likely because they don't want to be sued over it for having violated any of the persons rights to the pursuit of happiness.

The lady who rang up my kratom, who is often seen at the Uxi Duxi -a late fifties red haired thin lady whom Jacob said he always thought "pretty hot for an older lady"- did so with her lips pursed in an attitude of "I'm not going to say anything," of the kind that kind of tips off the the person that you're not saying anything to, through its conspicuousness.

What the lips said was that she had heard about the barring and either agreed or disagreed with it, but was not going to take sides. She was keeping mum, quite visibly.

She would have heard about the banishment through the joint owner of the two places, otherwise, the subject of me wouldn't come up during one of her pop-ins at the Uxi Duxi.
She would be yet one more person not part of the "popular consensus" to bar me should she think that it is unwarranted.

After having blogged, and visited Bobby in building C, who gave me some bud, even though I had made a whopping 19 dollars the night before "...I need kitty litter and might have to buy a new nut for my guitar soon..." I rode to the Lilly Pad, experiencing a "gabapentin" pill that I had taken at the behest of Bobby, who said that it would put me in the mood to play.

It put me in the mood to play and I soared through an hour and a half set, during which I was hallucinating all kinds of things, all of them good, like a snake squiggling its way along the fret board that made for like a "follow the squiggly snake" guide to melody, and the lady whom I kept seeing out of the corner of my eye, listening approvingly, who was never there.

Jacob, my little guitar buddy, was caught smoking marijuana by his guardian Bob.
This is grounds, supposedly, for he being kicked out of that house.
There will be no more kratom, and no more trips to Daniel's to jam for Mr. Scardino, who is awaiting further orders.
The last I knew, he was given some kind of ultimatum like, get a job, start paying rent, or hit the road.

Jacob lit up a joint of weed that you can smell throughout the whole floor that Bobby lives on, picking it up as soon as you step off the elevator, inside the house.

Does that sound like a guy who wants to get caught, or what?

Jacob is straddling that fence whereby he thinks, at some level, that what he is doing is wrong, and at some other level that the people who are planting this idea in him are wrong.

It is similar to the story that I wrote here about the time that I would smoke pot and it would expand my mind and make me "aware" spiritually, but then when I would run to a spiritual person like a monk, he would tell me to come back after I had stopped smoking pot.

Pot can be a drug that causes you to have insights that may make you come to the conclusion that you really don't need pot anymore.
These resolutions to quit smoking pot usually have worn off by the time the pot buzz does.

It's a Catch-22.

Jacob has texted me, asking how many days a guest can stay at Sacred Heart.
I will note that the last time Jacob left Bob's house, it lasted about 4 hours, before Jacob went back because he was hungry or something...

Saturday, January 26, 2019

No More Kicking Out Jams?

An 18 Dollar Friday Night / Saturday Morning

It was 1 AM when I finally arrived at the Lilly Pad on a night that was cold enough to be right at the edge of buskability.
It must have been 45 degrees, which is just 2 degrees above the point that I had established almost 10 years ago in Jacksonville, Florida, where it typically goes down into the upper thirties on a typical January night, and where I discovered that the fingers start to sting and get numb as the mercury plummets to 43 and that each degree below that can be felt as if by becoming a human thermometer, and that at 38 degrees it will become hard to squeeze the pick enough to hold onto it, and you would have been reduced to playing only the three chords that were probably the first couple that you learned as a new student of the guitar, C and G7.

But, last night was an almost comfortable 49 that dropped into a chill that I could feel if I stopped playing for more than a minute of just above the finger stinging range.

So, playing from 1 AM until about 3:20 AM, and netting 18 bucks was a respectable $7.71 per hour on a night about as slow as Friday's come.
I was playing in the time slot three hours after I might normally be quitting.

Now, there is no time to rest.

Jacob Scardino's Dilemna

Jacob Scardino had a blow dealt to the stability of his housing situation when Bob his guardian walked into the music room and caught Jake toking on a joint.
It's kind of hard to smoke weed right under someone's nose like that, if they have one.
Of course his guitar buddy, Daniel took some heat: "I trusted Daniel because I thought he was kinda looking out for you. Now I find out he was smoking with you..." type of thing.
Jacob doesn't know if Bob is going to kick him out.

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Search For A New Uxi Duxi

So, the only thing that I can think of that fits chronologically with my being barred from Uxi Duxi; and which fits the scenario of Addie being the one who perhaps wanted to be the one to lower the boom on me, was that the comment left on the blog which was defamatory, originated with someone connected with the Uxi Duxi, and it was at this time the seed was planted, in some way.
It is possible that whomever left it returned to the blog, perhaps to see if I had deleted the comment, or if it had cause some kind of stir, if he might see a laundry list of comments left by all forty people who read the blog at least once every six months, saying things to the effect of: OMG, I never would have been reading your blog at least once every six months had I known that you are the monster that anonymous seems to imply that you are!"
And so that person saw my rebuttal to the comment and, if he were to have fact checked it, then he might have begrudgingly let me continue to dine upon kratom at his vanity business, just in the interest of justice, or whatever.
The person probably ran my name through some service offered on the web where you can do a "background check" upon a person, for a low fee.
The owner of a business like the Uxi Duxi might conceivably be aware of such services.
I figure that, what a service like that probably does is present the guy who just paid five bucks with a bunch of general information designed to entice them into spending more to get the details.
A fun place to hang out turns un-fun
So, by only presenting information such as that I was arrested about twenty times in Duval, County, Florida, alongside the information that I was once arrested in Mobile, Alabama for possession of child porn, I am giving the person credit for perhaps not having wanted to pay a larger fee in order to see court transcripts for all the misdemeanors from Jacksonville.
Again, for a homeless guy, this is not a lot of arrests over a ten year period.

Whomever it was seemed to have the charges on the two felonies that I was arrested for, with the other one having been for fraud, for using the Virginia drivers license of a dear departed friend of mine, another felony that was reduced to a "slap on the wrist" after it came to light that I was using the license only, besides driving around, to keep a job delivering pizza, as my regular Daniel license had accumulated more points for moving violations within a twelve month period than allowed by Dominos Pizza, where I was doing alright delivering to millionaires in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Now, by skirting the Dominos regulation, one might think I was endangering the public by placing a driver on the road whose accumlation of too many points within a twelve month period is a demonstration of his unfitness to be within their employ, as he will be too much of an insurance risk, etc.

Living In Your Car For Dummies

I reasoned around this by noting that, at the time I lived in my car.

When I wasn't delivering pizza in it, it was parked in some secluded and dark location with its passenger seat slid forward, its back rocked forward against the glove box and with a gym bag full of clothes stuffed into the foot well of the back seat which was also flattened to open the trunk, with me fully stretched out upon an air mattress, so that my fingertips were touching the glove box, and my feet were right by the rear left tail light,  having sweet dreams of how I would like to spend all that pizza delivery money that I didn't have to hand to some fat landlord.

One of my favorite sleeping spot ideas was to park my Saturn at a car dealership, right in line with all the other used cars for sale, and with a big flap with a decent price on it in the windshield to block out light. That was usually good only until six in the morning; some car dealers start their day pretty early.

So, when you live in your car, you are on the road a lot. So much so that the Dominos Pizza limit on points for moving violations really needs to be flexible enough to allow for drivers who also live in their cars.

I had just made the adjustment for them, and was putting myself on the road with the squeaky clean license that only a dead man could manage in Jacksonville, Florida, where the cops will pull you over if you merely linger a second or two at a light after it changes green. Just making sure you are alright, type of thing.

But, it was fraud and a felony. So, is that why they didn't hire me at Uxi Duxi?
I figured that it was just because of my appearance, that.

So, I think that the comment came from someone connected with Uxi.

The emphasis placed upon me "going around acting like you are this starving artist so that people give you things" was a huge clue to the likely source of it.

This has a "present tense" sound to it like it was made by someone who sees me regularly.

And, one night Addie had asked me questions about my living arrangements, starting with "How long were you homeless?" after I had answered her first question of "Are you homeless?"

I think she thought that I was a totally useless homeless person who was only in the Uxi Duxi because of Jacob, a friend whom she has seen paying for my kratom shot, when I wasn't plunking down the four dollars and thirty eight cents out of my own pocket.

When I was in there for what would turn out to be the last time, ever, eternally, forever, I had told Chloe that I needed to wait for Jacob to arrive because he was going to pay for my shot, I saw a visible reaction in her, like a chill went through her of some sort. She clammed up. She became mum in a way that impeded the flow of the conversation for just a second; but it was long enough for me to have gleaned that other people paying for my shots was an issue of some sort.

Maybe the subject had come up at the Uxi meeting about bums trying to panhandle Uxi customers and what should the barista do, tell the bum to go away and to not ever skeeze people who are sitting at the clearly marked "Uxi customers only," all others will be towed, tables?

And, so, I think I offended on two fronts; having another customer pay for my kratom, and having said "We need to build that wall," which caused Addie, who was mopping the floor and who had been chatting with me to turn angry and almost yell: "What does building the wall have to do with educating kids?!?"

Am I a Trump supporter?
There's just an un-real-ness to the whole thing...

It's hard to teach kids who are coming to school hungry. Maybe they are hungry because their dad is laid off because an undocumented immigrant is doing his job for actually more money than the guy was taking home (after taxes) because the employer is not liable for Workman's Comp and doesn't have to worry about a morass of paperwork involving the IRS and is happy to just fork over good old cash at the end of every day or week.
Of course if the undocumented worker does fall off the roof, then he will be whisked away in an ambulance and given some of the finest emergency care in the world, at the expense of a taxpayer already burdened with paying unemployment benefits to the kid's dad -remember him?

The U.S. currency that the worker makes will be sent to perhaps Mexico, or somewhere else where it will be worth multiple times the local money -just throw a dart at a map of the world; or wait another couple years before you throw the dart, then it might be a can't miss situation- so that it, unfortunately, won't be circulating in the domestic economy.

That will mean less hiring ultimately, with less money going around, so the kid's dad or mom might not be able to find a job in the interim while he waits for an opportunity to utilize his trade. This might be a long wait because the undocumented workers have a knack for monopolizing a job site, making it so there winds up being a whole crew of them, with not one U.S. citizen on-site.

But, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If we were to pull our military out of Afghanistan and Syria, then the money that could stay in our country could buy and sell the unemployment benefits program a hundred times over.

But, aren't there a lot of billionaires who have gotten and who continue to get rich through our country's "war effort?" It would take a real a**hole of a president to want to kill that cash cow and piss off all those billionaires and get on the wrong side of Boeing and Northrop Grumman etc.
Even if that money could do great things if kept on our side of the fence. Er, speaking metaphorically, of course, hee hee. 
So, I'm not sure if I am a Trump supported, he seems to be turning into an asshole.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Ux Of The Matter

  • 13 Dollar Tuesday
  • And, Furthermore... about being “banned” from the Uxi Duxi...

I played for an hour and made the above amount, replacing half of what I had spent during the day.

The Uxi Matter Doesn't, Really

I had a feeling from the very beginning -soon after the Uxi Duxi opened- now that I think of it, that I was on borrowed time there.
I wasn't gay, for one thing.
It turns out that the place is very much a vanity business, an extension of the ego of one Dennis something who goes by the pseudonym Den-A.
When Den-A told them they were to bar me then it became "by popular consensus," I figure.

I guess the staff there really are at his beck and call, perhaps because they are tidbits that Den-A picked up and dusted off and "gave a start to."

This intelligence came to me after I had applied for a job there, with the summary dismissal of my application seeming to come from somewhere on the second floor of the place, where Den-A lives and where Nathaniel either does or did at one time.

From where it seemed Den-A had led the latter out from before unleashing him to walk over to me and bar me.

If Den-A was trying to add injury to insult by having Nathaniel add that it was by "popular consensus" that I was being asked to leave, then he failed, as all that did was inform me that the decision to bar me came from him alone. Well, him and Addie, the new manager who seems to have issues pertaining to being taken advantage of.

Why else would all the other members of the supposed consensus have been in the dark about the banishment?

This may have been said so that I wouldn't go there when someone other than Addie was working. Don't even try it, none of them want you here, type of thing. But all it did was tip Den-A's hand and inform me that there is only one person behind the thing.

A really friendly person...

Only a person with a huge ego and an external frame of reference would think that it would be hurtful to tell a person basically that "everyone hates you."

I guess that is what would hurt the person with the ego.

This puts that worthy back near the top of the list of possible authors of the defamatory comment left on this blog about a month ago.

He offered my "guitar buddy," Jacob a hundred bucks if he could cut his hair to a specific length of "number 3," whatever that is.

This turned into a skin crawling occasion for Jacob who wound up having to firmly rebuff the homosexual advances of the high potentate of the Uxi Duxi.

Den-A with, it turns out,
one of his puppets, Nathaniel

I had discovered early on that the place was going to be very much anti-skeezer.

It seemed like a vanity business opened up by Den-A, the owner.

Unlike Starbucks, which seems to have in place the humanitarian (for lack of a better word) policy of allowing anyone to breath the air without having to buy something and which happens to be a place where you have to keep close tabs on your belongings, the Uxi Duxi was always pretty jealous of its space, having stenciled warnings upon the often unoccupied tables that sit in front, and never having let 3 minutes elapse between a person entering and that person being asked if they are going to buy something.

My guess is that I am also being scapegoated as the reason why the business might be slowly going belly up.

Just as messengers used to be slain when they brought bad news, customers who spend the least might make convenient targets for getting out frustrations over not making ends meet.

Addie may have seen me as being a living taunt to her over her failure to increase sales. Rather than blame herself and the vibe she emits for having driven off most of the regular customers who used to hang out in the evenings; it might be easier to point at a guy who spends only four dollars a day in the place and blame me for the slumping sales.

There is nothing that you can get at Uxi Duxi that cannot be gotten cheaper online. It is only the atmosphere that would make anyone want to hang out there. Even the music that Addie plays over the sound system is not up to snuff. I don't think she likes music.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

After 2 Years, Barred From The Uxi Duxi

It was a smiling and flamboyantly dressed Nathaniel, the general manager of the Uxi Duxi who was standing in front of me, after he had exited through the gate that leads to the office somewhere on the second floor.

The owner had walked out with Nathaniel, but then had retreated back up the wrought iron steps after having exchanged a brief word with him.

"I'm here to tell you that you are barred from the Uxi Duxi, and that it's by popular concensus. You are no longer welcome at the Uxi Duxi and I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't loiter around the premises!"

This is the same smiling Nathaniel who had regularly given me a slice of pineapple in my half shot of kratom.

The same one whom I had asked Chloe to text, so that I could tell him that Addie, the new(est) manager had asked me, when I had been packing up my stuff Thursday night, if I would "not come back."

Addie said that there had been complaints about me by customers. She said that she wasn't comfortable going into the specifics of the complaints.

She couldn't tell me which customers complained.

She added that I had been "mean" to a customer.

When pressed a bit further, although I had had a good mind to not react to her any more than I would have if she had said "Be careful riding your bike home," she boiled it down to: "You hardly spend anything, and then you sit for five or six hours using the wi-fi!"

So, I showed up on Friday and confirmed from Chris, who evinced no signs of being among the "popular consensus," that Addie is indeed the new manager, having unseated Chris himself from that lofty position.

Chris' advice to me was to "Talk to Nathaniel."

So, Saturday, I showed up hoping to do so.

Chloe, evidently not a member either of the popular consensus, seemed surprised and a bit shocked that Addie would have done such a thing.

And so she texted Nathaniel, who walked out with Den-A the owner with him as if to bolster his courage or to remind him not to use any specific language which could in a court of law be used in a descrimination lawsuit by myself, "who heretofore will be referred to as the second party," type of thing.

There had been, a couple nights before she barred me, an occurrence of me saying: "We need to build that wall!" which I had said kind of sarcastically, and in response to something that is totally peripheral to any issues surrounding the building or not building of the wall on the U.S./ Mexican border.

Addie had flipped out and started to sputter: "What does the wall have to do with the education of inner city kids?!?"

Nothing really, and that's why I thought she might get the irony.

"Can you just not come back?"
That is certainly something that Dineh might have coached Nathaniel not to mention.

"Patron barred from kava bar for supporting Trump" might just be the viral headline I've been waiting my whole life for, though....

Other theories: That they want the place to be "upscale" in every way and are even going to start putting pressure on the lower middle class working stiffs that go in there who are a step above me.

That Dineh, the owner is trying to get back at my friend Jacob for having snubbed his homosexual advances...

One of the other ironies is that the "five or six hours" that I have been accused of bilking the establishment for in exchange for the minimum purchase has often been augmented by my having stayed around for the last half hour or so before they closed, rather than packing up and riding off, leaving Addie, a defenseless woman, alone in the place, guarding at least five thousand dollars worth of merchandise that would fit in a pillow case.

This prompted her to snap: "You need to leave right now!" one time when I was still in there at a minute past the hour.

And, she has chewed people out for using the restroom without buying anything, calling one young African American in particular who looked like she and her whole party were from "the hood," "disrespectful."

The guy's she was with had been leaning over the glass case, probably making note of the price tags on things, while feigning a curiosity over "what that is," and "what that?"

And for Addie to have cussed out the ghetto queen like that...Lord have mercy on her soul.

Surely it crossed their minds what a nice lick could be had there. And how easily they could be in and out, especially when Addie is in there by her lonesome, and how it would be payback for having cussed out his girlfriend.

Yup, I saw the whole thing brewing.

Maybe I'm a bit more skeezer smart than Addie. Plus, I had stepped outside for a cigarette, which gave me the advantage of being able to hear the tones of voice used in reference to "that bitch," who had cussed one of them out.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Permission From Lilly

  • Afternoon Rights To Lilly Pad Given To Guy From Paris
  • 19 Dollar Wednesday Afternoon

I highly doubt that the FM radio has, hidden within its signal, subliminal data designed to hypnotize, then program, an individual who falls asleep with the radio on, but...

I am, however, going to stop sleeping with the radio on.

I have heard both sides of the argument; some people say that you continue to learn while you sleep and you might wake up ready to excel on Jeopardy if you put NPR on the radio before drifting off.

And then there are those like myself who believe that we are probably listening for sounds like a twig snapping in the nearby woods that was stepped on by a tiger while we sleep, and that we have a way of accounting for other benign sounds like the constant gurgle of a nearby stream going over a waterfall, and ignoring them while we are on the alert for unfamiliar sounds.

I guess the idea is that the radio will become a familiar sound, even though there is a constantly changing variety of sounds coming out of it, with the commercials being engineered to get someone's attention, and that the radio will block out the quieter sounds that might interrupt sleep, since they sound more like a tiger stepping on a twig.

No more radio while I sleep..

Thinking About My Age A Lot

I wind up thinking about my age and identifying with it the same way, I suppose, that I accuse the older black guys around here of doing the same thing about their race.
He walks around thinking: "Yeah, I'm black, that's right." and sees the world through that lens. Every way he is treated is just an example of how people are going to treat a black man. He goes into the store not to buy a beer, but rather to see if they'll sell a black man a beer, type of thing.

But, I am walking along thinking: “Wow, I’m fifty six years old...” while he walks around thinking “Here comes a black man, down your street!”

I catch myself doing that.

One of the inescapable things about aging is that, to some degree, you start to see life as being similar to watching a movie, in the sense that you can kind of tell when the movie is getting near the end.
Certainly, after the dog comes home and the family is once again happily reunited, then you know there is probably only one more scene coming before the credits start to roll.
And, you can also check your watch to see if the average movie length of 111 minutes, or whatever it is, has just about elapsed.

But, it's hard not to do the same thing given the statistics about the average life expectancy of humans.

"This should be almost over," someone might say after looking at their watch in the theater.
As a 56 year old, there is that same kind of cloud that hangs over me.

I think about age too much, I think. Let's see if a 56 year old can get a can of cat food...

What bugs me is this: Aren't we humans advancing technologically at an exponential rate and isn't it almost a given that, at some point in the future, we will be able to dig up the bones of our ancestors and clone them back into life?

And the family can be happily reunited?

If this is the case, then some of the dead bones buried in cemeteries now might belong to people who are going to be alive in the future, having been cloned by people who aren't born yet. It's something to think about.

So, does the fact that I am stuck on this planet mean that nobody is going to clone me at any point in the future, perhaps using the patterns of my vocals from Youtube videos thousands of years old? Because if the are going to, then wouldn't I be alive way in the future right now?

Maybe I am alive in the future but only have access to all the memories from this life I lived before my bones were dug up and myself cloned. So, the only way I can experience life is by reliving the memories from this life. And this is indistinguishable from living them.

Maybe this is why we should be fruitful and multiply. Perhaps it is through our descendants that our best chance of being cloned back into life lies. They are the ones who might buy a package from the lab where that kind of thing is done, in order to clone their whole family tree back to life for one low cost.

Us unmarried and childless loners must create some kind of work of art that will distinguish us that someone in the future might see and deem us worthy of being cloned back into life.
Santo At The Lilly Pad

Lilly had texted me maybe a year ago asking me why I never played in the afternoons.

I thought this might have been because she had gone back to sitting on the stoop where I play, sipping wine and become loquacious with the tourists that walked past.

This is something that used to happen about 4 years ago when I would play in the afternoons.

I would play in the afternoons because I would have woken up under the wharf in my sleeping bag in the late morning, probably when the angle of the rising sun was such that its reflection off the Mississippi River would be blinding.

The motion of the water and the tiny waves in the river would put the reflection of the sun in motion so that it would turn the wall that held up the wharf into a dazzling light show in which could be seen stuff to rival any shadows on any walls that might ever have been seen by any cave dwellers.

I probably would drift back to sleep, but then be up having an energy drink shortly before the Natchez steam boat would leave at eight minutes past one; this would be punctuated with a blast from the steam horn, which was as good as any alarm clock at a distance of 100 feet.

And, so, being a drinker then, I would have waited for the boat to leave and for all the people who had remained in the area to wave goodbye to people who were sailing off and, of course, to get pictures of the boat in action as it pulled away, to go with the photos of “Uncle Louie,” a wharf fixture.
A fixture at the wharf

This routine routinely placed me in the area of the Lilly Pad in the early afternoons, with myself probably working on my second 24 ounce can of “the strongest” malt liquor available at the lowest price, based upon a percentage of alcohol vs. dollar analysis that I would have done.

And so, sure, when Lilly would come out and sit near me as I played, her glass of wine in hand, and it being the middle of a typical week on just a normal summer day with the only reason there was something going on, being that there is always something going on in the French Quarter, these became special times, when I flirted with Lilly and we bonded and she told me that I could play on her stoop to the exclusion of any other musician.

But, with my moving in to Sacred Heart Apartments, those days of sitting with Lilly in the afternoons became numbered.

But, yesterday, I was in the mood to play in the afternoon. I was broke, and my sleeping schedule had been inverted and I had woken up well rested around noon.

Something told me to text Lilly that I was in the mood to play in the afternoon and was headed her way.

This text would have reached her right before she came out and told Santo, a horn player from Paris, that he could have sole rights to the Lilly Pad in the afternoons.

He has been playing there in the afternoons for a while, I found out.

This is good for him.

It does take playing there in the afternoons off the table for me though, even though it has been something like 3 years since I last went there at that time to play.

What happened was that I arrived there and encountered Santo, who was there with his horn and a lady friend, whom I didn’t see with any instrument.

I explained to him how the block was residential and that, technically, busking is illegal there without the busker having obtained permission from basically every resident on the block, and that I had gotten such permission from Lilly, etc.

Santo, who is kind of a small guy, and his lady friend, who was even smaller, said that they just wanted peace and love for everybody in the world, but that Lilly had just come out and told them “the same thing” as what I had said; that they then had exclusive rights to the spot, because Lilly liked their music and that they even had the right to run other musicians off.

I called Lilly and got her voice mail, then sent her a text telling her that there was a horn player from Paris at the spot and that I had told him what I had.

At this point, Santo and his friend left voluntarily, but not before he protested that things didn't work like that in Paris.

I went to get a milk crate.

When I got back, Santo and the lady were gone, and Lilly was standing on the sidewalk.

“No, Daniel!” she said.

“I told them they could play, you’re never here in the afternoon!”

So, Lilly had indeed given them the spot in the afternoons, something she might have hesitated to do had I texted her that I was on my way.

“You can play at night,” Lilly said then asked where they were.
They had disappeared.
She was going to tell them to go ahead and play and tell me to come back at night.

Now I owe the guy an apology.

The guy has been playing there a while, long enough to probably have shared wine with Lilly and to have found a soft spot in her heart, sharing accounts of his life of being a busker from Paris in New Orleans.

I sat down and played.

I felt slightly hurt, as if Lilly had abandoned me in some way, but then considered that Lilly was doing the same thing for them that she has done for me.

I found myself playing very well.

The thought that Lilly liked the guy's music was reverberating in my head and I tried to play my very best.

There really weren’t many tourists at all and I made the bulk of the 19 bucks that I did in the last of the 3 hours that I played.

Six bucks an hour, we had been bickering over.

I got tips out of a high percentage of the few tourists that there were; at least a buck from every groug of 4 or 5 that walked by -maybe they took turns throwing the buck, representing all of them.

It was 7:55 PM when I decided to wrap up, because it didn’t promise to get any busier, and because of my early start I had two hours to make it to the Uxi Duxi for a shot of kratom before they closed.

This gave me an opportunity to ride the Lafitt’s Greenway Bike Trail its entire length, as it starts about 5 blocks from the Lilly Pad and then runs pretty much perfectly straight to nearby the Uxi Duxi, perhaps a 3 mile trek.

One that I covered in 20 minutes.

There was no use stopping to grab my laptop, so my blog readers suffered...

I had told Lilly that I thought it was really great that she was helping the French guy out, and that it would be good for me to monopolize the spot with the help of another person.
If he is there, he can pass the spot off to me, rather than if some other random guy is.

I could even start showing up around the time he typically knocks off, thereby forming an airtight seal around the Lilly Pad.

I could also take Bobby up on his offer to finance some equipment for me so I could go into the Irish Pub where Johnny B. used to make fifty bucks in three hours, plus tips, and try to get a gig.
A little more compelling than washing dishes, maybe.

Monday, January 14, 2019

19 Years Ago Today

I had left Phoenix on a hot late July day in the summer of 1999. It had been 115 degrees.
I had called my mom to check in and inform her that the cab company had laid me off.
Welcome To Flagstaff, Hope You Brought A Jacket...
They apparently used the doldrums of the slow summer tourist season to pare down their crew of drivers and to basically have less cabs on the road competing for the same fares.
This was like a plum for those drivers whom they were supporting in this way, so that they could maintain their status, support their families etc. through this time of year when hardly any tourists show up to swelter in the 113 degree air, and to try to hike up camelback mountain or ride horses through Hollywood inspired fake settings of corrals, and take cabs to and fro...
For the driver who came out of a cave in South Mountain, well, there was that time when he was picking up passengers with a sleeping young lady in the passenger seat.
Technically, when you are renting a cab, you own the thing. You can tell the driver to go left or right or straight, you can load your purchases from Lowe's into its trunk and then tell the driver to go left.
And it is kind of in the fine print somewhere that the car should be yours solely to occupy.
This presents itself more in the case of when you are working downtown and already have a passenger who is en-route to wherever and you get a call about someone wanting to, say, go to the airport, which is in the same direction as where you are going and is a huge fare, say, 65 dollars, and you have to reject the fare because you already have a passenger, who owns the cab.
But, sensing your plight, your passenger, who might be of a good nature, and maybe even drunk, might tell you that he has no objection to you picking up a person who wants to go to the airport and making a good chunk of money, provided that the person has no objection to riding part of the way with a person of good nature and maybe even drunk also in the cab.
But, in my case, I had had at least one complaint about the beautiful 16 year old "Erica" slumbering away in my passenger seat.
It wasn't the twenty something guy who had made a sound as if he had just bitten into a caramel upon the sight of her who had lodged the complaint, I am guessing.
It was 113 degrees outside.
"I'm letting her get some sleep, she was stuck outside," I would say something like.
And, there was the complaint from the bank where I had walked into to pick up a fare, and had lost my cool and cussed after learning that whomever it was had gotten a ride, or something.
It wasn't their problem that I was working a cab in July in Phoenix and that I had driven far enough to the bank to have cut into the profit from any fare I might have gotten out of the bank, and that I was sleep deprived because even in my cave the daytime temperatures were in the mid nineties making any sleep gotten feel somehow not effective enough, and that I was further stretching myself in trying to support a beautiful girl who went by the name of Erica.
And so, I had cussed out nobody in particular at the bank and probably deserved to be one of the ones laid off so that the remaining drivers could make a living and support their families...
So, I was on the phone with my mom talking about that when she mentioned that I sounded very distant and "out of it" and, after I explained that the only way I could get any sleep in Phoenix in July was to leave my cab running with the air conditioner cranked and get sleep that way, which was not at a bad rate; the cost of the gas to keep a Crown Victoria idling with the AC cranked, times eight hours...maybe about 13 dollars in gas for a night's sleep in the back seat of a cab.
But then, that left only 4 hours on the lease of the cab to make at least the 57 dollars just to possess it, maybe just so you could sleep in it the following "night."
And, when you have the beautiful Erica knocking at the passenger window, her having divined your location at the top of Dobbin's Peak in the parking lot, then you might as well add the cost of a can of Dr. Pepper with a cup of ice to your running expenses...
Mom implored me to "get out of there" before I was made irretrievably goofy by the heat. She grew up in Vermont.
So, to the Greyhound station I went, and was soon on a bus headed for Flagstaff, Arizona, where I spent the first night shivering in air 60 degrees colder than what was in Phoenix.
I wound up going back to the bus station to sleep, pretending that I was waiting for a bus in the morning, and buying a ticket for Las Vegas to prove it, after the security guy needed to see it to allow me to sleep there.
I actually had a light jacket, but it did hardly anything to keep me warm in the 52 degree air.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

20 Years Ago Today, The Blog

Over The River And Through The Hoods; To Howard's House, I Go

The Patriot's game kicked off at noon, our time, which is Central Standard Time.

This kind of sucked, because I had woken up, refreshed and ready to sit and stare at the wall with a blank mind, at a bright and early 9 AM.

Immediately, I began to perceive a rising feeling of apprehension in my chest.

This was due to the fact that, had the Patriots game been the late one, and not the early one, I would have been at my leisure in getting over there.

This might have translated into my stopping for a shot of kratom and to check a nearby ashtray where a guy puts out half smoked cigarettes of hand rolled American Spirit tobacco.

Then I could have arrived at Howard's with my mind focused by kratom and with at least some tobacco to step outside and smoke after having had food encouraged upon me by Berta.

But, a 12 minute bike ride to the hub of bus activity that is Elk Place brought me face to face with a 101 that had just pulled up with an empty bike rack, and then about 15 minutes later, I was dropped off 3 minutes away from Howard's.

I had made the trip just about as fast as it can be made.

 Maybe all the Cheetoz and Pepsi and Jack In The Box sausages that haven't killed him, have made him stronger.

I gave Howard the information that Berta is worried about having to bury him in a pauper's grave should he somehow pass away.

I did this by writing it out, so I wouldn't have to yell the sensitive details of the conversation to him, and the rest of the house.

Howard has a good chunk of money, but is tight with it.

He has never given me any details about just how much he has in the stock market, but he let slip once a story about how he had had a premonition about taking his money out and moving it into a money market account at a certain point in the Obama presidency, but had not followed his gut.

It had ended up costing him about fifteen thousand dollars, he said.
A check of the market at the time of the crash he was talking about yields the data that the market dropped 28% on that day.

So, my eight grade algebra tells me that Howard must have had about fifty three thousand in the market at that time.

Since the market has rebounded since then and yadda yadda, I come up with the educated guess of him being worth about 80 grand these days.

This accounts for the money he used to take the cruise to Alaska last year; one that he hadn't enjoyed very much, partly because he saw only one eagle.

You have to go live out there in the woods, Howard. The eagles will get used to you and come closer and closer....

That has got to be at least a passing thought for Berta and Ken; to wonder about whether or not Howard is going to leave them any money in his will. People can't help but think of such things.

They, of course, would have to factor in their odds of even outliving the stalwart Dutchman. Maybe all the Cheetoz and Pepsi and Jack In The Box sausages that haven't killed him, have made him stronger.

So, I passed the note to Howard while we were watching the game, after having asked to borrow a sheet of paper and a pen.

I was aware that he was probably thinking that whatever I was writing was something that I was trying to keep from the ears of Berta and Ken.

I joked about them worrying about him being hit by a car because he is so deaf "as if people honk their horns as a warning and then run you over if you don't heed it," I wrote.


He is going to get some kind of will drawn up, stating his desire to be cremated. And, I guess will show them a copy. And so my job there is done.

Leaving that cheerful atmosphere after watching a satisfying Patriot's victory, I met with my 21 year old friend, Jacob back at the apartment.

He didn't want to have to buy something at the Uxi Duxi just to sit and hang out with me, and so that is where I am now, having made the minimum purchase of a half shot of kratom in order to get what wound up being an hour and a half to do this.

Jacob and I didn't talk about wills at all, but rather about our latest recording project. The music just keeps getting better and better; which makes me wonder what degree of room for improvement it started out with. LOL

20 Years Ago Today, cont...

I guess, twenty years ago today would have been my second day of driving the Yellow cab in Phoenix, Arizona.
I would have already begun excavating the cave that I would live in, up in South Mountain.

The temperatures in mid January would get down to the high thirties at night, but would always hover around fifty degrees by noon.

I would find that the smallest of fires would keep my cave just under eighty degrees, and that any dead wood that I might gather from the surrounding area would be extremely dry and would burn clean and hot.

The wind at night came from a consistent direction, so it was easy for me to figure out which end of the cave to drape the heavy blanket over to buffer the wind and which end to put the fire pit in. The blanket/wind combination provided just the right carburetor to keep the fire, just right, as Goldilocks might say.
Squirrels became my friends. I ate a lot of peanuts in the shell; they ate a lot of peanuts in the shell.

So many did they eat, that my knees were cushioned, as I crawled out of my tunnel like entrance by a mat of pulverized peanut shells.

This had the unwanted side effect of attracting the mice that only came out after dark, and within minutes of it falling.

Because there is so little moisture in the atmosphere in Phoenix, there is hardly a period of dusk at all. The sky just offers a pale reflection of the setting sun, and then it is like pulling the cord attached to a lamp.

There is a bit of the silhouette of the horizon right around the area where the sun has just sunk, but mostly just darkness and suddenly appearing stars.

And suddenly appearing mice, after whatever peanut crumbs the squirrels might have dropped in their haste to fill their cheeks then run off.

This is what made the 4 foot diamondback rattlesnake decide to move to under the rock not far from my entrance, and not far off the path that I walked.

But, there is a difference between someone who lives in a place, as I did, and someone who might just be blundering along the trail, just passing through, and the rattlesnake seemed to know this and have ruled me out as a threat.

My dropping corn chips in front of the rock so that it could snag a mouse might have earned me brownie points, and the thing stopped even rattling when I went past at 4 in the morning, or whenever I had gotten off my 12 hour cab shift, bought provisions and then arrived at my condo.

One cool thing about the cave was that there was about fifty feet of solid granite between me and the sun during most of the day. I was on the shady side of the rock.

On winter nights when the temperature outside would drop to an uncomfortable chill, the heat from the sun hitting the other side of the rock would have radiated through the rock and would be exuding through the wall of my cave on that side, keeping it about 12 degrees warmer than it was just a few feet outside the cave.
I can remember going out to tend to some food on a fire and feeling a dreadful chill that made me want to put on a jacket, but then crawling back inside the cave to be comfortable in a tee shirt.

That would have been in late January, early February.

The first rattlesnake, I saw on February 18th, which was also the first date that the temperature had gone over 80 degrees since the previous fall.

I would enjoy staying up in the mountain for a couple, or three, days at a time, working on the cave, doing watercolor drawings, or just sunning myself. I had no guitar, but got myself a recorder, so I could be "a guy tooting away on a recorder in a cave" -which is its own reward- a cave that was once inhabited by the keeper of the calendar for the Hopi Indians, and had the artwork in the form of petroglyphs to prove it.

This would be a great life for me.


Meditating in the sun, living on fish and sauteed vegetables done over a fire with a bottle of red wine to wash it down, and hauling heavy rocks up a mountain to use in the construction of the cave all conspired to bring me a blessing of health and vigor.

I was picking up a lot of young ladies in my cab who seemed attracted to the healthy vibe I exuded or maybe it was the scent of rattlesnakes, and who would invariably ask me what part of Phoenix I lived in.

This might have been a test for what my station in life was, what kind of neighborhood I could afford to live in, type of thing.

I always would tell them, honestly, that I lived "on the South Side, near South Mountain," and wouldn't elaborate more, but would have left them, perhaps, with an impression of the mansions and ranches that I overlooked from where I sat outside the entrance to my cave. South Mountain is an affluent part of town...

The irony was that, when I finally had women interested in me taking them home, I had no home; finally.

I would say finally, because my "decent" into homelessness started with me going from my own apartment to renting a room in a house owned by friends to living in my car that I delivered pizza in also, to getting the job driving a cab that I had to turn in at the end of the night and couldn't sleep in.

So, the cave was my first foray into sleeping outside. Under a beautiful display of stars -there is a reason the best telescopes are often set up in deserts- and a million dollar view of Phoenix.

Coming Next:

It gets just too damned hot, even for sleeping in a cave by the end of July, plus I lose the cab driving job when the tourist season slows down, and so I take the 11 hundred dollars that I have to show for the five month frolic, and head for the hills (of Flagstaff).

Saturday, January 12, 2019

20 Years Ago Today

  • 13 Dollar Friday
  • The Keeper Of The Calendar

20 years ago today, I had just gotten a job driving a Yellow Cab in Phoenix, Arizona.

I had arrived in that city on December 22nd, and had gone up into the mountain to fast and meditate for the ten days leading up to the new year, upon which there would also be a new moon.

Coming down from the mountain on the first day of the year, I had gotten a room at the YMCA downtown for 85 bucks a day.

There, I had broken a two week fast with a few cups of red clover tea, and felt a bliss like few others.

On January 12th, I had finally procrastinated long enough, after having arrived with just shy of a thousand bucks on me, that I was down to 50 fifty cents in my pocket after I paid the lease on a Yellow Cab for a 12 hour shift. It was 57 dollars, but 5 of that went into a deposit every day which the driver got back whenever he quit, if he hadn't damaged any of the cabs and was at fault for doing so.

The gas tank was almost empty when I got the car, so much so, that I had to sit and wait for my first fare to pop up right around the cab station.

One popped up and I drove about 3 blocks to pick it up -it was a young Latina lady, and an opportunity for me to practice my Spanish words for "straight," "left" and "right- and then brought her to her destination about 3 miles away using some of my last few drops of gas.

After she paid me the six dollars that her fare was, I drove to the nearest gas station where the cab, as if on cue, ran out of gas so I had to push it a few feet to one of the pumps.

I put the six bucks in the tank, pouring a little in the carburetor to help start it after it had run dry, and then I never looked back.

It would make for a pretty good life, driving the cab for 12 hour shifts and living in a cave up Dobbins Peak a little ways, one that I was expanding the dimensions of with a chisel a little bit each day.

Loading my backpack with groceries, wine, tin foil, lamp oil, candles, food for the chipmunks and squirrels and other assorted things designed to make living in a cave easier, I would take the bus to the end of its line and then hike about a mile and a half to where my cave was.

The cave could only be gotten to by jumping from one particular rock over about a 3 foot gap -if you couldn't make the full 3 feet then you would plummet about 50 feet through the gap- to another one. From there you could walk around under the cap of a giant mushroom shaped rock, which had gotten that shape through erosion over the centuries.
The entrance to my cave was a tunnel under a large flat rock that sat at ground level. This could be covered by dragging another flat round rock that fit over it like a lid.

Often, I would hear the voices of people who had not jumped to the layer of rock that I was on at the one spot where I did. They would be about 40 feet below me with no way to get up to where I was, or they would be somewhere above me.
There were petroglyphs on the rocks around where I wound up making my cave.
I did this by carving out, using the chisel, as much of the sandstone that I could, which was clogging up the gaps between the hard pinkish grey granite which formed the outline of the cave.

This wound up being only a bit bigger than a two man tent, but it had a fireplace, was rain-proof and afforded me a million dollar view of the city of Phoenix.

On the morning of March 21st, I heard voices outside my cave.
Crawling out through the entrance I had made by tunneling under a rock, I encountered a couple of students from Arizona State University.

They were there to verify that upon that spring equinox day, the sun did indeed rise smack dab through the middle of a notch that had been cut out of the top of the mountain to the east, if viewed from the perspective of a spike of rock that had been erected in front of the petroglyphs.
This rifle sight arrangement of rocks was lined up so that the petroglyph representing the equinox lay directly in line with and was under the shadow of the spike of rock which jutted up from where it had been placed, perhaps a thousand years ago.
"Your cave is on holy ground," said one of the students to me.
They told me that they had no objections to seeing me living there as long as I wasn't destroying the petroglyphs, and that my cave, which I might have been reclaiming from a previous inhabitant by chiseling out the sand and dust, would have belonged to none other than "the keeper of the calendar" -only the most high and holy of all the holy men of the tribe that lived there almost a thousand years earlier.
The notches made with piles of rocks on the crest of the east horizon mountain, combined with the slab of rock that had been erected in front of the petroglyphs demarcated the equinox, as well as the solstices.
There were also animals depicted relative to those seasons, perhaps chronicling when the bison, or something, migrated each year.

At night, I could see the planes coming in, their lights forming like a string of pearls, stretching from the horizon towards Sky Harbour Airport.

The candles had to be kept burning all night to ward off rats and mice. I bought the "Jesus" ones, which had religious pictures and prayers inscribed on them. They would burn for something like 30 hours. I always got the Spanish ones.

I had kind of an unspoken arrangement with a 4 foot diamondback rattlesnake which camped under a rock not far from the entrance of my cave.
I would throw a few Doritos plain corn chips down in front of the rock right after sundown. I would almost instantly see the chips go into motion, being carried in every which direction by almost invisible mice. The snake would strike one of them, and then I wouldn't hear it rattle for a few days.
There was a gila monster that I didn't see until I had been in the cave for about a couple months.

By then it was March and was probably warming up enough for a gila monster to want to come out and sun itself. It (the monster) was probably also getting used to my presence enough by then to want to come out and sun itself.
Plus, at the time I was doing a watercolor painting of the city and sitting pretty still, and probably didn't look like a threat.

The cave and the cab driving job served to put about another $1,100 in my pocket by the time August arrived with its 118 degree temperatures, and it's slowing down of the tourist trade, and its laying off of cab drivers.

After that, it was off to Federal Way, Washington, after a stop in Las Vegas where I purchased a car for $420 off a gambler, which began to lose power as the elevation increased as I left there.
It was something to do with the air/fuel mixture, as the elevation effect might suggest, but the mechanics in Cedar City, Utah couldn't fix it after having worked on it for over a week, trying about a half dozen things, such as cutting the catalytic converter off, and sealing a slight vacuum leak.

I eventually just let them have the car in exchange for all the work they had done, and caught a ride with a guy whom I had met, who was on his way to Federal Way, Washington.

That is how I wound up there by August of 1999.

But, "it was 20 years ago, today" that I got the cab driving job in Phoenix.

I am in my studio mixing down the latest jam between Jacob and I. At least one of my original songs should be ready for release in the coming days.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Story Forthcoming

I've been working on a story that will probably appear here soon. It is set in the year of 1998.
A well fed Harold probably has little to fear,
from feral animals...

At first, it was just going to be some background information about a girl that I had a dream about, but the more I tried to explain who she was, the more I had to introduce other characters and events, and so, that is where it sits.

That was the year that I lived with my now "ex" Russian wife, Nina, in Jacksonville, Florida.

I found myself dredging up memories and making connections for the first time, given the benefit of hind-sight.

This will hopefully make for a better story.

One of the "self help dialogues" out of the book that I am still using, called "Awaken The Genius" has to do with transporting yourself back in your imagination and, in a sense fixing things that you would like to change, in order to learn from the experience and create a better future, type of thing.

And, so I am not surprised to have been brought back to a time twenty years ago when I was skeezed by a couple of roommates whom I sort of trusted.

It will be a tale of being skeezed, I suppose, when I publish it here.

Tracy, the girl in the dream lived, in the other half of the duplex that I moved into with two skeezers who wound up stealing whatever stuff I had back then.
This kind of freed me up to hop on a Greyhound bound for Phoenix, Arizona, which I did.

The year was 1998, and I left Jacksonville on December 20th.

My goal was to go out into the desert to fast on only apple juice and water- and maybe a locust or two- for the ten days leading up to the new year, which would also feature a new moon, as if the symbolism of starting afresh needed to be further underscored.

I would then enter the city and find a job, I thought.

I had just turned 36 years old a couple months prior, had all my stuff stolen by a John Lepley and his buddy, "Joe," and was thus only burdened by a large duffel bag with a shoulder strap. Homelessness doesn't get any easier.

But, the bag sufficed to tote the two gallons of apple juice and one of water "out into the desert," which turned out to be up Dobbins Peak.

I had managed to sock away almost 12 hundred bucks, delivering pizza in Jacksonville, while living rent-free with Nina, and had almost a thousand left as I retreated into the desert to freeze my ass off when it would get to be 38 degrees one night.

Phoenix, in 1999, was infested with skeezers, I found out, once I went into the city to try to get a room at the YMCA for 85 bucks a week.

I had actually flashed the nine hundred and something dollars that I had to an Asian cashier in a little convenience store who had barked "Do you have money? If you don't have money you can't come in!" at me, upon seeing the bag over my shoulder.

This was understandable since there turned out to be a beggar usually on all four corners of every intersection in the downtown area.

You would be skeezed by someone as you waited for the light to change and then by another as soon as you got to the other side of the street.

What It's Like To Skeeze

These were some really clueless skeezers.

One of them was skeezing in front of a place and some other nearby skeezer had a boom box and when a certain song came on, this skeezer whom it was obvious had used some of the charity towards the purchase of alcohol, bellowed out: "Turn this up; I want people to hear this!!"

It was a song that I hate by a band named Everlast called something like "What It's Like."

The song tries to suggest that the dirty, ragged guy in front of the liquor store, doesn't need to take a bath and get a job.

No, were you to "walk a mile in his shoes" then you would know "what it's like" to be him and you would give him free money at your expense. Except, once he gets drunk off your money he might turn into a more and more obnoxious aggressive panhandler who acts as if you have harmed him and are trying to punish him in some way if you don't give it to him.
And he might yell, "Turn this song up, I want all these people to hear it!" when that song came on.

The guy was too obtuse to see that he was merely identifying with the persona of the guy in the song, and that if anyone actually did walk a mile in his shoes they would come to understand that he was a skeezer who was full of crap.

"God forbid you ever have to walk a mile in his shoes; 'cause then you'd really know what it's like to sing the blues."
The song talks about bona fide victims of tragedy, and so how pretentious of this guy who opted for a profession of begging, aspiring only to stay intoxicated to yell, "Yeah, turn this up!!"

A Tale Of Idleness

I didn't go out to busk last (Wednesday) night. The temperature was 51 degrees at about 11 PM, when I stepped outside.

I could have put on a few more layers and gone out, but decided against it.
It had the feeling of a six dollar night.

I had gone out that morning, basically looking for loose tobacco, and had come across an unopened pack of Benson and Hedges cigarettes which had been laying in a bank parking lot, and a lemon, laying somewhere else.

Bobby had just given me a bud of weed, and Jacob was texting me telling me that he had made fifty bucks doing an odd job and would buy me a kratom shot if we were to meet and jam for a while at his house.

So, I stayed in and soon realized that one big thing that I had overlooked was getting Harold the cat a can of food.

He was turning his nose up at the dry food which was the only thing that I had left.
Had I gone out to busk, I would certainly have been returning at about 2 in the morning with a can of food for him. For, even if I hadn't made a dime, I could have told Michelle the cashier that I hadn't made a dime and asked her for a can of food on credit -one of the perks for having busked in that neighborhood for going on eight years...

I wound up letting Harold out at about midnight. He was eager to go. I think he has some kind of food supply out there, perhaps the bowl of a neighborhood cat or a place where people put food out for the feral cats.

One might think that the feral cats could kick Harold's ass and run him away from that food, them being so "wild" and everything, but perhaps Harold, being so well fed in general, might have the advantage. He certainly hasn't come home with any damage to his face, since the time I got shot with a paintball in the face the same night -a synchronicity that manifested itself about 3 years ago, already.

I experimented with some music that I wound up deleting, maybe 2 hours worth. I had been messing around with the odd time signature of 7/2 trying to "feel" the beat. Seven beats in a measure with an eighth note getting one beat. A time signature for the likes of the group Yes, or King Crimson, perhaps, but one that I have never seen on sheet music before.
My music is weird enough in common time without messing around with poly rhythms, I concluded, before hitting the delete button...
Today is Jacob's mom Donna's birthday

I felt guilty and a shirker for not having gone out to play. I tried to produce something in order to have something to show for the night. But the truth is I got baked on Bobby's weed and vegetated. I did get some excellent relaxation in, though...

My yellow bike, sitting idle near the door, seemed to be symbolic of my cowardice in having let the cold temperature dissuade me from pursuing my livelihood.

Jacob has just given me the recordings from our session yesterday, the day before his mom's birthday.

I should be able to make a song out of the almost three hours of music with myself on acoustic guitar and vocals and Jacob on drums and keyboards and backup vocals...