Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Sweats, The Suite, Sweets And The Hotspot

I feel much better now, as Wednesday begins.

In 24 hours, the regimen of plain oatmeal and nothing else, along with an hour of using the "self help dialogues" from the "Awaken The Genius Within" book (which I could barely hear over the cacophony of my own rogue thoughts) has paid off by returning me to a state of mind that I had been taking for granted, I guess until the sweats, slight fever, confused thoughts and depression, all due, I strongly suspect to the withdrawal from Gabapentin that I am pretty sure I was going through.

Bobby in building C had given me a handful of the things at the start of the week which would see me jamming in the studio 3 days and busking only on the other 2 nights, racking up about 25 dollars.
It is an anti anxiety concoction that Bobby initially told me was a pain pill.
He said that the things really enhanced his enjoyment of playing the guitar. He had said that about the methadone that he let me have a 20mg tablet of once.
The methadone wound up making me feel like I was in a fuzzy warm cocoon, one that I never did leave to go out and busk. It was not a radically different high than the one I "always" have. I guess I must produce enough of my own methadone equivalent chemicals in my brain so that I pretty much go through life feeling no pain, but kind of spaced out and dopey.
Yes, I should know better than to take some prescription drug for "recreation," but the discovery of kratom had opened my mind to the possibility that certain chemicals might be like missing links or be able to become substitutes for micro-nutrients that might only be found in high concentrations in, say, a certain lichen that grows only on the face of a certain cliff in South Australia, and only for 2 months out of the year, type of thing. People have been known to have chronic ailments disappear after they move to a different locale, and then to have, say, their asthma flare up as soon as they move back to the city by the toxic waste dump, maybe.
At first I took a half a tablet.
I was playing the guitar at an insanely high level that night. I was finding it easier to form sentences in my head when speaking and, I had very little anxiety. I was a little wobbly on my bike, though, and actually had the feeling that I was playing at such a high level that I might tear a ligament in my hand or something.
But then Saturday came and I took one before I jammed at Jacob's house and then another before going out to busk at 1:30 AM.
And then, I kind of forgot about having taken them, which brings up one of the other side effects cited; that being short term memory loss.
Because of the sweats and the headache and the forecast for thunderstorms to begin at 9AM, I didn't ride to the food stamp office.
I figure that they either closed my account or they didn't. I threw out the wrong letter, the most recent one.
As is usually the case, I pulled that envelope out of my mailbox one day after the letter inside informed me that I had to have my "simplified report" completed.
If they have closed it then I might have to wait 7 days longer to get any food out of them.
"Gabapentin withdrawal" and confirmation that Johnny B. "the clean guy,"
has a side line in modelling.

There seems to be a conspiracy to aid me with the fasting and detoxification process.
When I did try to get to the grocery store before they closed at midnight; that was when the thunderstorms came, only 14 hours late and so severe that I decided not to get soaked from the waist down just to get $3.33 worth of food that I'm supposedly not eating. So the oatmeal fast continues, at least until morning.
I got an idea with the first spoonful of plain oatmeal, just how far astray I had gone from diets I have had in the past.
Just a couple years ago, after I had fasted on apple juice for 3 days and then water laced with cayenne pepper for another week or so, and had started to eat again, the oat milk that I made by putting cooked oatmeal through my juicer tasted as sweet as a milkshake to me; an oat flavored one.
Yesterday morning it tasted like the cardboard container that it is packaged in.
I only swallowed one spoonful. It wasn't exactly as if the theme from "Rocky" began playing in my head and I polished off the whole pan before hopping on my bike and starting the day.
I laid back down to massage my upper back and neck and find the pressure points at the back of the head and press into them while taking deep breaths.
This had me up and ready for another couple spoonfuls a half hour later, and it went from there. I felt intensely hungry, a sensation that my stomach was in a vacuum. But I had a pot of plain oatmeal, so there was almost a stalemate, but the oatmeal won out. I learned just how addicted I had become to things like a whole box of Shreds chocolate peanut butter cereal in coconut milk with added maple syrup.
That should have been another red flag, the fact that something had been taking away my appetite and I had just about lived off of the 4 doughnuts that I had eaten at Jacob's house. Jacob had bought six dozen of whatever they were -white frosting on top with sprinkles with a slight peanut taste to them- because they had been on sale, 3 boxes for 5 bucks, or something.
There is a table near the kitchen in that house that Jacob's guardian, Bob keeps stocked with all kinds of snacks from Fig Newtons in apple and regular flavors to Cliff bars and beef jerky, etc.
Although one of Jacob's friends warned me once, when he saw me looking over the spread: "Dude, some of that stuff has been on the table since I met Jacob in high school four years ago!," the doughnuts were fresh.  

Jacob brought Harold the cat a couple cans of his favorite food when he stopped by to "drop off" the music files of the overdubs to Friday's jam session that we did Saturday night.      
The thunderstorms forecasted for the morning which gave me enough of a reason, combined with the sweats and headache, to postpone riding my bike down to the food stamp office, arrived 14 hours late, just as I was preparing to ride up to the grocery store before it closed at midnight.
Since I had begun a fast of sorts Monday morning, I wasn't sure what I was going to get there anyways. Coffee was a temptation.

I had 3 dollars and 33 cents left over from the 13 bucks I had made in the wee hours of Friday morning. This after discovering that one of the quarters I had gotten was Canadian.
What the heck am I going to do with a Canadian quarter?!?

Merchants used to take Canadian coins, probably in good faith that the next person, the bank, was going to redeem it for them.
You would just see the occasional Canadian quarter in a roll of them from the bank and would just spend it like it was a U.S. one, maybe after checking out Queen Victoria...

Now it is off to work on the music files to the suite of music recorded over the weekend; I will post something here even if it is still a work in progress.

Using my phone as a hot spot, and doing this from my room is nice. I'll have to see if I can busk up the money to keep the thing on.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


I am having sweats and feel slight flu-like symptoms, and have a very rare for me headache.
All I have to do today is ride a mile and a half to the food stamp office and address the most recent letter from them that I got a day late.
We were supposed to have thunderstorms intermittently all day but haven't had the first one and it is almost noon....

Monday, February 25, 2019

A Dry Spell

Amazing how reluctant I am to blog now that it isn’t part of the routine of going to the Uxi Duxi.

Come to think of it, the places that I have done my blog posts from had become at least half of the attraction of writing a blog.
Of course, back in the public library using days, the novelty of the blog itself, aided by all the free time that homeless people seem to be blessed with and the shelter from the elements the library provided was enough to keep me blogging.

I was afraid that my moving into an apartment would sound a death knell of a blog about the “adventures” of living off the land, busking for survival, etc.
But I had still averaged about 23 posts per month for years.

The thought of coming to the Sacred Heart computer "lab" and having to deal with one of the other residents who lives here, who is a light skinned black guy who never say's a word to me even if we are both sitting in the computer room for hours, but who will cast me an evil glance every once in a while, as if his life and whatever he might have on his laptop screen might matter to me enough that I would care one bit.

I will say that I had a brush with him one time about 3 years ago now, after I had just moved in and had sat down at one of the computers that were once in here before a combination of residents downloading free no strings attached porn, and staffers at Sacred Heart having given up on trying to regulate them led to their demise.

Having them all stolen, as my bike recently was, I guess solved the virus problem.

This guy has a rather tall and large frame, though he has the appearance of someone who might have once been a formidable athlete, but who then might have been a formidable crackhead for an equal length of time -the same appearance that people who come out of hospitals after extended stays have- his muscles look atrophied and hang too loosely on his frame. He probably has it in his psyche that he is physically imposing despite what he sees in the mirror these days.

But, I was unable to explain to him that I had not interrupted his download but only had minimized the window that it was in, in case whomsoever it was that was on it came back. In that lab, computers were left auto playing all night by people who just got up and walked away from them. These same people probably open their hamburgers the throw the wrapper on the ground; let someone else worry about it, type of thing.

But this light skinned black lug had walked over and yanked my thumb drive out of the computer, definitely messing up what I was doing before I could explain to him that I hadn't messed up what he was doing.

He was functioning at the "ignorant African American" level of "you touched my stuff, I'm gonna touch yours!"

But, as I sit here ready to report that we haven't spoken to each other since, I realize that half of the fault  that is mine.
I'm pretty sure that I would dislike the guy just as much as I do now, even if I got to know him; I have seen his breed before.

He is probably "the mulatto who was raised by the white side of the family but who identified with his black side because it became cool to be black during his impressionable years and who wound up being a total outcast because each race could smell the other on him."

I think he is probably that guy.

But, on more than one occasion I blew off doing a blog post out of not wanting to see his petulant face.

Lately, I haven’t seen much that was interesting enough to make a post about, outside of flashes of insight that might come to me spuriously, that I might think about and even start to formulate an essay in my head about, but that become overshadowed by other things.

The biggest problem now is that I have too much catching up to do and not enough time to reconstruct the whole past week.
I guess the theme of it was that I took a lot of time off from busking to work on music. Some of it will be posted here hopefully within a week.

Am dealing with the consequences of having put a lot of my eggs in the one basket of thinking that Jacob and I were on the verge of creating something in the studio which would justify my having taken time off so much time from busking.

While it is true that I could have made it out there to play by 1:30 AM Saturday morning, after having recorded music Friday night, there were already plans in place to do additional tracks later that day. I had only gotten the minimal amount of sleep by the time Jacob arrived back at the place to whisk me off to the studio.

I have just listened to one of our most recent sessions. After we recorded that particular gem, we wound up hitting the supermarket, where I had no money to spend on anything to eat.

I had basically lived off of the 54 bucks I made the previous weekend, spending money only on cat supplies and cigarettes. Jacob brought over kratom and cat food a few times.

Hold The Phone

The LG Aristo 3 phone that Bobby in building C bought for me, so it would be easier for him to stay in touch with me is now telling me to pay 52 dollars by March 1st, to avoid interruption of service.

He gave the thing to me as a "gift" but then told me that I was on my own as far as the monthly fees.

I want to just throw it in the river, but I wouldn't doubt that there is something in the fine print that would make me liable for the balance of a one or two year contract, if I did. Pay the $800 or we will report you to the credit people, type of thing.

That is a good example of why I have used multiple ID's in the past and why the new phone is under a name that isn't quite mine.

The weekdays except for Wednesdays are good days for Jacob and I to record.

On Wednesday, he is tied up with school and church activities.

I can remember the Baptist church where I went when in my mid twenties wanting our Wednesday nights as well as our Sunday mornings.

The Wednesday nights were for the choir to practice up for Sunday.
But it seems fitting for the Baptists to also see it as some kind of middle of the week sustenance, to help get them through to Sunday, all the serious Baptists were there, even if they could hardly carry a tune.
A week is an awful long time to stay in Christ, and so a dose of accountability mid week is a good antidote.

After I started going to that church kind of regularly but then missed one Sunday morning, I was visited that afternoon by my fellow choir member and deacon of the church, Richard, an affable and well meaning gentleman in his seventies who probed me upon the meaning of my absence, telling me that sometimes people would “backslide” in some way and would then avoid the church and all the guilt and shame associated with it.

He feared that that was what might have happened to me, and so he was bringing the guilt and shame to my door.

Because deeply spiritual souls live a very austere life, the Baptists might have thought that they were following in their footsteps.

What I always thought were that these were people who were pre-disposed to clean living anyways and who weren’t resisting any great temptation to smoke or drink or swear.

Richard showed up and was let in by my roommate, so he suddenly appeared in the doorway of my room.

I was sitting there with a girl I had met who had come over in the morning but who had not slept with me in the unmade bed in the center of the room.
He was holding, I believe, a copy of the missile (sp?) which had been used at the service that I had missed.

But, he never handed them to me. Acting as if he had walking in on us in the middle of sex, he uttered a quick apology and then retreated.

I guess that was too much sin for him to handle. I’m sure he had planned upon filling me in on the highlights of the service, reading the particular scripture verses from the missile to me, assuring me that I never should feel reluctant to go to church for any reason, etc.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Do Not Move Forward Anymore: A Story

Ⳃ Flashback 4-27-84
“The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down, can’t let go and you can’t hold on...Can’t go back and you can’t sit still; if the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will...”
The above words from a Grateful Dead song, I always saw as just another zen-like observance made by a person on acid for the enlightenment of his contemporaries.

I suppose that, as “science” learns more and more about the human brain, and especially the interaction between the right and left hemispheres, than the “thunder” would be perceived by the left hemisphere which would deal with the corporeal experience of actually hearing that entity -the sound of the Dead playing through a 75,000 watt sound system- which would leave to the other side of the brain, the cognizance of the “lightning.”

That would be the non manifested stuff, like the deadheads all tapping into a collective subconscious whereby they can be part of the music.

The music plays the band” from "The Music Never Stopped" is in reference to this.

It’s kind of like the person at the concert realizes his oneness with all of creation and starts to get the idea that the music has the potential to sound as good as the creator want’s it to be.

So, the deadhead might say: God, regale me with the sweetest music in the universe, and make it come through Jerry Garcia and the boy’s -they’re so nonplussed after years of heavy drug use, they’ll just acquiesce.

It -the lightning- I suppose was at work when, as a 22 year old who had suffered from eczema his whole life, I had an experience while tripping at a dead show in Providence, Rhode Island, when the ailment receded from my awareness after a gesture that Phil Lesh, the bassist, had made while on stage.

What he did was to put his hands together, as if about to pray, but then to raise them up by the side of his head to make a “pillow” gesture.

It was pretty warm and humid, and the gesture was probably interpreted by rational minds to mean that the conditions were such that Phil was feeling sleepy.
It could have been meant as a way of excusing himself for delivering of himself what he might have thought was a sleepy performance of the song before.

The song before had been "China Doll."

I had wended my way, through no effort of my own it had seemed, to about the 12th row from the stage.

There, I had been stalled by the apparition of a lovely young lady, whose perfume had been like a smelling salt of sorts, in that it had snapped me out of a kind of reverie that I had been in, which had started with myself at the very outer edge of the arena, where I encountered a ring of not surprisingly the most “fringe” of Grateful Dead concert attendees.

The Outermost Ring
These were the kids that I had gone to high school with who were "well along the path" to getting a lucrative degree, landing a full time job with benefits, and who were standing along the outer rim, looking down their noses both literally and figuratively at the whole “counterculture” thing, one of them having greeted me as one of his own -I had the psychedelic shirt on, might have been wearing patchouli oil, but the haircut and the glasses, and the mall purchased clothing gave me away.

The glasses came from the very type of optometry place where an upper middle class kid who was studying for a lucrative degree would get them; his parents would shell out the money without debate because the kid needed them to see the chalkboard, type of thing. The dent in the side of his Jeep because he wasn’t paying attention when changing lanes, he can pay for himself out of his “working through college” job. That might teach him a lesson.

This particular guy, who greeted me in a manner that I had become fluent in from having gone to (middle to upper class) Catholic High School, pointed to my psychedelic tie dye shirt:
“I like your shirt, I got this one myself in the parking lot on the way in...”

Then, pointing to his own shirt, he added: “Yeah, I helped put a couple deadhead kids through college by buying this...”

I am trying to recall just when I had swallowed a hit of blotter acid (which had a musical note symbol on each tab, for you nostalgic acid buffs out there...came right after the ones with Mickey Mouse on them and before the ones that had a yin and yang symbol.

Most of you blog readers might be too young to remember the Mickey Mouse blotter acid; I guess I'm dating myself. Along with tainting my credibility as a factual historian.

I am not saying I was ever a huge acid eater. I have no stories about “the time I ate a whole sheet of one hundred hits of blotter acid after first eating just one but then consuming the rest after the sheet turned into a big piece of taffy that I had to lick up before it melted and got all over me” or anything like that.

I always took just the prescribed dose of “one” hit as apportioned and meted out by whatever chemistry major at UCAl Berkeley made the stuff.

But, after the guy offered to buy me a beer, and before it had registered in him that I hadn’t guffawed over the putting a deadhead’s kid through college joke quite as much as would befit the privileged boy, poised to be able “to buy and sell” a deadhead “a thousand times over,” I left him to drink beer with his frat buddies and I moved down a bit, halfway to floor level.

I had more of an appreciation of dead music than them, I concluded, and I didn’t want to having to defend the music against them: “Improvised music is actually and art form unto itself...” type of thing.

But, mostly, I just wanted to be closer to the stage.

Or, among the people who were.

Plus, it was a night when a chronic illness in me would be cured.

I couldn’t have seen that happening while swilling pallid beer and sharing hopes and dreams and “If I can just get into Dartmouth” visions.

I guess my weakness was not for the pursuit of crass materialism, nor wanting to be able to exalt myself over those who live from hand to mouth.
“I know I’m glad I got a nice warm apartment and a large screen TV to go home to...” might be their mantra.

I wound up sitting around what appeared to be a group of divorced women.
Maybe I was painting them as such, but I was imagining them all having a child or two who was being babysat back at the modest double wide while mom went to a Grateful Dead concert, for whatever reason.

I was blissfully unaware that I carried the distinguishing marks of my class.
But, to the divorced housewives, it was all there -I was on the treadmill.
I had driven my brand new car that I was making hefty payments on to the area of the Providence Civic Center, where I had seen someone standing at the entrance to a parking lot, holding a sign that said “Parking” and waving me in.
There’s where to park, I guess; it say’s “Parking,” my 22 year old self might have thought.

25 dollars, is that a lot? I might have went on.

“No, when my dad used to take me to the Patriots games when I was a kid, I think it was like 35 bucks...” And so the overspending of the father is revisited upon the son.

So, as I sat there and started to trip on the acid that I’m not sure when I ate, I started to feel like I was embarking upon a unique and personal journey of some sort.

I wanted to be alone.

The set list from that show informs that the dead had started out with “Alabama Getaway,” and this had about coincided with myself deciding to get away from the first group.

It was “The Promised Land” which was being played as I looked along the row of women perhaps only 5 years older than me who were already coming back into the ring for another swing, to quote Australian rockers AC/DC.

It seemed indeed, that the promise of a ready-made family was right there occupying rows 23 through 28.

I had a job in “the rewarding field of computer repair and maintenance” and I would bet that they each had a trailer in Podunk, that they weren't too far behind on the payments on, which would come equiped with the between one and four rugrats that she may have been able to produce within those five years.

I could see it all; a figure of my imagination, but guided by an intelligence that seemed to be drawing me closer to the stage.

Did I want to be on the stage?

Maybe not quite, perhaps 12 rows away, as we shall see.

Then came the second instance of my rejecting the company of others when Bill Lenfest, the high school chum of mine that I had driven to the concert, appeared at my side.

I had tried to lose him.

He was a high school friend whose relationship to me had become fixed around me being kind of like the alpha male and he the beta. Or, is there a gamma? Bill was pretty docile.

Without going into the complex psychology that drives human behavior more than to say that perhaps the hit of acid was making me become more aware of it, I began to observe the thoughts and feelings in my head, and in a lot of cases saw them as being fallacious, or examples of me hanging on to something pointless.

After having left the guys that reminded Bill and I of kids we went to high school with, I suggested to him that we perhaps try to move closer to the stage.
We couldn’t get much further away than that upper rim, unless we wanted to listen from the lobby.

Bill had said something like: “OK, you lead; I’ll follow.”

He said this with such a tone of resignation and almost a rolling of the eyes that I got the notion at that instant that he wasn’t happy in this role of following me.
And that when I decided to ditch him. I didn’t want his time at the concert to be reliant upon whatever adventure I was able to find. That put pressure on me.
I was aware of pressure, and becoming more so, as the hit of acid began to kick in.

Aware of subtle overtones in a voice that almost seemed to reverberate: “Some great leader I’ve got...” as if me leading and him following was the best option he could think of, but he wasn’t happy about it.

It was a mean thing to do, to ditch Bill Lenfest. He didn’t have a lot of friends in high school and had looked up to me, especially after learning that I played the guitar.

I was better on the guitar than Bill and so it was easy for me to be “this amazing and impressive guitarist who could awe any audience," provided that it was an audience of Bill Lenfest’s.

But, after having heard him whimper: “You lead, I’ll follow (I guess that’s all I’ll ever be is your puppy dog)” I decided to chuck that whole persona.

I wasn’t satisfied to rest on the laurels of being a hero to Bill.

This was due to possibly some self loathing.

I didn’t think my music was near its potential, and my mind was kind of consumed with the zen problem I was encountering of: The more hundreds of dollars that I had to run to the music store with to buy exotic musical gear, the less inspired and more at a loss to use it creatively I was, once I got it home. A full recording studio and nothing to sing about; all dressed up with no place to go...

I felt bad.

Instead of just telling Bill that I wanted to be alone with my thoughts, or maybe that it might be easier for me to befriend some girl if he weren’t around me, I went the duplicitous route of whispering to him: “Make it look like you just get up and leave! Get up and walk away, I'll explain later!” as if something was going on, maybe I was trying to buy mushrooms from someone who didn’t want to be seen passing them to me, or whatever.

Bill got up and left me surrounded by the women who looked like divorced mothers.

I don’t think that milestones in spiritual growth are marked by hurt feelings being left along the way.

I’m not sure if Bill just retreated to somewhere from where he could observe me, or if he developed an autonomous spirit and went off on his own.

The dead were playing “Dire Wolf” after I was rid of Bill.

Somewhere between the lyrics: “I beg of you, don’t murder me” in that song and into the song, “Big River,” I had fallen into a deep reverie, of sorts.

I felt like I was killing off the “character” that I had “always” been -no longer satisfied with the praise for the fish I was from the denizens of the small pond where I came from.

What is a "personality" to someone who is tripping on acid and who looks at his reflection in the mirror, ready to jump in fear if the guy in the mirror does something of his own volition, like leaning toward him and yelling "boo!"

Suddenly, I found myself crying.

I guess this was, in part, because of having shoved a guy away who had done nothing to deserve that other than to have admired and looked up to me. And maybe in part because I felt I was ditching the old “me.”

Then, the thing started happening.

After I caught myself with tears coming out of my eyes, my immediate reaction was to feel embarrassment over being seen crying by the several divorced young housewives.

But then, I noticed the song the dead were doing with the lyrics they had just sung being: “Tears I’ve cried for that woman are going to flood you, big river, and I’m gonna sit right here until I die.”

And, just like that, I was supplied a reason to be sitting there sobbing. Circumstances had covered for me.

Now I could really feel the warmth of the eyes of the divorced young mothers upon me.
I was "surely" crying over a lost woman, and I was wearing one of the 28 dollar tie dyed shirts that they sell right as you exit the 35 dollar parking lot.

I don’t know if it was to test the validity this notion, but, when the next song called “Althea” was played and the line sung was: “I was born to be a bachelor” I was overcome a bit and raised my arms and pumped my fists, kind of as if to say: “Good line in a song!” with the side effect being that I was immediately hit in the side of the face by cigarette smoke, which had been blown by the divorced young housemother closest to me.

Poof! Pretty blatant, she may have leaned a bit too close, blown a bit too hard -maybe trying to cut through the loud music with it- chosen the wrong brand of cigarette, perhaps.
I thought it quaint. Didn’t that come from an old movie? Did Lauren Bacall seduce Humphrey Bogart like that, or something? Somehow that has found its way into the universal language of man.

I may have been making the life choice to never marry and raise a family right then and there on April 27th, 1984.

There is that line in the Bryan Adams song called “Summer of ‘69” where he say’s: “Oh, but when I held her hand I knew that it was now or never.”

I had nothing but love for those sweet ladies and great admiration for how, like phoenix’s, they rose from the ashes of failed unions with high school sweethearts, got into jeans that they could still fit into, got made up in ways that could still turn heads, and showed up at the concert, having mirrored their station in life by purchasing tickets half way up; in the middle.

Their tie dyed shirts had been washed and worn before, but in keeping with their general deportment, were still looking pretty good.

I decided not to stop there, though. Had I turned and struck up a conversation, who knows where I would be today..

As I got up to go try to get closer to the stage, I heard a: “Hmph!” coming from I think the one who blew smoke.

It’s not easy to forsake the joys of family life. I could have grandchildren now.
Or could have been murdered by a deadbeat ex-husband...

The Providence Civic Center was basically built around a hockey rink.

I had not purchased tickets to be on the floor, which would be where the ice would be during a game, with the band being set up at one end, under one of the baskets. Did I say hockey?

I cannot describe the state of mind that I was operating within as I began to descend the stairs leading to the one breach in the wall surrounding the rink.
Maybe it was the door that opens to let players in and out of the penalty box, but it was guarded by a fairly large man wearing the blazer of whatever security outfit, equipped with a walkie-talkie (this was 1984) and tasked with checking the ticket stubs of anyone trying to go through to make sure they had purchased “floor” seats.

The thing that has started after I noticed that my tears had been covered by the song that the band was playing intensified. It was almost as if my every move made sense as seen through the lens of the music.

It was as if I could do whatever I felt and the circumstances would shift in order to rationalize the actions.

I held out my empty hand in front of someone and asked them: “Do you want a bracelet?” fully prepared to say something like: “Darn, I was trying to see if one would land in my hand if I held it out and said that, but one didn’t!” if one didn’t.

But one did.

What are the odds of a glow in the dark bracelet, flung at random by some deadhead, landing in the outstretched hand of someone who had just (jokingly, but not so much given the way the experience had been going) asked someone if they would like a bracelet?

I looked to the rows of people at the very front, closest to the stage.

Hardly any of them moved.

They sat there like tigers in trances as if breathing in the music.

Further out from the stage, motion could be seen -people reaching for cigarettes, joints, lighters, cocaine off little mirrors, checking the progress of their cassette tapes, wondering if they should flip them during the space jam before the band begins a long song that might get cut in the middle when that side runs out...

I got to the bottom few steps, and as I did, the guy whose job it was to check tickets, turned fully away from me and sneezed.

It was kind of an exaggerated sneeze and, as I strolled past him, he was doubled over at the waist, maybe so that if anything came out of his nose it would become the problem of the hockey players in the penalty box and not wind up on his shirt. But, I believe the guy never saw me -had even had his eyes scrunched  closed in anticipation of sneezing at the point when he had been facing me.

I was then on the floor, but standing behind a wall of stout backs that formed a formidable perimeter around the stage at a distance of about 30 rows.

The band started the second set with “Playing In The Band.”

The harder I tried to push my way forward the more the wall of backs in front of me bristled.

Then, something occurred to me, and I stopped trying. I relinquished all effort to push forward and, as soon as I had done that, I was physically thrust by unseen forces behind me, through the human wall, and found myself within what felt like a sanctuary.

Everyone forward of the wall of backs -the first 20 rows- was seated, with the aforementioned people at the very front not only seated but gape mouthed and motionlessly staring at the stage like fish in an aquarium trying to comprehend a TV set that they can see through the glass.

Oh, gee, we are getting to the actual story about Phil the bassist and the curing of my eczema!

The best analogy I can come up with for the sanctuary-like area closest to the stage would be Dante’s “Inferno” with its “layers” of hell.

It seemed like I had passed the “physical” test by having intuited that only by not trying to get through would I get through.

Once pushed into the front section, the first group I encountered seemed to be the intellectuals, the thinkers, the cerebral, whatever Dante would call them.
There was an animated discussion about time signatures, key signatures and other things musical.
I think someone was talking about how “Playing In Band” was in the time signature of 10/4.
Not to be caught up in the mental gymnastics of trying analyse why a piece of music sounds good, I moved forward.

Now, I found myself around the 18th row, where there happened to be an empty seat that I was motioned to maybe by someone who knew that I wouldn’t be allowed to remain in the aisle. If I had paid a premium for a seat in the first 20 rows, then why am I in the aisle and not in that seat? type of thing....

I felt like I had gained some degree of acceptance by the deadheads. Were they able to look at me and tell that I belonged?
Was my resemblance to Bob Weir the rhythm guitarist enough of a calling card?

Once in the 18th row, I was asked by a somewhat cautious guy to my right if I had a lighter.
When I pulled my lighter out of my pocket the bag of weed that was also in there came fumbling out.
Before I could make a joke like: “I’m glad I didn’t try to pull my lighter out in front of any cops” or something, there was a flurry of activity.

Several people in rows 17 and 18 instantly produced pipes and bowls and joints, my bag of pot having allayed any fear that I might have been a cop who looks like Bob Weir, I guess.

I was offered a hit off a pipe.

I smiled and said: “Dude, I totally don’t need it!”

This brought smiles and nods of approval from the group, and I was immediately implored by one of the girls to “Go forward!”

“Yeah, move forward!” echoed the guy who had offered me the pipe.

I moved forward to about the 12th row.

The band was in a lazy space jam in between songs, trying to decide what to play next.
I am getting tired of this phrase pertaining to this account but, “for some reason” I bellowed out a long note.

Just as I let it ring, Phil Lesh simultaneously plucked a note on his bass.
It sounded just like the first chord to their song “China Doll” -the combination of the notes.

I later figured out, with the help of the bootleg tape that I must have sang an F note as Phil plucked the D note just a minor third below it. But that is a distinctive interval.

I can’t hear myself on the bootleg, but can hear Phil tap his string with the D note and then say: “Hey, you wanna do China Doll?” just audible through the stage mics.

Then, my quest to wind up in the front row, or then even to be invited up onto it to play, the way the night was going, was derailed in row 12.

After having helped select the next number, I was once again spirited into an empty seat where I turned to my right and came face to face with the most beautiful girl imaginable.
Her purfume hit me like smelling salts, snapping me back to a different reality.

I had been thinking of things and then seeing them materialize, but the girl seemed to have created herself. Why would I create something that was going to cause me heartache when I couldn’t posess it?

“Ahh!” exclaimed someone who might have been watching my ascencion through the ranks.

So that’s his weakness, it was as if he was saying.

So Dante would have me breathing in perfume and drooling forever and ever, eh?

No more moving forward.

But, at some point, Phil made the sleeping gesture, and I felt like it was God working through Phil Lesh.
Funny, to read this about that particular night...

I still had to figure out which foods were toxic to me and I would make mistakes.
Or find myself in situations where I would eat so as not to be rude to a host who might have prepared a meal especially for me, and who might be extremely proud of his cooking and dying to know what I think of his corn bread, but whose corn bread is, unfortunately for me, half corn and half Crisco -partially hydrogenated soybean oil, anyone? Just keep the lid on because it WILL attract flies by the droves and is not recommended as a hair gel for that reason.

After eating the wrong thing though, all I would have to do is remind myself “It’s sleeping,” and with something like the snapping of a hypnotist’s fingers, the symptoms would go away.

It also help to eat a whole bag of corn chips with a whole jar of salsa, the hotter the better. This will help show the offending food the door; the back door, if you get my drift...

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tuesday The Twelfth

I was up at the somewhat depressing hour of about five-thirty in late afternoon as the sun was about to set.
I decided to hop on the bike which Jacob had given me the day before.
It has those high pressure tires which are very small in diameter and which take a high amount of pressure.
The bike rode very well for one which had been sitting in a back yard, with the tire pressure being my chief concern. I didn't want to bend a rim by hitting a bump which might cause it to bottom out.
As I was leaving to test ride the bike, I threw the key to the lock that Bobby was letting me borrow out with my trash.
I had locked the bike and then grabbed the trash bags, I guess before pocketing the key, and so, after returning from Rouses Market where the security guard was cool enough to watch the bike for me while I ran in for cat food, energy drink, gallon of water and can of coconut milk, I searched frantically for the key.
I had just gone to the dumpster, where I had thrown my trash and was using the phone as a flashlight when it rang with Bobby on the other end.
How could I tell him that I lost the key to the lock that he let me borrow?
How would I be able to go out and busk without being able to lock the bike?
How am I going to cut Bobby's lock off of the bike if I don't find the key?
I told Bobby that I was using the phone as a flashlight and would have to call him back.
Jacob and I didn't find it in our search, but, a second search of the dumpster, this time wearing latex gloves lead to the key's discovery in one of the bags that I had thrown out, which we had already searched. It had been hidden pretty well behind an empty vinegar bottle the first time.
That really would have sucked had I had to come up with a lock so I could use the bike to busk, and then had to buy Bobby a new one to replace the one that was locked to the bike, and then eventually had to have that one cut off.
It was pretty cold and windy by the time I found the key, and so I stayed in and produced the video above, which came from one that Jacob and I shot Monday night at my place, during a quick stop there to grab my jacket on our way out to get a bottle of melatonin for Bobby.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Fifty Five Degree Outside

Communication With Howard
I must find an app just like the one on my phone which transcribes whatever I say into the text box; and then bring a device like a tablet over to Howard
Westra's house when I visit, so that I could speak in a normal voice to him and he would have roughly the equivalent of the "closed captioning for the hearing impaired" thing which is on his TV, appear in text on his screen.
Without the annoyance of the seven second delay.

I am assuming that the one used by the networks is a machine.

A human being, who would most likely have a knowledge in whatever sport he is transcribing the broadcasts of, would be able to intuit a lot of things like, say, a foul ball being hit "way up into the cheap seats" at the ballpark.

A real person would most likely pause before causing a box to pop on the screen, telling people like Howard that the guy at the plate "is just waist deep in cheat sheets," for example. That one might even get a "That didn't make any sense!" out of ol' Howard.

But, were I to have the same thing as I have on my phone, I could prop up the tablet screen in front of Howard and then speak away.

This would eliminate an effect that I have no sniglett for but which results in a conversation that is being yelled to a deaf person also being dumbed down, as if the baffled look on the guy's face is due to a struggle to comprehend, rather than just to hear.

This is probably ingrained through the similarity between people who don't understand English and who hence have to be spoken to slowly, using simple words and littered with hand gestures and pointing.

There's only so much a holding out and fluttering of one hand in the air in response to: "So how have you been?" can convey.

As far as fodder for this blog, I feel like I am in a vast expanse of space empty all around me, and with one of the nearest objects of any mass being the Superbowl. It is moving away at such a rate that the frequency of light coming from it has been slowed to a dark red in color.

But, one of the biggest things that I took away from watching the Superbowl was the shift in marketing strategy that seemed to run through all the commercials like a thread, which was to attack the competition to whatever the advertised products were.

I can remember the breakthrough in marketing regulations which occurred in probably the 1980's that allowed generic brands to start to affix the "compare to [major brand]" words to their labels. That was a big one.

Before that, you might see that the ingredients in both brands were exactly the same, but might think that the "store brand" was of inferior quality, hence their being much cheaper.

Before that, as in ten years before, it was considered unethical, maybe for lack of a better word, for doctors and lawyers to advertise for patients and clients. Now lawyers advertise for patients for doctors on billboards.

But, from the pot shots that Budweiser, I think it was, took at Miller and Coors, pointing out that they both used corn syrup -mmm, pure Rocky Mountain water and corn syrup!- to other advertisers that did as much to bash the competition as to promote thier goods, that was like a thread throughout the ads..."Try getting that from Metro Mobile or Verizon!!" type of thing.

It was the presidential debates a couple years ago where I first noticed this strategy employed.

You don't want Crooked Hillary, Lyin' Ted, or Little Rubio, they use corn syrup, type of thing...

Literally anyone but them...

Our culture is seen by "Madison Avenue" to be more strongly motivated to move away from the things it doesn't want -rather than to blindly pursue their bliss.

Jacob Guest Busks At The Lilly Pad

Thursday night saw my arrival at the Lilly Pad with one Jacob Scardino in tow, carrying a seven stringed instrument that looked like a guitar but had curved frets.

We had a good jam and made a passable live recording, a guy came along and sang the entire Hotel California -excerpt coming soon- with us before telling us that he wished that he had some cash, to go with another guy who had kind of done the same thing.

It just seemed like the group of tourists who had only tipped me 4 bucks a couple nights before were still in town.

The addition of Jacob seemed to have attracted maybe one or two more gay guys than on a regular night. I guess me playing "Father Figure," by George Michaels didn't help that statistic.

At least we didn't have to field requests for Justin Beiber, Fun, Ed Sheeran or Maroon Five, based upon Jacob's being of "that" generation.

Marooned Saturday

Right now, my guitar is at Bobby's apartment, having had the new bone nut piece glued into place.

This was probably a tactical error, because I am broke and will have no money upon waking up in the morning. The strings had been holding the piece in place but were always subject to being knocked out of tune if I bent a string hard.
I definitely could have made it through a night with the thing.

The temperature is hovering right in the middle of the playable range, at 55 degrees.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Drawing A Blank

Superbowl At Howard's

Berta and Ken were in mourning over the Saint's having lost their game due to a bad call and were boycotting the game along with any Superbowl Party that might otherwise have been in full swing as I arrived there after having walked a mile from the bus stop -one of the inconveniences of having the bike stolen.

Jacob said he would bring me a bike tomorrow, out of the few that are parked in the backyard of Bob, his guardian's, house.
The immediacy of the solution to the problem of the bike having been stolen has hit me before having it stolen had fully sunk in.
I learned that I have a habit of only picking up one day's supply of things while at the store. This led to me taking a short bike ride to one or more of the local stores. These are now more like 12 minute walks or rides on the 3 dollar per day street car.
Today, with some small apprehension, I grabbed 3 of what I normally would grab only one of, as well as two cans of Harold's food.
Jacob had given me a ride up to the store, after we had gone and gotten a bag of kratom that we split the cost of.
He is being allowed to roam freely again after his having been busted with weed, but must see a counselor. He was pleasantly surprised when the "addiction" counselor did not poo poo kratom. It is used by recovering addicts to mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal.

Jacob had only been back to the Uxi Duxi once since I was barred.
When asked why he hadn't been around much, he explained that it was because of me being barred, and was able to obtain the further information on the subject that the decision did indeed originate solely with Den-A the owner, and wasn't by "popular consensus," as I had been informed. That had been told to me probably so I wouldn't try to go there when those baristas that are my friends were on duty. 

I came down to the computer lab at Sacred Heart and figured I would at least post something here because:
A: My mother worries if I go too long without posting that I am either in jail or my body is somewhere where it hasn't been discovered and/or identified yet.

I am having my guitar worked on by Bobby in Building C, but I probably could have gone out and played it. The new "nut" -made out of bone, by the way- hasn't set, but I would have to be a pretty much out of control pick flailing skeezer, playing a song like "Sweet Jane," by Lou Reed And Velvet Underground, in a drunken state and mis-striking the strings bad enough to put lacerations in my hand that I wouldn't feel until the next morning, in order to knock the piece on it out of place...

It just turned midnight, into Wednesday, February 6th.

State Of The Union

Bobby almost ruined the president's State of the Union address by loudly hurling insults at the TV.

I guess I'll go back to NPR radio after I do this to see what their fact checking of the thing yielded.

Bobby keeps CNN on his TV that covers half a wall, just about all day.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Woke Up, Got Out Of Bed...

Bike Stolen
Only An 11 Dollar Friday Night -tourists seeming to be moving in large, penniless masses.

Here it is about 4 days gone by without a blog post here.

The barring from Uxi Duxi has apparently had this consequence.

But, in a broader scope, it has been due to procrastination; sitting in my room having one more coffee, one more cigarette, one more toke off a joint...trying to get some enjoyment out of life before going out to face the uncertainty of a night of busking.

Shown, the bike which was stolen previous to the yellow one
The idea of getting a quick blog post done in the computer room before going out to play had been lurking in my mind the past few days, but I have been working on a lot of music which isn't quite ready to be featured here, in lieu of doing any writing.

Plus, I have ideas about things to write about which are grander than the every day stuff like:

Bike Stolen
The yellow cruiser bike was stolen after I had left it for about an hour inside the fence which encloses the parking lot at Sacred Heart.

This almost points to one of the residents as being the thief, or having been "in" on it.

I was thinking that, since it was the second day of the month, and ninety percent of the inhabitants at Sacred Heart would have, just the day before,gotten their monthly checks for 748 dollars, that I could turn my back on my bike.

There must have been some that started smoking crack on credit a few days before the checks came in.
"You know I'm good for the money, unless the government defaults, and you know that ain't gonna happen." type of thing.

That poor soul must have been bilked out of his whole check, through some "I'll give you a twenty dollar rock right now; you pay me back thirty when you get your check" style of program.

After getting his check and then turning it all over to the dopeman at the ATM machine up the street, where the dopeman most likely followed he and others to, he must have really felt awful. So bad that he could imagine that only a nice big hit of crack could help matters. It might have been in this frame of mind that he was in when he saw my bike sitting there.

He probably had acquired a key card to open the gate, intended only for the use of automobile owners, but obtainable by others through the Sacred black Heart market, to coin a term...and so, there goes the yellow bike.

Of course this put to the test the recent skills I have acquired through the self help dialogues and the Eckhart Tolle books.
I did pretty well and only occasionally had to let go of thoughts like making a scapegoat of, say, White Cloud or maybe Jackie in A 108 -anyone who looks guilty and suspicious- maybe strangling them in their apartments after knocking on their doors asking for a cup of flour, to send a message to whomever did it, type of thing.

But Bobby in building C bought me a new phone today after he had failed to reach me because my current phone didn't charge because it sometimes doesn't. This had been enough of a peeve for Bobby to pay for a new LG3 phone for me.

My first text to Jacob induced the response from him that his guardian Bob has a few bikes on his property, some of which might just need air in their tires, and could I have been even slightly down after having the bike that was given to me freely by Dorothy, a caseworker at Sacred Heart, stolen.
It seems like I have acquired a new phone and new bike without having even made an effort.
I will have to take the streetcar one time tonight, at least, and then will have to walk a mile to get to Howard Westra's house to watch the Superbowl.
I always try to show up there whenever the New England Patriots are being televised, and the Superbowl is no exception.

A Prediction; posted well in advance of the game...
Patriots 29
Rams 22