Sunday, June 30, 2019

Ther Wrong Pot At The Wrong Time

  • Not Prepared
  • 48 Dollar Saturday
Plant in Sacred Heart lobby vandalized by irate evicted resident on his way out; he pulled a kinfe on someone, kicked over the plant and the little metal dispenser of doggie pop picker uppers, and is in jail now. Bobby, my friend in building C was part of the drama, as the resident had demanded, rather than asked that Bobby help him move his stuff, using his truck. Bobby refused and the resident tore the ceiling tiles out of the elevator on the way down to the first floor where the innocent plant was in the wrong pot at the wrong time...

In my ongoing war against the separation of work from play, I lost the battle of remembering that one of the main reasons I knocked off last night, even though it was only about 1:30 AM on a Saturday night when there were still plenty of people out, was that my LED light had dimmed considerably.

I had been amazed at how bright it had still been Friday night, after using it for 2 hours. When I unplugged it, it was still blinding. “This is an amazing light,” I thought.

But, after not recharging it that night, it faded out over the next couple hours. Still not a bad deal, since I no longer have to plunk down 6 bucks every 10 days or so on a 20 pack of Family Dollar brand batteries, which can be inconsistent in quality.

But, I got in this (Sunday) morning and didn’t plug the thing in to charge, so that, a couple minutes ago as I prepared to go out, I remembered it.

My only option for playing on this Sunday night would be to buy batteries for the “legacy” flashlight that I used to use before Bobby in building C gave me the rechargeable.

But, then, I might only be able to find AAA ones in the 8 pack, which would run me probably about 7 bucks at the Walgreen’s and...

Yeah, I need to work on feeling like a busker 24 hours a day and not trying to flip a switch and change modes, like those who don’t think about their jobs when they are off. “...As soon as Friday at five rolls around, I don’t think about this place at all until Monday morning when my alarm goes off...” type of thing...

If I were to think of myself as a busker all the time, then I would be preparing new material when I’m home, and doing things like plugging my light in to charge....

So, now, I pack up and go out. I might as well leave the LED light here charging.

48 Dollar Saturday

It seemed like a typically slow night last (Saturday) night.

The guy who had had the bass drum the night before came up to me as I was locking my bike and said: “I didn’t make s*** today, these people are cheap!”

I didn’t see the bass drum anywhere, nor any other tell tale signs that he might be thinking of banging the drum over my music any time soon, like his own milk crate nearby the Lilly Pad, or his bike parked where he had parked it the night before.

I tried to commiserate with him about how it has been slow every one of the 7 years that I have been keeping records around this time each year. But, I was wary of treating him as an equal in that regard, because if that is implied, then his next step might be to propose that we have equal time at the playing spot, because "We're both out here doing basically the same thing," type of thing.

There’s no way I want to do something like play from ten until eleven, and then turn it over to him to bang away for the next hour. That would mean he would be in my life; I'm not ready for that.

Side note: The rub board guy.
By the way, the rub board playing guy told me that he not only was in the movie "Interview With a Vampire," but also the "Popeye" movie, as he put it, and yes, the Treme series on HBO or wherever, and he said something about playing in The Georgia Dome, I don't know, maybe at half-time. I'm sure the accountant was pleased that, instead of having to hire a marching band, they were able to land a nigga with a washboard for considerably less money...

I was only getting a trickling of money, maybe six people tipped me the whole 150 minutes that I played, but the last tip, which looked like maybe five dollars all stacked together, turned out to be more like 40 one dollar bills, so new that they were stuck together, and as I counted them, each apparent one dollar bill separated into two or three. They smelled like fresh playing cards.

So, I went and put 35 bucks on my green American Express Serve card and then turned around an spent almost 9 bucks off of it on a big bag of food for Harold, that might last 2 weeks, for five bucks, an energy drink and a can of pineapple slices.

Being a bit low on provisions casts a 48 dollar night in a different light.

I will need strings soon, and a new harmonica would be lovely. In the meantime, adding some data to my hotspot phone is high on the list of home improvements I could make.

Then, there is the vaporizer pen for 22 bucks that I probably should have bought on the night that Jacob and I busked and split 76 dollars.
That had been the night that Sampson in the Unique Grocery told me to save my money because he had a Juul vape that he would give me, the next night.
As that story goes, he gave me the vaporizer, which had a cartridge in it, but no charger to go with it, and then eventually gave me a charger that doesn’t seem to charge the thing if the absence of any green light on the thing is any indication, or the absence of any vapor coming out of it when I try to use it is...

So, I am leaning towards just replacing that. Mostly because, after having gone back to cigarettes while the vaporizer situation plays out, I have noticed more phlegm and more short-windedness and, of course, less money in my pocket.

That might be the most important thing, as it relates to my health. That would leave me enough money to add maybe 500 megabytes to my government phone, which I finally seem to have under control as far as runaway data in the background eating up data.
I basically disabled every single application, one by one from using background data.

And then, I can continue to work on all my projects and hopefully keep this blog rolling along until I find a purpose for it. I am leaning towards dividing it into categories of “busking” “kratom” and “stories.”
Using it as some sort of portfolio in the future is in the back of my mind.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Race Relations In Busking

Blog entry: June 29th. The guy with the drum.

Lately, an older, skinny black guy has been showing up at the Lilly Pad, on a bike with a milk crate basket on it, and carrying a bass drum.
This bass drum, he beats while singing poorly, after making some excuse to me about how he is desperate to make some kind of money, otherwise he wouldn’t be basically setting up right on top of me, making it impossible for me to do any kind of business.
He has the decency? to move about 50 feet down the street in either direction before he starts thumping away.
Last night, I wasn’t letting anything bother me, even him showing up and leaning his bike against a pole nearby me, and informing me that “I’m gonna leave my rig right here,” as if he was entrusting me with keeping an eye on it while he ruins my business.
I let go of any thoughts of anything I might say to him. I, of course thought about saying: “Dude, are you just gonna set up on top of me and ruin my spot?”
I knew that a bass drum wouldn’t be tolerated for very long, either in front of Lafitt’s or in front of any of the residencies further down, some of which I used to play in front of before being informed that even my acoustic guitar and harmonica was loud enough to leak through their walls and disturb their sleep.
I was just going to let the neighborhood run its course.
Either Lilly would hear it and come out and run the guy off, or one of the other residents. And, hopefully the guys at the bar would tell him that he couldn’t stand in front and make a racket that would bleed all the way through the candle-lit lounge to the ears of those sitting around the piano player.
So, I remained calm and tried to give non reaction a chance.
The guy walked to about the mid point between me and the bar and started hammering away.
There were a lot of black people out last night. This usually means there is some kind of event going on that has drawn them here, and they haven’t figured out yet where the black people go to have fun.
It certainly doesn’t seem to be Lafitt’s Blacksmith Shop Tavern with its candle light and piano bar and its drinks which are purposely made expensive to keep the place exclusive.
But, there were soon a group of black people around him as he beat away and tried to make them think that they were being introduced to New Orleans music.
I was able to shuck any anger that I might have had and do what I usually do in such a case, which was to use his drum beat as rhythm to my own stuff. Rather than drowning me out and making me sound garbled, I then had the addition of a bass drum to my ensemble. Little did the guy know that he was playing drums for both his rendition of “Aiko Aiko” and my “Fat Bottomed Girls” at the same time.
Within 15 minutes the guy came walking past me, cussing and saying something like “damned police showing up when a guy has to try to make a living!”
I looked, and at the corner, was parked a non nondescript white van, no police markings at all.
My first thought was that the guy was going to accuse me of having called them, but I guess the van had been there before he walked up on me, just after midnight.
He was returning to his milk crate to retrieve padded mallets to replace the wooden sticks that he had been using, apparently a compromise made between he and the police. It is part of the cops job to inform people like him that he can’t bang a bass drum 20 feet from where someone might be sleeping. He must have laid it on thick. “I’m only gonna be here until I make enough money to get something to eat,” maybe adding how long it has been since he ate, and how he was born “here” and has been doing what he does “for 40 years” and other things that he told me the first night that he showed up.
Having replaced the sticks with the mallets, he went back and soon had a group of young blacks around him. They had become energized by his exchange with the cops, most likely framing it as “police abuse of people of color” and they cheered him on, occasionally glancing over at me, especially after I had stopped playing and was basically waiting for him to leave, one way or another.
I’m sure he had mentioned to them the fact that the police let “white boy over there” play, so why not him? The obnoxious bass drum notwithstanding.
I say that he probably mentioned me because, after that group walked away from him, they walked past me, four young blacks wearing “casual basketball” attire, who began to do kind of a gorilla walk, as they approached.

The one female among them ejaculated “Aha ha ha!”
Which was echoed by one of the guy’s as in: “Ahh ha ha, you’re doing good!”

It was obvious that they thought the black guy had just brute forced his way onto the block and they were just fine with that, as if he, and their entire race by proxy, had triumphed over me and mine.

“You’re doing real good!” one of them said to me. It seemed like he thought that the black guy with the drum, who was drunk and gregarious and aggressively hustling his “authentic New Orleans music, was the victor, and me sitting there with a much quieter instrument and not engaging with people except by playing, represented the whole white race in some way, and so he, ironically became a representative to me of the entire culture of “F*** that white boy; just come in and take that spot from him, just start banging away; we’re with you!”

“Yeah, You’re doing real good...”

I started to play a Dylan song, but with some difficulty, as he had moved even closer to me. I felt an anger threatening to rise up, but, once again just took a deep breath and thought about “the whole picture” and how this situation might fit in.
So, instead of yelling anything to him, I just waited.
Soon, one of the bouncers from the bar came out and said something to him.
Then he had an exchange with one of the pedicab drivers parked across from the bar. Those drivers also like to crank up their pedicab stereos to ostensibly attract customers.

Then, something interesting happened.

A group of Latinos emerged from the bar and were able to pass by him without any money exchanging hands, but they stopped in front of me.
It was three pretty tough looking guys along with a woman who reminded me of my friend Jacob’s mother and who smiled.
I started to play, and, within a few seconds, so did the drummer.

“One of the residents is gonna come out and tell him he can’t do that,” I said to them, adding: “I’m not going to do anything.”
“That’s alright just play.
Their response was interesting and to the effect of; don’t worry about him, he’s just a drunk, we didn’t give him anything, we want to hear you.
I thought about how much I have always liked Latinos; how I am learning Spanish and I shop at the Ideal Market, and how I truly have warm feelings towards them which I think they can sense. It felt like karma coming home to roost.

I played, and they listened. About a minute into my first song, they seemed to determine that I was worth tipping the 4 dollars, which they did -one from each of them- and then the woman asked me to play another song.

I even had the thought flash through my mind that, if I were to tell them that I had been on the spot first and he had encroached, then they seemed like the types who would walk over and tell him in no uncertain terms that he was stepping on my hustle and that it wasn’t cool and that he’d better leave, type of thing.

“Are you gonna give me 20 bucks? I’ll leave here as soon as I make 20 bucks, I need to feed my family” is, I’m sure the kind of response they would get from him.

At around 1 AM, the guy came and got on his bike that I had guarded, and just rode off.

I played for another hour and made the bulk of the 17 dollars that I took home. A typical Friday night during the slow season when frugal tourists arrive here, utilizing all kinds of “off season discounts” on hotels and meals.

Now it is time to go back out on this (Saturday) night.

I slept until about 4 PM, probably having dosed off around 8 in the morning.
I tried to think of what was making me feel lethargic and kind of toxic. It was either the sugar that I had sprinkled on my popcorn the night before, trying to make home made Cracker Jacks by adding walnuts to the mix. (I have been keeping an eye out for the Cracker Jacks people to catch the wave of “variety in everything” that pervades current society and come out with Cracker Jacks with walnuts, cashews, macadamia...12 new varieties of them, with different colors bands across the classic box cover touting “new!” Brazil nut flavor, or something) or it was the popcorn itself -I had stopped eating corn, beginning with corn syrup for almost 2 years, and have just started on popcorn again, since it is such good fiber...

So, I did well with the Latino community last night, but not so much the blacks, but thankfully no race riot broke out over proponents of the drummer vs. the acoustic guitar and harmonica player and singer.

But, I go out tonight with the standard butterflies in my stomach, and a few extra flitting around.
I might text Lilly, who might keep her ear out for thumping in the night, and come out and run him away.

Plus I have the usual regrets of not having added any new songs to my repertoire. I was reminded twice of this.

Once after I knocked off last night and heard the piano guy playing “Wild World,” by Cat Stevens inside the bar...I could have done that song, I know it... and then again when I was in the Goodwill Store buying a couple books and another song came on that I used to do almost nightly but have forgotten about...

Friday, June 28, 2019

Outpouring Of Help

It will be pouring outside soon. Rain is threatening with high winds and gray clouds and Bobby's TV showing a news photo, taken from atop the spire of the tall bridge that goes over the river, featuring a wall of foggy mist flashing like a mosquito zapper on an August night in the bayou and about to encroach upon the Mississippi River from over on Howard's side. He must be getting it right now.
Heavy rains.
I must run to the store for a can of cat food. I am down to just enough money for one after having made only a dollar busking last (Thursday) night.
Had I stayed for one more hour, I'm sure it would have been at least a 6 dollar night, but I had smoked some "ambition-be-gone" and just wanted to get back to my cocoon of an apartment.
But not before applying for work through Appen, which I saw mentioned on Reddit after I went to read the outpouring of help that I got on my post about Tor...

Thursday, June 27, 2019


I step into the 21st century by reaching out for help the only way the millenials know how...

I don't know if I have to be a member of the reddit/tor group to do this.

I don't know if I blundered by posting, rather than asking this through a comment on an existing thread.

I don't know if someone like Chuck Croll of Martinez, California and the moderator of the Blogger help forum is going to flag me as a troll for having started a new thread "He's had a blog for 4 years, and he doesn't know what a thread is?!?" and tell the other members of the reddit that I am after them and their data, like Chuck did to me back in 2010 when I had posted to my blog using a most likely highly infected computer at a homeless shelter (need a valid yet fraudulent social security number? Just check the window that some homeless and computer illiterate person applying for food stamps left open, type of thing).

And, well I guess I will wait to see if I get any replies.

How will I know? Maybe when I come back to my reddit home page there will be a notification that there has been a comment left on my post, maybe? It's hard to believe that I once bore the title of "systems integration technician" working for the then 3rd largest computer company in the world behind IBM and another fossil, Digital Equipment Corporation...

Back then, the VS80 that I set up and shipped out at costs in the low millions were the size of a freezer; the kind that you lift the lid on like a big coffin, and the VS80 boasted 256 killobytes of memory, but for something like $28,000 more, you could have me slide another memory board in the thing, and then apply the knowledge that Wang was paying me quite well for to set the jumper on the first board to let it know that it was going to work in tandem with another one, bringing the memory up to 512 killobytes. Why any corporation would need more was beyond us, at Wang labs in 1983...

So, here I have gotten the idea to download a bunch of programs, written in the Perl coding language, which run the classic game of "Hangman."

It is something that I was into programming in Basic, back in the late 80's (haven already fallen behind the rest of the world, which had all moved on to HTML, by ten years).

But, I think I can make great strides by learning to make a hangman game, because it will help me in my hobby project.

That program will take all of the 26 Megabytes of writing that I have done on this blog and will create a dictionary, using the vocabulary.

Ultimately, when I am done writing a post, the program will inform me of any new words that I used (and misspelled ones, as a by product) and prompt me to add them to the dictionary. It will then give me a report on how large my vocabulary is, and possibly give me a "word of the day" out of the subset of the Harvard Unabridged Dictionary of words that I have never used, in all my blogging.

I am pretty sure that a similar program already exists, maybe as part of one of those workshops to improve writing skills (feed in at least a hundred pages of your writing to find out how your vocabulary ranks, in terms of variety and sophistication of words, type of thing) but this is intended to be a learning exercise, and a hobby, for now...


So, for starters, it seems like my neighbor was somehow able to bump me off of his wifi connection, since I have been getting “failure to connect to network” messages for a couple days now.
Wednesday evening "find the pick" puzzle.
I can only guess that something went wrong at about the time I was messing with the Tor Browser, maybe I allowed someone to hack into Wayne’s router by surfing on the Tor network. Who knows.

Finding things.

What is interesting to myself is how I seem to look at the whole universe as a giant jigsaw puzzle.

When I have misplaced something, the first thing I will do is think of what color it is; and then think of where else I have seen that color and; I have had some pretty good success relocating things that way.

What the photo above doesn't even show is that the book itself had been placed  among other black and orange books.

I think this is a subconscious way to camouflage things, so that I can grab them in a pinch, but others might not notice them at all...

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Ho Hum

Gosh, I just listened to the "Nazi Mamma" song I posted last week and it sure is a piece of crap.

And, why do I put important things where they will be hard to find?
And a good example of how a song needs to be listened to by "fresh" ears, because after working on one for 12 hours straight it is easy to become steeped in it so you are no longer really listening to it, at least not with fresh ears.

You might be struggling to fit a guitar solo over a certain section, when you should have sat back and listened from the beginning to determine if there should even be a guitar solo there, type of thing...

But, recordings that don't kill you, only make you stronger as a composer.

It is the musicians who give up after delivering of themselves something that sounds like crap who fall by the wayside.

High Latency!!

And so, undaunted, I just moved on the the next thing, and lo and behold, after I installed (yet another!) audio application which is kind of a looping sequencer of the type that allows rappers and others, whose main "skill" is in the utilization of such software, to compose in a hurry and "drop" new dope tracks left and right, I obtained another clue in the universe...

The program has a setup menu through which you can choose which audio system to use. The choices (Pulse, ALSA and Jack, for you geeks) were given, with the warning of "High latency!" being appended to the Pulse Audio choice.
This is the driver that I have been using for my Audacity projects.

And, I have been suspicious all along that latency issues have been taking some of the swing out of my music. It sounds good when I am playing it, but then when I play it back, the timing is off just a hair.
So, now I go off to investigate how to connect one of the other two choices to Audacity.

Plus, there is another "flavor" of Linux, besides the Ubuntu that I use, which is optimized for use as a digital audio workstation, referred to as, lo and behold: "low latency" Linux.

I really feel like the ostrich that pulls its head out of the sand every once in a while and looks around.

The Wi-Fi Fiasco

I am still getting a "failure to connect to network" when trying to access my next door neighbor's wi-fi. I think he is the type who avoids conflict and may have somehow shut me off.

It was a good month or so of having "unlimited" Internet access.

I think it might have been a mistake to install the Tor Web browser, as I did, and mess around with it. That required that I go into Firefox and tweek the settings in the "don't touch anything here unless you really know what you are doing" section of the preferences.

I changed the port that I was listening through and I shut off the acceptance of certain media (by running Adobe Flash, for instance, you are advertising your bank account number to the world, for [exaggerated] example.

If any of these changes caused any sort of glitch on Wayne's computer, he may have just decided that it would be easier for him to troubleshoot the problem by first simplifying things by rebooting his router and then maybe setting it up so that the connection could not be shared.

And, I think he is the type who wouldn't tell me if he did so. Probably thought that I would just give up on trying to connect after a day or three of trying everything under the sun and reading all kinds of reddits and forums on the topic of "failed to connect to network."

I can't be upset with a guy who let me get a whole month or so of Internet, even though I could have saved a lot of trouble had he just told me that he decided to run only his computer off the router.

I'm pretty sure that he took Harold, my cat somewhere to have him fixed. This would have been around the time that Harold was gone for a while and came back very skittish and with the corner of one of his ears lopped off (a marking used to denote cats that have been thus "fixed").

He also, I am pretty sure, treated Harold with one of those flea treatments that last for something like a whole year and cost abut $120. I remember him saying once that he had bought it for his own cat, and then remarked about how the only difference between the products labeled as being for kittens and small cats and the ones for big cats was the size of the bottle, and not the price. He told me that he had just went ahead and bought the big size for the same money. This might have been a hint to me that he would have some left over in order to treat Harold but, not being a skeezer, I didn't try to skeeze any off him. It's $120 per treatment, after all.

But Harold just suddenly started to come in from outside with not one flea on him, and I haven't seen a flea since, not one. And, it's been almost a year now.

I also was informed by Google that someone had logged into my Google account from "near the UK" on the same Sunday night when I was using the Tor Browser. This could have been cause by the "peer to peer" nature of the Tor Browser which uses the computers of people on the network to relay requests, without the individual computers knowing where they came from nor where they are going.
So, for now, I am back to using the 2 gigs of data allotted to me by the government phone, which the Assurance Wireless website tells me I have used about one third of at this point.
Ho hum, a blog post about mundane day to day problems, done when I should have been practicing the Mel Bay material.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Deep Dark Web

So, the Tor Browser comes with my Linux system. And, I'm not even supposed to tell you that.

It even comes in two separate pieces.

One of them runs in the background monitoring a special port, and the other one is the actual browser that uses this connection.

When you surf on the deep dark web, why would you then turn around and, in the light of day, like on a Blogger blog, divulge that you have done so?
It would be like announcing to the world: "I'm that guy who puts the brown bag over his head and runs crazily through the streets every night!" I guess is the theory.

There are warnings that come along with the Tor Browser that caution you about certain unsafe practices which might lead to an outside party being able to tell that you are using the Tor Browser.

Wow, this is like buying something from some store and then ditching the black bag that it came in, so nobody would know that you had shopped there.

But, the Tor people highlight the fact that their technology allows people to surf the web totally anonymously. And this is both good, for keeping you safe from attackers, and bad because it can potentially allow you to attack with impugnity.
Anonymity can be akin to the "selflessness" talked about by the Buddha et al.
Why attach the label of a name to yourself when are surrendered to the void? Do you have to know what a particular flower is "called" to appreciate its beauty? I think not.
It can be a liberating experience, videos of midgets being fed to pythons notwithstanding...

They take no responsibility for whatever transpires between totally anonymous people.
I finally got around to firing up the Tor Browser that had been available through the Ubuntu software "store" and went into the dark web, where I found the following, which was published by, I believe, a Japanese female doctor of some kind. I can only surmise that a doctor in Japan might lose her license should she recommend such things as a frozen potato for a toothache, in lieu of a costly prescription, but following is a somewhat charmingly translated into English excerpt from the page:

Take away the potato from the freezer and lower off a skinny slice that may fit immediately onto your wisdom tooth. The chilled potato will numb the nerves, soothe the ache, and make your tooth really feel significantly better. It is an amazing antifungal and antiviral herb and will enormously assist to scale back wisdom tooth pain. 

The reason that people would not want anyone to find out that they are using Tor is because there are people who would ask accusingly: "Why would you be browsing anonymously unless you had something to hide?"
Of course they would wonder that.
So, use Tor, but don't even let them know you are using it. Soon, you will have a remedy to the toothache like I have.
I have been fighting back a toothache using acupressure, deep breathing, yoga and meditation for the past week or so. It will start to throb and be painful enough that I would have, in the past, made a beeline to the emergency room for antibiotics and Ibuprofen.
My teeth are a concern, but I am in the present moment and taking it one meal at a time.
Swishing the mouth out with salt was, by the way, the first remedy suggested by "Michelle"
the healer on the onion network.

When I come to this blog using Tor, like I have now, I am treated like a first time visitor and have to log in using my password, and then have to accept the "cookies" policy.
Tor, I believe, automatically deletes those cookies, and I might have to go through the same process each time. Plus, everything lakes an extra second or two to happen using Tor, because the pages requested are encrypted then bounced around, like a letter mailed to one guy, and inside is another envelope with a note telling him to mail the letter, with no return addresses being on any of the envelopes.

One of the things about Tor is that you are asked if you are in a country where Tor is censored. I wonder if this is like the "are you 18 or older?" question that a six year old could click "yes" to. Please tell us if you are in North Korea and we will disconnect you as per national law. Even though you are totally anonymous, it is against the law to lie, type of thing...
So, I guess now is the test of whether or not I can even post this. Maybe Tor will hit me with a: "Please remove all references to Tor or Tor Browser before being able to transmit this post over the Tor network."
Here goes...

Sunday, June 23, 2019

8 Days To Outlive Michelle

Well, here we go using a new text editor, a "hackable" editor, as it is called by the makers of it.
It is named "Atom" and already, I have noticed that when I type a quote mark, the editor supplies the closing one (I guess, so I won't forget to close the quotes) and it just did the same for the parentheses.
I have been spending some time mixing music, and learning more about the process of it in the process.

Friday night, I went out and made 24 bucks in about an hour and twenty minutes, helped by a 20 dollar bill from one guy who had to get my attention, for I hadn't even really glimpsed him standing in front of me, as my head was down and, if my eyes were open, they hadn't been registering anything.

"This is a twenty," he said, probably realizing that I would want to hide it.

I took it out of the basket and replaced it with a one dollar bill, so the basket would look just as full to any tourists of the type who tip because they can see that others have.

I am starting to think seriously about making a trip to New England to see family and friends.

Michelle Maxfield

My fourth grade girlfriend died, I was notified of, along with learning of the bizarre coincidence that she was the cousin of one of my random Facebook friends. I recognized the name.

She was 8 days younger than me.

Goodwill Hunting

I went to the Goodwill Store, after I had given Sampson at the Unique Grocery the five dollars for the Vuse Alto vaporizer that he gave me, minus the charger.
He will give me the charger the next time I see him, I hope.
I was in a very good mood when I got to the Goodwill Store. Life was good, in general, and I went in to look at books and CDs and whatever other surprises might lurk in that place.

As I walked towards the back, I got my first stony faced frown from a black man who was coming down the aisle in the opposite direction, who did the thing, very common here in black people, of not yielding an inch in order to let me pass. He was going to just plow straight ahead; the white man could move to avoid him.

One time, when this happened in the past, I just stopped where I was, which forced him to have to go around me, or run smack into me. That time, the guy had begrudgingly gone around me, but not without clipping me on the arm with his shopping cart.

I think the black people lay claim to the Goodwill Store as one of their own weapons in their fight for "equality-" a way for them to keep up with the Joneses (who are white) by getting things at bargain prices, with the world not knowing that they didn't pay full price for it, and that they don't really "have it like that."

The only reason they have to shop there is because of the unfairness of the white run world, and to see a white guy, who has had all the advantages, in there trying to steal a bargain right out from under a black man; well, it's just not right...

This is the only sense I can make out of the tendency towards this kind of behavior in black people at the Goodwill Store.

It's not exactly like the Wal Mart in Gretna, where I was often the only white person that I saw in the store. There, I would be pestered by children running around with no shirts on and deciding that they were going to bounce the ball that they found in the toy section mostly just around my feet, before leaving it somewhere in the store where it doesn't belong.

But, then, I went back to the book rack which runs about 50 feet along the back wall of the store.

I wasn't there long before I felt the presence of another black man, who had the more yellowish appearance of, say, a Tiger Woods who caught my attention because, out of the corner of my eye, I could see his approach over my shoulder, and he had walked straight towards me, as if he expected me to move a little bit to let him pass.

Then, as I focused upon the spines of the books, he wound up a few feet down from me, and began to talk. He was reading book titles out loud, and making little asides, from what I could hear.

But, I wanted to scan the whole 50 feet as fast as I could, so I intensified my perusing, stepping a little closer to the rack and, still ignoring Tiger Woods.
Then, as I looked at the titles, the book shelf began to quiver. The guy had taken hold of it and was shaking the entire book rack. Just for fun, apparently.

After I was satisfied that I hadn't missed any gems, I started to walk away.

I looked towards the guy, if for no other reason than to communicate that I hadn't been intentionally ignoring him, just busy shopping.

I was met with a stare right out of a boxing ring, from when the referee is having them butt their mitts before the opening bell, and telling them to have "a clean fight," and they are just staring at each other like, well, like the guy in the Goodwill Store who looked kind of like Tiger Woods.

If I hadn't been watching a lot of Eckhart Tolle videos and meditating, I just might have left that store with a chip on my shoulder which I might have carried with me all night, turning me into just one more stony faced, pissed at the universe pedestrian, here in Ignore-leans, Louisiana.

Friday, June 21, 2019

A Thursday For Recording

[Song removed because I think it sucked upon revisiting it]
So, what is bugging me is that I caught the person or persons who have been loving all the music I have been putting on my Soundcloud, in the act of liking the last song that I posted, without having even listened to it.
Their "like" popped up, along with the (I now believe) form letter style praise of it, and of course their invitation of me to join their community of some kind, where I am promised that my stuff will be potentially heard by almost a million people or something.

Sure, but, my music could potentially be heard by almost a million people already.
Here's How It Works
I put the stuff on soundcloud like I would put my classic 1967 Camaro body in a barn, supported by wooden horses and having been sanded and painted with legion coats of paint.
And there sits the body, atop the wooden horses and with the sheet of heavy plastic or the nylon tarp at rest on the floor nearby, waiting to cover the car again as soon as you are done looking.
And, for someone to like the song, especially accompanied by the heart icon and the praise, which sounded legit.
I remember my initial reaction being fear. Fear that now I had a reputation to uphold, now I had people counting upon me to deliver more of the same.
So, I suppose the false flattery that I exposed is a license to do whatever I want, like it or not.
But, back to the million people...
If I ever should weld a motor to a frame and attach the body to that and then put plush upholstery and all the latest tech gadgets in it; then I will take that baby for a spin, and maybe even ride right down Hollywood Boulevard, type of thing.
This would be if I were to combine very topical and current lyrics, a musical one-liner about anything that is going on in the world, and put these lyrics with some heavily worked out, dope sounding music, (there are flashes of this in the soundcloud songs. The way the sleazy pros would do it is to take that one spot that sounds really good and put it on a loop; now the listener is going to hear it 82 times, but will be focusing upon the Facebook post level lyric (which will be repeated also).
So, in the above analogy, taking the pimped out ride out for a spin would be me posting the tune on my Facebook and then personally notifying my friends, individually perhaps, that I think I have really come up with a gem of a song*, and that they should really listen to it and to tell all of their average of 72 friends to also listen to it and share alike...
This is the potential to have my music heard by almost a million people.
*And, of course, I would have played the song for everyone I know, who all, from the lady who sits at the security desk up front, to Wayne, my next door neighbor, to the guy who sells me Bang energy drinks at a nearby store.
"This is you?!?" they would be mandated to ask.
If they couldn't believe it was me, or had grave doubts that I had just downloaded something, then put my voice on it, using some new app; then all the better. It would have to be that kind of song before the Facebook marketing would even be considered..
But, as the boy who cried "wolf" would tell you. If you post some bullshit, and then make the same plea, you may be finished, through, kaput. The boy had a pretty good run of crying "wolf" I recall. I don't think it was until about the half dozenth false report that he was ignored. Well, that book came out well before social media.
You probably get about 3 cries your whole life. Then you can forget about the potential to reach almost a million people...
So, I give you the nice, shiny body of a '67 Camaro from back when the body bag business was thriving, but I digress. The song above.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Busy, Buzzy, Busy

Another iron in the fire...
With all the irons that I have in the fire, I came to a realization this morning, when I found myself reading very dry technical discussions about the latest "vulnerability" found in the Linux operating system.

It almost seems like, to get ahead in this world, one must become highly specialized, and an expert in some very refined niche, and gain some prominence that way.

Leave it to some other highly specialized individual to understand how a hacker could exploit something that is within the 4.1 million pages of code that comprises the latest release of Linux.

I really would love to be the type of expert who could write applications for my smartphone and then run them over wi-fi, using my home computer as a server, perhaps inventing some interesting game to be played on smartphones.
But, then again, I would really like to start using the MuseScore application that I have to compose string and horn sections to go with music that I have recorded.
And, I want to eventually read all 200 or so books that I have laying around the apartment.
And I want to learn Amharic, the language that the Ethiopian guys who work at The Unique Grocery speak.
And, to improve my Spanish.
But, I have also begun work on another huge pencil drawing.
And, I want to record all the songs in the Mel Bay Modern Guitar Method books, either on video or audio.
Which makes me think: Why stop there; why not record them all and place them upon a website devoted to my "business" as a guitar instructor ("where Mel is the way!" or something) and use that to sign up local students at 20 bucks an hour.
And, well, it threatens to be overwhelming and confusing.
All I can do is try to stay in the present moment...and to just quit smoking marijuana, yeah, that too...

Saturday, June 15, 2019

What's Been Keeping Me

What has been happening repeatedly over the past couple weeks is that I have come home from busking and have popped in the recording that I would have made at the Lilly Pad, using my phone on the end of a selfie stick, propped just above my head.

This arrangement kind of detracts from the busking persona that I try to exude, by making it look like I at the very least, have the purpose of making a recording of myself, and that being a reward in and of itself, tourists might be less inclined to think that I am playing for tips.

There is a difference between that and a guy whose only apparent reason for being out there seems to be the tip jar in front of him.

It's a subtle thing, but I am aware of it.

But, the recordings are good because they are a pretty objective reference as to how exactly I sound, and they are good because when there are people listening, especially those who have thrown a tip in the basket, then I am at my highest level of...something.

And somewhere in the middle can be heard the rub board player who is world famous up and down Bourbon Street, having been spotted at some point in the movie "Interview With A Vampire" (I believe is what he say's; but maybe you have seen that movie like six times, and there's no rub board player on Bourbon Street in it).

That being said, I have planned upon posting little pieces of these recordings, and it has been the inability to decide which ones, and how much I should process them, which has resulted in the posting gridlock of the recent past.
They certainly sound like, well, phone recordings right off of the phone. With a bit of equalization they become more listenable, but you be the judge of that.

I just hope these don't sully my reputation on Soundcloud for producing "electronica" with plenty of cat meows in the mix.

I have posted the one above, which is named for a certain young lady, who gave me all of her change, as heard at the start and end of it

I will probably use these things just for inspiration, in that I will be able to accumulate verses that I make up on the fly and conglomerate them into additional choruses on songs.

As far as the future is concerned, I would really like this blog to eventually branch into maybe 3 main sections, which would be music, kratom and stories, perhaps.
The kratom thing would be cool if I could become like the administrator over a world-wide kratom related group of people.
But, I would like to have it become, through the story section, eventually a whole autobiography, as I cement together the stories into chronological order, type of thing..

Thursday, June 6, 2019

25 Cents A Head

Once again, waking up in a daze, with just enough time to have coffee, a glass of apple juice, wake up more, look at the people on Bourbon Street where I should be at the moment, then worry about cat food enough to make myself go out there...

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Two From The Lilly Pad: Magnifying An Aberration

Actual live recordings using cellphone microphones

Oh, I forgot to mention that on "While My Harmonica..." the following played:
Myself: Acoustic guitar, vocals, harmonica, live at the Lilly Pad. (Real tourists were actually subjected to parts of this) additional engineering which added a bass boost to the notoriously tinny phone recording.
[The only thing I am leery of in boosting the bass is that, since the phone's microphone barely picksup any at all, the levels fall to zero at some point when they are fainter than even the phone can represent in binary...
So, if you go nuts amplifying it, you are just magnifying an aberration.
So, I compromised and left Jacob Scardino's acoustic bass at a low level because amplifying it was going to make it sound louder but worse. There is just too much noise where the bass notes should be on the .m4a out of my phone.
But, I am ready to pounce upon the first deal I see on any kind of external phone microphone.
Trouble is that a lot of the best ones have "lightning" connectors which I think only work with Apple products.
Employees of one of these tech companies will one day hold all of the world's data hostage, and require half the earth's wealth as the ransom.,Or, they will set up a world dictatorship and give people back their data in exchange for their complete allegiance.
They could keep the populace in check due to the fear that they made copies of everyone's data before giving it back...
I would worry more about Google than Donald Trump at this very stage of us having crawled out of the ooze and spoken our first words, etc...

Monday, June 3, 2019

The 9:12 Streetcar To Better Days

The 9:12 PM street car that I used to be on every night when I didn't have a bike has rolled by.

I slept right up until about that time when I found myself antsy and unable to sleep any more. This is from force of habit; from having had a surge of adrenaline every night at that time over the past 7 years.

I had gotten in from busking at the relatively early hour of 2 AM, after having made something like 8 bucks.
But, I had been there early enough to get a hug from Lilly, who appeared in front of me, along with a couple ladies who bore the same Castilian/Celtic traits that Lilly does.

I spent the morning cleaning the apartment getting ready for an inspection that I became aware of through a piece of paper stuck in my door Friday.
It gave me 2, or 3, or 4 days to get ready for it, depending upon which of the three scheduled inspection days they come to my place (Bobby in building C said that they inspected his place today (Monday) and so, if I were a gambler, I might bet that they have started with building C and are going to work backwards, to "A," and will come to my place on Wednesday.

The reason that I am just now getting back to regular blogging is that getting wi-fi in the apartment led to a binge of Youtube video watching, which had me falling asleep sometime in the middle of what, because of that happening, would become the last one of the night.

Then, I would wake up with sunlight streaming through my windows, and some video streaming through my laptop which was navigated to by Youtube's artificial intelligence-driven selector of videos, which is based upon my viewing habits.
Since I would not have been awake to indicate that, no, I really don't need to watch the Patriots come back from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Falcons in the Superbowl again, I might be woken up by the sound of fans screaming, as Tom Brady has the ball, first and goal at the 12 yard line, ready to throw a pass to Hogan, who would drop it, but it would be OK, because the Falcons will be penalized for defensive interference. Again.

I would get up just to shut the computer down and turn the lights off (since the sunlight is so bright you can't really tell that they are on) and go back to sleep, until such a time that the 9:12 PM street car rumbling past would act like the sound of reveille to me. After that, sleep would become impossible for not being able to push away thoughts of what I was missing right then at the Lilly Pad.

Then, it would be; right out to busk, no time to blog, type of thing....

In the meantime, other pursuits would also get put on the back burner, such as the reading of any of the two dozen books that I have marked my place in and returned to the shelf.

And the making of recordings, videos, etc.

Never mind running out for things like toilet paper and food....

It seems like time is flying, and if I want' to grab an energy drink and some cat food, I need to hop on my bike very soon. But, I am posting this quickly in order to "post at least something every day to let your readers know you are still maintaining the blog," type of thing...

OK, I am back from running to the Family Dollar for what amounted to an energy drink, a half gallon of apple juice and one can of cat food for Harold, and more importantly, 1,200 sheets of toilet paper.

On the way in, I shot the video which is above, after I noticed that yet another work of art had been pulled down from the wall in the hallway leading from the candy machine area to the smoking area, and then spent just about 3 hours putting it together, to include composing the music using a sample of the deaf girl who lives here yelling.
On the particular night that I had my phone on and recording, Bobby in building C had gotten fed up with her and had yelled "Die, Bitch!" to no avail. She's deaf.

My question to blog readers who comment would be: Was that video "Vandals" worth 3 hours of my time, or should I try to economize it (time) better??

It is almost 5 AM, and that means I can start making noise pretty soon. My next project is to do something with the Lilly Pad recordings that I have started making, to document each night of busking, if nothing else.

By wedging a fully extended "selfie stick" with my phone on the end into a gap between an electrical box and Lilly's steps, I am able to have it hovering right over my head, sort of like how they position microphones on talk shows -right over the head of the person in Johnny Carson's guest chair, just barely out of the frame.

This has produced the best sound quality to date, but...

Now I have an appetite for an external microphone that would plug into the phone, would be unidirectional, would cancel out noise, etc.

I found this out by Googling "how to get the best live music recordings using a smart phone."
I was thinking that there might have been a setting in the phone somewhere, under "audio" which might say something like "Optimize microphone for speech," and that it would be toggled on in my phone. This would account for the fact that the microphone picks up almost no vibrations below 100 hertz. "Helps eliminate background rumble while amplifying the frequencies that help make human speech intelligible," the dialogue box might say...

But, instead, all the top search results had headings like "Why you should never use the built in microphones in your phone to record yourself playing guitar and harmonica"

Sunday, June 2, 2019

It's 10:20 PM

...and so, what am I doing sitting here, when I could be plucking my first note at the Lilly Pad by 11 PM?
Just a couple guys looking for a busker, so as to steal his tip basket...

Saturday, June 1, 2019

For Lack Of A Better Image

It is Saturday evening and the sun is already about to go down.

It is June 1st, and the greater population of Sacred Heart have received their money from the government to compensate them for their disabilities.

They have the tendency to make a show of smoking cigarettes and drinking fine liquor in front of me at this time.
As I go past them on my way out to make an average of 25 dollars, and they are standing there with "hundreds of dollars" on them, they actually exude a smugness and might say sarcastically: "Goin' out to make that big money, eh?" perhaps trying to rub my nose in the fact that I don't get a check for $743 on the first of every month, and to suggest that my life sucks compared to theirs in that regard.
I have to go out there and work every night, or I won't have anything.
Of, course, by the 8th day of the typical month, their attitudes will have changed and they will regret having been so smug, because, at that point they are all out of everything and will have to hustle their way through the last three quarters of the month.
If one of them ever turned to me on the night of the first day of the month, as he stood out front next to those waiting for the crack dealer to drive through, waiting for a cab to come and take him to a nice restaurant where he will drop a third of his monthly check in one evening on lobster and Hennessy ("I just like to treat myself just once every month; my one special night; I feel that I'm entitled to at least that!") and said something like: "Are you alright, do you need a cigarette?" then that would be a person whom I would do the same for when the 8th day of the month rolled around, and his attitude has changed and it seems like not so much of a curse upon me, that I have to ride into the Quarter and busk for 3 hours every night, instead of going out for lobster and Hennessy...

But, it is a stalemate between them trying to rub my nose in the fact that they get a check and flaunt their wealth in front of me, and then me trying to rub their noses in the fact that they run out of it a quarter of the way through the month, while I keep "going out to make that big money," which they mock me for.

The Daniel And Jacob Show

Last night, Jacob and I busked at the Lilly Pad for almost 3 hours and made just about 75 bucks.

One couple, who came along and ruined the first 45 minutes of our stereo recording (made by running both of our phones simultaneously on "audio recorder") by requesting songs and singing along over them, tipped us 50 bucks in three installments of 20,20, then 10.

They were the dream tourists in that, the guy just happened to request songs that I did all the time, like "Misty Mountain Hop," by Led Zeppelin, "While MY (harmonica) Gently Weeps," the Beatles song, and then "House of the Rising Sun."

Jacob is a good at comping along on the acoustic bass, and so we entertained that couple.

Tonight would be a second consecutive night of busking together, should we make it out there.

Done with GIMP editor
It is also a test of how dedicated a busker is, whether or not he/she wants to take time off to enjoy the money or to go another round.

There was a slight problem with skeezers on Thursday night, when I only got out there at midnight and a large, smelly guy with a beard had already laid down and was sleeping on the other side of the staircase from where I play.

I could understand him thinking that I wasn't going to make it when I wasn't there by 11:30.

But then another skeezer, a skinny effeminate guy, who made sure I knew that he went by the name "Butterfly" came along and was obviously faking a limp (How the hell was he ever able to walk to here from wherever he came from with a limp that bad?!?) and just had to sit down and rest immediately. He couldn't make it another 33 feet to the other stoop where I wasn't playing.

It was almost 1:30 AM and, so I wasn't being very territorial over the spot; something that proved to be a mistake. He insinuated himself onto the stoop and began rattling off a dialogue that I had heard before; word for word. It was through that that I realized that I had "seen" him there before.
"They stole my guitar," he said once again.
Then he wanted to show me how to play "Hotel California" on my guitar, just like he had done about six months ago.
He repeated that, most people play "the first three notes" wrong, but that he alone had the secret knowledge about them.
Then he started yammering about how he didn't get his check until the 3rd of the month, like some do, rather than the first, making me pretty sure that it had been the first or second of whatever month it was the last time he had done his exact same little performance.
There weren't many tourists out, and I decided that I would just let him have the stoop.
This was after I had said: "You know, I've been playing here for 7 years and I never make any money when my friends are hanging out with me," using that term as a way of giving him the benefit of the doubt that I considered him a friend. It was going to make it look like the three of us were together and that we were probably spending the proceeds on whatever made the fat guy with the beard pass out; and that I was just the one who played guitar.

He told me that he had to sit there to "watch" the sleeping guy.

This was just an exercise for me in "humility," and being able to look at the big picture and not make a stink over a situation where I only stood to see maybe a dozen more tourists the rest of the night; not worth even bothering Lilly over, but...

But as I was packing up, Butterfly became cocky (I hate it when gay guys become that) and, displaying his version, I guess, of chest thumping, said: "Oh, I'm running you off, what a pity, yuck, yuck" in a sarcastic tone of voice.

Then, of course, came a triumphant: "See ya! Wouldn't want to be ya!" as I was half way to my bike.

I had to text Lilly to see if she would at least open her window and say something that would make him leave or, better yet, come outside and recognize him and say: "I thought I told you you weren't welcome here," or something. 

Lilly tends to welcome confrontation.

"It's late, we're sleeping; please don't call this late unless it's an emergency," she wrote back.

She was right. It was 1:30 AM on a Friday morning -a school night for her college student daughter, Angelique, plus, there weren't many tourists out, and it had been merely my ego that wanted to vanquish the fake limping fag from "my" playing spot.

But, then, as I stood by my bike, ready to ride off after Lilly's reply, up walked a couple of guys who were each a bit bigger than me.

One of them asked me about my guitar.

This led to him wanting to hear me play, which led to me telling him that I would have been playing "on the stoop over there, except..." then explaining what had happened.

The guy seemed outraged, and insisted that we go over to the stoop and, in effect, reclaim it for me.

He had grown up in the neighborhood, and believed that a skeezer should never interfere with a busker, or words to that effect.

We walked over.

Butterfly had flitted off the stoop and moved to the other side of the sleeping guy at some point when I was conversing with the local; probably right after I had gestured towards him to the guy and his friend, and they had turned and looked at him. It was the "Don't look now, but..." thing in reverse. Do look now, so he will know I am talking about him without his ears having to itch...

He was sitting at the foot of the sleeping guy, with his back against the wall, on the other side of which Angelique was getting her beauty rest, and had propped his feet on my milk crate, which I had left there, not totally sure if I was indeed going to knock off or try to play more.

"Um, that's my milk crate," I said to him, and he turned it over without a word.
His whole demeanor had changed, with him acting more meek.

One more song was played before I concluded that it actually did want to knock off.

The next (Friday) afternoon, I called Lilly and apologized for having disturbed her, and all things seemed to return to the way they had been. She said that she knew about the guy with the beard who slept there, and that he always waved to her. I had figured that that was part of the reason she hadn't come out -not wanting to run off a guy that was nice and who waved. It was a conflict of interest. As far as Butterfly is concerned, I will tell the bearded guy that, if I have to complain about him then he (the bearded guy) would probably lose his sleeping spot, if Lilly runs them off wholesale.

$4.37 Reduced To 51 Cents

Jacob and I got there at around 9:45 PM, Friday night. Good and early. Nobody sleeping there..

We played and made the 75 dollars, and the 3 hours went by rather quickly, as we played well enough to entertain ourselves; plus we knew that, at the very least, we would each have a stereo recording that we could do something with, in our studios. The soundbites of what tourists say are especially appealing to Jacob, who can make a whole song out of a phrase. Monday night's session started with a young lady saying: "The only things I don't like are snakes and bears..." as she walked past. And so, that became the "snakes and bears" session.

Jacob's phone seems to capture better audio (more bass) than mine.
But, maybe there is an app available that will optimize the phone's audio for music, rather than voice...

Jacob and I discussed ordering a lot of kratom, taking advantage of the quantity discounts offered by AuthenticKratom, through which he orders it. If we were to come up with 100 dollars, we could each wind up with 3 and a half ounces, for 50 bucks out of pocket. This works out to the "shot" which is sold for $4.37 at Uxi Duxi costing us 51 cents.

But, right now, I want to hop on my bike and go get an energy drink and stop by the Unique Store to see if Samson has the JUUL vaporizer that he said he would give me today, after I was about to spend 20 bucks on one to replace mine, which I must have let fall out of my bag somewhere.

I might just buy an ounce of kratom at retail, and hope that any money that we* make tonight could go towards the big order at a discount price.

*assuming Jacob has the energy to play a second night in a row, otherwise, it will just be me.