Saturday, February 17, 2018

February 17

I was half-awake when I became fully awakened by the sound of Ken's truck pulling up.

I got dressed while Ken fumbled with the locked door, got the bike out, put the bike trailer in the office, helped Ken find some tools, and rode away. I was very thirsty and pondered whether 99 Ranch has diet soda, and then realized I could stop by Lowe's and buy some more bungee cords and a diet Pepsi. I drank half of that and rode up to 99 Ranch and got dim sum and ate that there. Then I bought a few things like a bag of frozen shrimp (headless but shell on), 24 ounces for about $11, a couple small cans of coconut milk and some basil.

I finished the Pepsi after loading up the bike and rode back to the shop to put the shrimp in the freezer and the basil in the fridge. Now, having eaten and drank I had to use the bathroom but the guys were at the new place so I just walked over to Fry's and used theirs. And got some packing tape and stuff.

Ken has a communications analyzer and 3 oscilloscopes we've decided to list on Ebay next, and I packed up some probes, little test antennas I've made, Ebay stickers, etc. and my camera and was going to go over there and take the photos of them at the new place, where they are.

I parked the bike in the office of the new place and decided first to do something Ken wanted me to do: Trim this sort of wooden lattice he's installed on the balcony, evenly. So I did that, and looked at the stuff I still had in the loft, and decided I'd give Renee the bunch of aluminum rods I had, so I boxed those up and took them over to where she was, in her van in the parking lot. Then I said, "Wait a minute," and went back up to the loft and got out the three trade show displays and gave those to her. I said, she can sell them, the cases they come in are neat, she can recycle the aluminum, whatever. That I pick up this stuff and I never seem to make money on it, and I'm better off not messing with it.

Renee actually had a brand-new pair of US Marine boots, from God knows where, and had me try them on. They were too long and narrow. Too bad, I'd have bought them from her, but she said she doesn't want money, just to trade for something. Again I tried to encourage her to get started on Ebay herself.

I asked her about Chrissy, or more properly it appears, Crazy Chrissy, and being chased by her in her truck and the cops and everything. She said she'd had a run-in with Chrissy, who accused Renee of giving her husband a blowjob. "Is she with a Mexican guy?" I asked. "She's with a lot of guys, actually...." So now we know what she does for a living and how she keeps her truck gassed up and registered and all that.

I got to work cleaning up the scopes which are pretty dirty. And sorting out how many probes to put with each one and so on. Ken came over with a load of stuff and at the same time I looked at the time - it was 5 in the afternoon already. I told Ken I had plan for my day and I didn't realize it was already this late and I had to get going.

I rode back here and put my camera etc away - I can't take pictures of scopes and things and also more pictures of the furniture I'm trying to sell, with Ken and Chris moving things around so I might do the actual photos on Monday.

I got my tip box, the trumpet, my warm hat, fleece pullover, etc all together and headed out for whatever busking I was going to get done tonight. It's actually a bit shorter and I avoid two freeway entrances that make me nervous if I go back by the new shop and onto 10th street and then typically to Jackson which runs right through Japantown. I bought a Lipovitan and stashed it in the bike bag.

Whether to eat... I wondered as I rode next for Safeway, since I had a big bag of pennies, nickels, and dimes to put in the Coinstar machine. That came to $12 or so, and the bottle of gin and one of tonic I bought came to about that, so it worked out fine. I felt kind of peevish, not sure if I was hungry, and also having to pee. The best solution was to go to Whole Foods where there's a nice bathroom, and food.

I went there and got a chicken leg-thigh, some Brussels sprouts, and some interesting roasted kale. That and a bottle of lime fizzy water ran about $6 so, not bad.

I chewed gum as I rode to the Old Spaghetti, and there were no buskers there. Great! I set up and started warming up and playing. It's slow, I was thinking, and the tips will come faster once people have had their beer. But the tips came steadily, and the highlight was a $5 a guy doubled back to put in the box for my playing "Amazing Grace". "Best song there is!" the guy said.

With all the riding around and shopping and eating and all that, I'm not sure what time I started. 6:30 or closer to 7? I played along, and worked out "Indian Red" and "What A Wonderful World It Would Be". The first is one of the prototype New Orleans songs and I felt I should be able to play it with the winter jazz fest going on. And the second one is just a song I like.

After a bit the tips seemed to pretty much stop and I checked the time; 8:00, and did a count-up; $16. I really wanted to get to $20 anyway, and soldiered on. Eventually a plump lady plumped $2 into the box, so now I was just $2 away. And this was getting miserable.

I decided to move up to the SoFa area where supposedly there are jazz fans walking around. Let 'em hear my Indian Red, I thought. As I rode away from San Pedro Square I saw on the corner leaning against the Farmer's Union (high-end restaurant) two guys playing ukuleles and singing ... Western songs? Not sure. It's just too hard to be heard without amplification. They sounded quite competent though and maybe I should have hung out with them a bit.

I rode up to the SoFa area and it was amazingly quiet - no loud bar music. Great! I set up in front of the opera hall and the resonance sounded great. But there were just hardly any people walking around. I decided I'd be best off back at the Old Spag. It was the only lively place downtown.

So I rode right on back to the O. Spag. and set right back up again. There was a lion dance group there and there seemed to be several lion dances going on, lots of really loud drumming, firecrackers, etc.  There were people around but they were not tipping. Anyone Asian, and they seemed to be the majority, were into their lunar new year thing and not into the tipping trumpet players thing.

I probably went on way too long, but eventually three guys came up and they wanted me to play Reveille. I tried, and I pressed the 3rd valve down to make my trumpet effectively a bugle in G, but I think I tried playing it too high, and had trouble. Then they wanted Taps. Again I think I played it too high and had trouble with the top note. But I did it OK and the guys said they're Marines. I joked about "only $2 more and I can go home" and the guy who'd wanted Taps said he was broke, and I said the whole Valley's broke, that's why I'm out here, and his buddy put what turned out to be $3 in the box. Cool.

So tonight I made $21.25

I packed up and decided to do a little ride around. Recorder Guy and his pals were just getting going at the panda wall (they start at 10 and it was 9:45) and they were waiting for the really loud drumming to be done with, and the air was full of firecracker smoke. I love that smell.

I rode up by Cafe Stritch to see who's playing tonight and one group had broken down and the next was just setting up, so Meh. Up on the corner, there was a young guy with the most amazing 4-string banjo made out of some crazy big metal ... gold panning pan or some damn thing. And he played great, with a slide and is probably the best slide player I've ever heard. And he sang, too, so it was really amazing. I hope he got great "midnight tips".

It's really cold out there. From short sleeve weather to wearing fleece and a knit hat and gloves at night. If tonight was any indication, it would have been ideal to get out there earlier than I did. Maybe at 6 be set up and playing.

But tomorrow there's a Sharks home game, and do I start earlier, like 4 because the game starts at 5, or do I choose a later time, like 7:30 because the game will be done at 8?

Back here, I didn't feel like cooking so dinner was an avocado with hot sauce and mayonnaise and two hard-boiled eggs with salt/pepper/curry powder. I have to be ready for this same routine tomorrow. If Ken's working with Chris he'll be here right at 1, etc. So I'm all trimmed and shaved and cleaned up and ready to go.

I sorted the bag of shrimp I bought into 5 Ziploc bags making each one just a bit under 5 ounces because it was a 24-ounce bag. And that makes each serving just a little over $2. Each one looks like a pretty generous amount of shrimp so if they're too big, the next time I get shrimp I'll sort it into 6 bags. The reason I got shrimp is the curries I'm making already have a lot of fat from the coconut oil and curry paste plus extra olive oil I fry the garlic in, so there's no need for even more fat in the fatty beef I use. Shrimp are actually very low fat, and taste good in a curry. Even though the keto diet is all about eating fat and bacon and so on, if you eat enough of it you will stop losing weight, or gain it. It's still a matter of calories in, calories out. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

February 16

I slept decently and didn't need to sneak downstairs for whiskey mixed with milk. I woke up at about 10AM and heard the doorbell ring, and went downstairs to take two boxes (shipping labels) for Ken inside, then went back upstairs and slept until almost 2.

I got up and cooked breakfast; 3 medium eggs and 4 Farmer John sausages and French Market coffee with heavy cream. Ken had eggs and waffles - he makes these sourdough waffles that are just as gross as that sounds.

We got going and took things to the post office, and as usual, I was back here at a quarter to 4. I planned to take the light rail downtown, mail an envelope, walk over to my bank and take care of my paycheck, then take a #522 bus to Castro Street in Mountain View to busk.

I got to the light rail station and read the notice that was put up: all the stations from St. James to Convention Center was closed and there was the usual lame-ass "bus bridge" filling in. I'd never get to the bank by 5. "Screw it", I decided, and walked over to the northbound station.

I got to Castro Street a bit before 6. The first thing I did was walk to the post office there and put the envelope in the slot. Next was a visit to Red Rock to use their bathroom upstairs. Next after that was to walk to Easy Foods for a $1 bottle of water and to figure out what that damned racket was.

At the resonating tunnel was a guitarist playing an admittedly kind of neat little riff, over and over, with his amp cranked way the fuck up, and a drummer who was really hitting that thing, with the result that their clamor covered the whole block.

I considered playing in front of Easy Foods but the drum was still quite audible. Maybe I'd go further up; maybe in front of Ava's Market. So I walked up there and while it was quieter there were far less people walking around. I turned around and went up to the Odd Fellows' Hall and set up in front of there. It was 6, so the idea was to lollygag until 7, when the crowd would pick up. But, actually, the tips weren't bad. In about half an hour I had $8 in my tip box.

Then I saw a police SUV pass by, coming from where the drummer etc. were. And the drum ... I couldn't hear it. Gotta move fast in the busking game, so I packed up and walked up there. The guitarist had taken off and the drummer told me "someone" had complained to the cops. He said "Watch out for those people", indicating the people in a framing shop right next to the tunnel.

I looked and they looked like nice get-along-and-go-along Chinese people so I asked them what time they close and they said 7, and I said I can play quietly until then, and they said, "No problem, we like it", referring to my trumpet playing at least because no one could possibly like the guitar and drum noise that the cops had put a stop to.

While the guitarist had taken off, the drum-bum hung around. First he stationed himself where he was standing to one side and a bit over me, standing on a step. I told him that if he wants to make some money, the best way would be to go in front of Easy Foods and ask for spare change. I'd seen people do pretty well there. He was insulted and asked if that was what I thought he was, a begger. I said there are so many spare-changers around it's hard to keep track of them all.

Eventually he wanted to know if I'd been "saved". I said I was a member of the church of Anton Le Vey, and that pissed him off, so that was good. Then he slagged the Catholics and I said I'm not actually in with the Le Vey group, that's for hipsters, but if I were going to be a Christian, I'd be a Catholic. I'd be the most Catholic of Catholics. That was fairly useful in keeping him at a distance. "I'm gonna play some Catholic music" I announced, and worked on my Ave Maria.

In fact, since officially I was lollygagging until 7, I decided it was a good time to practice it and work some of the bugs out, and did so. The result was some nice tips, one from a lady who said she'd crossed the street to listen to me. I also worked on "Happy Birthday" and of course there was lots of "Saints" and "What A Wonderful World". And the tips came in pretty steadily.

I was getting tired when I was barely into the supposed 7-9 sweet time slot, so I rested more and kept plugging on. Mr. Bum hovered around but at a distance, and I entertained little kids and old guys and all sorts of people. A young, drunk, "Bro" came by and he put over a dollar in change in and we shot the bull a bit, although finally I had to say that with him hovering over me I'd get zero tips. He understood and let me get back to work. The weird drones were doing their thing and at one point, I played crouching down so I could watch it for a minute or so.

I finally decided that because I'd started early, there's no way it'd be good for me to continue until 9, and I'd take a break and count up, and if I'd made $30 I'd call it a night, and if not, I'd busk a little more after my break to make $30. It was now 8PM.

I packed up, walked over to Easy Foods, and counted up in the back amongst their bottle of liquor. I'd made $34.96. I bought a bag of Chinese spicy peanuts, the same ones I buy from 99 Ranch but about 50c cheaper.

I felt tired but exhilarated. I wanted to walk around a bit. I went to Ava's Market and bought a can of UCC black coffee to drink. I went into Therapy and looked around, it's kind of  an upscale Spencer's Gifts, all kinds of faux-retro and jokey stuff. The gals there were happy to find that I was the trumpeter who's played across the street. I bought what I thought was a neat map of San Francisco that I could put on a backer board and hang up in the loft, but what turns out to be wrapping paper that's a 1950s map of San Francisco ... Hmm...

One of the gals told me the guitarist had set up first, then the drummer had essentially walked up, set up right next to him, and started banging away. This might be why the guitarist had his amp cranked so high. They told me the drummer was "off" and was generally there on weekends. Yet, somehow, my trumpet keeps him from trying to set up right on top of me. He knows it's no contest. A traditional brass instrument that people think you're a damn hero for playing, with no amplification, vs. a strongly-amplified guitar or talentless drumming.

I finished my coffee and wandered toward the light rail station. I read restaurant labels and just took it easy. Passing across the street from the resonating tunnel, the drum-bum was standing by his drum, asking people for spare change.

On the next corner up, there were some loony Christians set up, with cards and stickers and flattened-out pennies with the 10 commandments on them. They asked me what was the best religion or something like that and I said the best brand of Christianity is the Catholics but it's pretty obvious that using the brain God gave us that Judaism is the correct religion. At least these idiots were just set up on one corner instead of pestering people on all the street corners.

It's interesting how this Friday was different from last Friday. In the crowd, someone mentioned it being a 3-day weekend, I guess because of Presidents' Day. And someone else mentioned it being "slow" or "quiet". Yet I made $10 more this Friday than the last one.

Dinner was the rest of the olives/cheese/etc mixture from Whole Foods that I had in the fridge, and the back of Chinese spicy peanuts, and the bottle of Pliny. 8% alcohol, whee.

I think I can predict how tomorrow will go. If Ken's hiring Chris to help, I'll be awakened by a knock on the door at 1. Chris will wonder where Ken is, I'll call Ken, etc. Chris will ask if I've been sleeping, as if it's not obvious. Ken will get here and I'll stash the bike trailer in the office here and take off on the bike to 99Ranch for some wake-up dim sum and a bit of shopping. And the day will proceed from there. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

February 15

My weigh-in today was 131.4 so I'm up a little. I think it's too many carb-y things.

I could not get to sleep, and finally snuck downstairs and fixed up a healthy serving of bourbon and put in an equal amount of milk. Then I woke up at almost 5PM, lovely. Suzy told me she was about to check to see if I was dead.

San Jose Jazz's "winterfest" is on this weekend downtown so I'm not sure if I want to play in Mountain View Friday night or just play downtown. I'll just go with how I feel.

I got a chance to watch some YouTube videos on mouthpiece buzzing and it turns out to be a valuable tool. Tons of bigtime players, people who are/were orchestra bigwigs, etc. It's fun to learn that Bud Herseth was big on playing music on his mouthpiece while walking in the halls.

I have my cornet mouthpiece, a Bach 3, with me and buzzed along with some videos and found a guy named Zauss, like Zeiss but with a U, who teaches trumpet on YouTube. Lessons of any way shape or form are beyond me, financially, but I can pick up a ton just from these YouTube videos.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February 14

Last night was really poo. It felt good getting handed a $5 from that one guy, though.

I had bad dreams last night about sifting and sorting Ebay stuff, and little parts getting mixed together, and what drawer to put what parts in, ugh.

I slept until 4 this afternoon, expectable after such a lousy, late, night. Of course I am planning the next "busk". The next Sharks home game I can make is this Sunday and it starts at 5PM so I'll play by the Old Spag and try to time this one better. So I'm thinking this Friday will be a repeat of the last one: I'll leave my bike here and after going to the bank, take the bus to Castro Street in Mountain View, make sure I get the resonant tunnel before someone else does, and take it easy there until about 7 when the crowd will pick up and play until about 9.

I got the Ebay stuff that had sold rounded up, got packed up, etc and now I'm at Ken's house. And I just actually did something smart and checked sanjose.org for events and this weekend, Friday right through Sunday, is the San Jose winter jazz fest. At times they've even paid buskers to perform downtown during the summer jazz fest at least, years ago. So it might be good to just play downtown this weekend.

I just ordered "Elementary Studies" by Herbert L. Clarke, the great cornetist and teacher. It's his easiest book. From easiest to hardest they go: Elementary Studies, Technical Studies, Characteristic Studies, and the misleadingly-named Setting Up Drills.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February 13

I woke up at about 2. Joel, the guy who rents the back half of the building, was rattling around moving things etc. I asked him if he's moving or staying, and he said he's staying. I said Tom Price, the building's owner, wants to move into the front part so yeah...

I chewed some gum to get my mouth clean and did my long tones exercise. I can't seem to venture past the top of the staff but slowly, I'm getting better.

Then I cooked some breakfast and loaded the bike trailer up with the two big boxes, and a small Priority Mail box and an envelope to take  to the post office. I just chugged along to the P.O. and dropped the small things off, then took the big ones to the FedEx and dropped them off. No more hassles with "not the original box" because I cover up any writing on the boxes I use with brown tape.

I got the trailer put away and because I wanted to get this done before I took off for the day, I photographed the circuit board extenders I plan to put onto Ebay next. That way I'd have it done.

That taken care of, I loaded up the trumpet and the tip box etc. and was sure to take my "Pacific Bell" knit cap because it was going to get cold tonight.

Mardi Gras (the real one not the San Jose Saturday one) was on, somewhere, maybe, and it was a Sharks home game - scheduled to run from 7-10 I thought.

I rode downtown by way of Junction Avenue, and there was the crazy lady leaning against her teal-colored truck and with a ratty old RV hitched to it. Not the RV that's parked a few doors up from the new place ... this was a different RV. I came up with a smile and said I think I know what happened, and she was friendly and we basically Monday-morning quarterbacked what went on last night. It appears she's just plain paranoid, thinks people sitting in their cars are "waiting" to attack her or something, and as I'd ridden her RV last night she'd heard a thump, or a bump, or something, looked out the window and saw me "speeding away". Thus, she'd gotten in her truck, made chase, and acted like the paranoid maniac she is. All because she'd heard something.

I explained that I had circuit boards in one of the boxes on my bike trailer, that often one trailer wheel will hit a rock or something and make a bumping sound, and also, unfortunately, bike tires often halfway run over things like pebbles and spit them off to the side. Her name is Chris, we're on good terms until she's meth'ing again I guess, and I'll just ride on the other side of the street when I see her RV.

I rode to Nijiya and got a sugar-free Lipovitan (the sugared ones don't have that much sugar, but I only seem to find myself getting stuff done more than usual after drinking a sugar free one) and drank it, and chewed gum as I rode downtown. It's cold out and there were only a few beggars and other "acts" out. I talked with a pedicab guy for a bit; it seems the cost of renting a pedicab is variable depending on how lucrative a night might be. Tonight might be around $30, but a day like Saturday, $70.

I went over to my playing place, and the guy who got in a fight with that gal, throwing those "wooden" roses at her etc., was there, selling the roses. He was all happy and chummy tonight. He wanted to be my pal and gave me a rose. Er, "rose". I got set up but then looked at the time and realized I was at least an hour early. If the game was supposed to be done at 10, but like last Saturday would be done at 9:30, here it was 8:30 ... I didn't want to hang around in the cold watching Doofus sell his hokey flowers, so I packed up and rode over to Whole Foods where I could sit and watch the game at the bar upstairs.

I went in there and since they were out of Guinness, I decided to try a "Chum", the official Sharks beer. That was only $2.50, or $7.50 if I'd bought a pint upstairs. I went up there and sat at a table that just had one other guy sitting there. I found that my "Chum" beer was actually pretty good, and noticed he had a bottle of Pliney The Elder in front of him. I asked him about it, how it was, because this is a beer that everyone raves about and it seems to only show up at certain places, at certain times, etc. He said it was good, seemed to think for a bit and then handed his glass over to me to take a taste. I took a mouthful and tasted it ... it's certainly different from other ales, and in a good way. If nothing else this would be the night I got to taste Pliney The Elder.

A seat opened up at the bar so I moved there with my bottle of Chum, as I wanted to try to see what was going on in the Sharks game on the TV. The way it was going, the game was going to go well past 10. Some techbros on my left were talking about the outrageous rents here and I put in that I can see a place to live being one of the "perks" of many jobs. Like they do with doctors and nurses etc in Newport Beach. A black guy on my right was in a big ol' argument with his wife/girlfriend on the phone. That went on for a bit, but when he was done he turned to me and said "Sorry" etc.

I told the bartender, when he asked if I was OK, that I might have a Pliney when I'm done with my Chum, and a bit later, Chum finished, he looked at me and I said Nah, I don't want to drink that much tonight and he said he can sell me a "to go" bottle so I went for that. The black guy and I and a fat, smelly Brit who I'm glad sat on the other side of him all talked about this and that. Samples of a "sour" beer were handed out by the bartender and I drank the nasty stuff and observed that it taste like "sourgrass" which a lot of people call sorrels. The black guy was tickled by this observation, and also wanted to empty the last of the bottle of champagne he had in front of him so he put it in my sample glass and I drank about half of that. It was maybe a quarter to 10 now.

I said my farewells and took my bottle of Pliney downstairs to stash it in a bike bag, used the loo, and headed over to the Old Spag. The rose guy was just packing up and said he'd made $40. Hm, not bad, for shitty flowers! I started to see a few Sharks jerseys and asked one of the wearers of one how the score was, still 2 - 1 Coyotes? "Yeah, they lost" she said.

All the fans were just getting to their cars in the parking complex and since pretty much everything was closed, they were not hanging around. I'd noticed that Rabbit Trumpet guy was not under the bridge when I'd passed by, and I thought, why would he not be under his bridge, putting in his hours, playing both before and after the game? I'd try the bridge. So I rode over there, set up hurriedly with my bike tail-light clipped to the tip box so people would see it and not trip on it, and started playing. a guy put in a $5 right off, and a bit later a homeless looking guy put in what turned out to be 35c, but the surge of Sharks fans was short.

Well, maybe the action's at the Old Spag after all. And went back there. Nope, as lively as a graveyard. I even tried in front of The Farmers Union, a high-end restaurant where people coming from the stadium have to pass, but it was just dead, dead, dead. I finally decided, Screw it, let's call this a night.

I rode over to where Recorder Guy had been bopping away on his tongue drum earlier, and he was still there. He'd trimmed his beard so he looks almost normal. We talked about this and that. I mentioned the $5.35 I'd made, and he said he'd made $20 after about 6 hours of sitting and bopping and tooting and joking. I mentioned the $5 under the bridge, and he was surprised the other trumpet guy wasn't there "he was there earlier". And he'd know, he passes by there routinely.

I think that on a night like Saturday, where a 7-10 game gets out at 9:30 or even 9:15 and it's not a school night, the post-game is better than the pre-game. But I think in a school (or work) night, when the game's going to run late, the pre-game time is better. That's why Rabbit Guy was under his bridge. That's why Rose Guy didn't give a shit about the game and just worked on hustling his roses. Badly, but he made $40 and that's 8X what I made.

In all fairness though, I doubt I put in more than a half-hour of actual playing and $10 an hour seems to be a baseline.

I got back here, did my long tone exercise again because I had myself set to do a real workout, 2 hours of playing, and didn't. And then made a curry and ate it and listed those stupid extender boards on Ebay so I have that done.

Monday, February 12, 2018

February 12

I woke up at 2. It's cold and windy, proper February weather right now.

For some reason I feel really useless right now. Last night I decided to call it quits early, about 9:30 or so, and started in with a bottle of Kirin Ichiban and some crispy sort-of-candied fish that come in a cute little wooden boat-shaped package from Nijiya. I'd been wanting to try those.

So I watched episodes of The Sopranos while enjoying these things and then started in on the gin and tonic.

Today I've only been doing a little. It's really cold outside but I can ride my bike fine as long as I wear my gloves. And with the new haircut, my "Pacific Bell" knit cap. 

I finally cooked and ate a curry at about 11:30 and got the bike trailer loaded up with stuff to take to the new place, and a list of things to pick up from the new  place to take back here. I rode over  there and put the stuff away, found most of the things I needed to find, took some packing materials with me and essentially packed a large electrostatic voltmeter we'd sold - it took my biggest box.

I buttoned everything up and took off. A truck was maneuvering somehow behind the produce place so I circled around a bit, trying to stay out of his way. He appeared to want me to go past him so I did and did my slow, smooth ride back along Junction Avenue to here.

A pickup truck zoomed by as I was riding along the long continuous parking lot (empty except for 1 SUV that's always out there overnight). The pickup truck zoomed around in a U-turn and then came after me. Great, I thought, some redneck(s) who want to chase me because I'm on a bike. I doubled around and the truck kept chasing me, and I doubled back again between the SUV and the building. There really wasn't any rabbit hole I could escape through. The truck stopped in front of me and its driver, a short, fat lady, got out. She was screaming about people hitting her truck or RV and that I needed to stop doing that and really foaming at the mouth. As soon as she got out I fished my phone out and dialed 911.

I was not able to convince her that I was not the guy messing with her truck, so I just kept agreeing that I won't do it and that I'll spread the word. She seemed satisfied then and drove off. Well, I'd dialed 911 and put my phone to my ear and heard a modem sound. I closed it up and put it back in my pocket and kind of got my breath, and then it rang - the 911 operator had called me back. So I told her what had happened and she wanted me to meet with officers, so I got to wait in the nice cold air for Officer Friendly and Officer Helpful.

They had a good look at my driver's license, I explained that I'm not a "transient around here" and so on. While I was waiting for the cops I thought, How funny it would be if she came back here and started in again with the cops here. And she did return. She's taken off going south on Junction Avenue, and now had pulled up alongside the curb with her lights off, and was talking with one of the cops.

Eventually it came down to, if she'd been trying to hit me with her truck it's a very serious charge. I said I felt she was trying to hit me, but eventually concluded that it could not be proven because she didn't make contact. She may have just been trying to chase me around. The cops kept going back and forth and I asked them if they'd managed to convince her that I'm not the one hitting or tapping on, etc. her truck or RV. I think they kind of did. I also told one of the cops to suggest she get one of those "game cameras" from Wal-Mart, that people use to see if deer come down a trail etc., they're motion-activated and that way she can see who's goofing around with her truck.

Since she could not be proven to be trying to run me over, but merely intimidating me, one of the cops said something about "no charges" which I said was fine with me, I just don't want her attacking me for something I didn't do. 

I was finally told I'm free to leave, and I left. I feel like I've seen the crazy lady's ugly teal-green truck before, around the new building. Not only is there a huddle of homeless people including Renee and her son and her daughter, living on our side, but there's a real collection of druggies on the other side where I think I've seen the green truck. I've got to ask Renee about this at the next opportunity.

So, that was thrilling. I packed, weighed, and measured both the electrostatic volt meter but in another large box, an HP integrator, and in a small box, a guy's RF filter he wanted me to ship "ASAP". The idea being that tomorrow I might load this stuff on the bike and trailer and take them to USPS and FedEx

One of the cops had also mentioned to me that this area might not be the best place to be at this time of night. I said if I were a bit lazier I'd not have gone out there tonight because it's cold. I really wonder ... middle of the night like this is when the meth-heads thrive. If the crazy lady's living in the RV that's parked like 2 doors down from the new shop and she interpreted in her meth-haze, the noises of the roll-up door as someone screwing around with her RV, then that might explain it. Because as I was circling around waiting for the truck by the produce place to maneuver, I saw some lady who might have been this one, wandering around in the parking lot in good meth-head manner. She could have heard the noise of the roll-up door, and my kicking the little locking stops at the bottom of it into the locked position, woke up, and wandered around looking for who's making the racket. Then seen me circling with my bike and trailer, not knowing I'm circling because I'm waiting for a large produce truck to do its thing, rather then circling around because Hee hee hee, I'm messing whi'chu.

If I can manage to catch her during a sane moment, I can explain what I think would lead her to think I'm messing with her truck or RV, and suggest the game camera idea too. And maybe try to be super quiet with the little locking things on the roll-up door.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

February 11

I woke up at about 1:30, not sure if Ken would come over to move things around. He turned out not to. I was not going to busk today, after researching last night and finding that the San Jose Sharks seem to have a schedule where there's a home game on the weekend and one on Tuesday, of all days. So, maybe I'd busk on a Friday-Saturday-Tuesday schedule? I need to become more expert in what's going on in various places, to be able to be where there are large, preferably a bit tipsy, crowds.

But one thing is certain: Only the very small amount of long tone practice I've done has got me standing and breathing differently and the end result is that I have the ability to hold notes longer and I'm counting out rhythm more and tapping my foot more.

Louis Armstrong talked about not minding if the band backing him wasn't the best, because if they were good, he'd listen to them, and if they weren't, why, he'd just listen to the backing band in his head. The thing is, playing solo trumpet (or flute or sax or 'cello) you have to make the listeners hear that backing band too.

I made up some coffee and had that, and rode the bike over to the new place to use the bathroom and decided to be nice and take out all the trash which I consolidated into one bag and was going to take to the dumpster by the tire store, but why ride that far the other way from downtown? So I took it with me along 10th street to Hedding and didn't find a dumpster to deposit it in until I was a little way down First.

It was very cold and windy today. At times the wind slowed me down to a crawl, on the bike. After getting rid of the trash, I rode to Whole Foods figuring I hadn't eaten much dinner last night, just some roasted peanuts and Parmesan cheese, so I should eat something so I wouldn't end up waiting at the barber shop with a hungry stomach. I got a chicken leg/thigh quarter and broccoli. That and a bottle of lime fizzy water was $9 and change.

I went to the barber shop and the ladies there were, "Where have you been?" and I explained that a piece of equipment at work had fallen on my head and I'd been waiting for it to get better. (I was really tired of the overgrowth; the hair on my neck that wants to grow upward was like bristles.) After reading a couple of issues of PEOPLE Magazine (would it kill this place to subscribe to Field & Stream or Popular Mechanics?) I got my haircut and paid the gal $15 for my $10 cut because I'd been away so long.

Then it was back to Whole Foods for some shopping, avocados and other veggies, mainly. If everyone just bought whole foods at Whole Foods, they'd probably go out of business because the profit's in the processed stuff. I also noticed they have a special, 2 dozen red roses for $24. You have to be a Prime member which I of course am, but I need to have the app on a smartphone to verify that, but I could also print out the coupon and bring it in. I told the guy I'd actually applied for the Amazon Prime credit card, figuring I'd use it as proof that I'm a Prime member and use it for my Whole Foods purchases, but since my credit is crap I didn't qualify. The reason I'm intrigued by the roses is, the guys selling roses downtown get $5 each I think. Probably not as good a hustle as the "awareness ribbon" hustle but it's still a hustle. I'm getting places with trumpet but if I suddenly lost my work with Ken I'd want something besides trumpet to fall back on.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

February 10

I woke up at 1 because Ken's guy, Chris, with an extra helper, were here at the door at 1. Ken was not here. They grumbled and asked if I'd been sleeping, with a bit of amazement, while I called various numbers and got Ken, who was minutes away. I put the bike trailer in the office here and got dressed, got the trumpet and the bike together, and once Ken arrived, took off.

First stop was the post office, where I put the two items I'd packed in one of the mail boxes. Next was 99 Ranch where I got a lovely sample of Lee's Pour-Over coffee from the lady with a demo booth. That was a big help in waking up. I then I picked out 4 pieces of dim sum and ate those. Then both awake and fed, I got a few things like coconut milk, curry paste, a red bell pepper, some of those really tasty roast peanuts, and a Mr. Brown which I drank out front by my bike as I usually do.

I realized I could swing by the old shop here and drop the groceries off, then I rode via 10th street to Japantown. I locked up the bike (for a change) and got a "Strong Zero" diet Pepsi and a Lipovitan with vitamin C, orange-ish flavor that reminds me of children's aspirin. That was to save for later. I drank the "Strong Zero" while I walked around and ended up at the Betsuin store where I talked for a while with the old guy there who's always up for talking about interesting things.

That "Strong Zero" did not have zero effect, though so I needed to get going to my next stop; Whole Foods where there's a clean bathroom. I chugged over there and used the loo and then took out my secret code for the Amazon locker and got the book I'd ordered, and put that into the bike bag. It was by now later than I thought, almost 5. So, I thought, I should eat something that will stay with me, and picked out pot roast and Brussels sprouts and a lime fizzy water. The piece of pot roast I picked out turned out to be over half fat, so I need to choose better, but it was a pretty decent meal and only $6.

I used a toothpick and chewed gum to get my mouth clean and headed over to the Old Spag. Tonight was a Sharks home game against the Edmondton Oilers, with the game starting at 7. I figured I'd get some pre-game tips. Rabbit Trumpet Guy was at his place under the bridge and tooting away and I waved Hi.

I played for about 45 minutes and made $8, which is actually pretty good because before the game, people are in a hurry, thinking about finding their seats, hanging onto their money for that extra beer, etc.And the rest of the public hadn't gotten their beer on, either. And I started to get tired so I decided it was time to go back to Whole Foods and read my book until about 9:30 when the game would be nearly over and I'd get the post-game crowd.

So I rode back to Whole Foods, picked out a Lagunitas Cappuchino Stout to sip for the 2+ hours I'd be reading, and dug into the book. It's entertaining but very dense, and I'm glad I got it because it will stand many a re-reading. I had to accelerate my consumption of the Cappuchino Stout as I realized I was running out of time. Like Drew Carey's "Buzz Beer", the stuff has the properties of making you buzzed and very awake at the same time. I looked at the time after the last gulp, and it was 9:29. And looking out the window, Sharks jerseys were everywhere. The game was over and the Sharks had won.

I got my butt back over to the Old Spag and there was no competition. Rabbit Trumpet Guy was still under his bridge, tooting away. My spot had no beggars or any interference. I set up quickly and started in - this night I played a lot of "Saints" because in perfect San Jose logic, today was Mardi Gras which by definition is a Tuesday. This is Saturday.

A guy drunkenly put in $6 right away, and the tips were steady. Plus lots of the usual expressions of approval that seem to go with playing trumpet with any skill at all. It seems to be a combination of "you're working hard and have worked hard to get where you are, congrats" and "you're playing trumpet, good, we need trumpet players". Plus the people who just like whatever song I'm playing. But do guitar players get these expressions of approval because they're out on the street playing guitar? Like, we need more guitar players? I don't think so. In fact my impression is it's more like "oh, a bum" or unless the guitar player is quite good, they don't get "hero points".

But on trumpet, you do! I met a lovely family, and played "Twinkle" and "Doe, A Deer" for their little kid, in a stroller, who in fact has his own trumpet. "A toy one?" I asked. Nope, a Getzen Doc Severinson model. Daddy-o, when he was a kid, they had a house fire and his cheapo cornet got burned up. Insurance covered everything so his parents took him to the music store, and he picked out the shiny Doc Severinson model 'way up on the wall. Now it's his kid's. Very cool.

A guy in a stripey shirt who was fairly "well lubricated" came up and put a $20 and I think a couple of $1's in my tip box and said stuff like "No problem" and "You're great" and wanted me to decamp and play "Happy Birthday" for his friends at the restaurant nearby. I said I didn't want to leave my stuff, and besides I'd never played it before. I tried, with the usual number of goofs. He said he's give me another $25, but I didn't have it down pat enough and turned the offer down.

But I added "Happy Birthday" to my rotation of songs tonight and gradually ironed it out, mostly. Observing that the guy's friends were well within hearing, I played it a few times pointed at them, and they got a big kick out of it. So they got their Happy Birthday after all.

In general I played with good energy and verve, and the long tones practice has me actually standing differently and using my breath how I should. Eventually though I felt like I was about finished, and started to think about ending - I'd stuffed the $20 and a bunch of the other bills into a cargo pocket when a sketchy guy came up and was eyeing the $20.

Alex, who works at the Old Spag, came up to say Hi. I got a chance to tell him to get Remo practice pads and then look up how to take the dampeners out of the inside, and make them into busking drums. He had to go back in and said he'd be back out, but I decided one more tip and I'd call it a night, it being almost 11 now.

A tall guy with glasses put in a $1, I played "Good Night, Sleep Tight" from the Lawrence Welk Show, and packed up the trumpet. Just then a bum with a cart loaded with stuff came up and asked the way to St. James Park, and I said I'm going there and I'll guide him there.

So I walked along with him and his cart'O'junk, and he talked about a place called Seaside, Oregon, where I could make $100's a day and you can make $100 a day just on cans. He himself performs as Something-Or-Other The Dancing Bear, and has a stuffed animal bear head he puts on his head and puts a cape or something around himself and danced around. He could dance while I play, he offered. (Something I want to never have happen ...)

I'm sure other buskers were out tonight, but I didn't look around. Derek Dubbel was on the corner by the pawn shop with his mic and amp, singing away, Rabbit Guy was under his bridge (like any proper troll) and there were surely a few acts along Santa Clara Street. The crowd was going strong when I left at 11, but I'd done enough.

I rode back here and counted up: $47.75 and a Canadian 50c piece. I'd played a total of 2 hours so that's better than $20 an hour. I feel like my playing is coming along, and I learned a lesson: Have things like the Happy Birthday song, the wedding song, etc practiced up because people will want them.

Friday, February 9, 2018

February 9

It's noon, and I'm up, dressed, had breakfast, packed an item that got paid for overnight, and am all ready to go (except I still have to drink the cup of coffee I just made). And all of this because last night Ken said we have to get going "at noon" and in fact, he took one of his sleeping pills earlier than usual and was dozing off in his chair. "You'll fall over," I said. "I usually go forward (onto the table)", he said. "You'd better go to bed", Suzy said. I was actually up later than they were, waiting for my laundry to get done.

I haven't had the guts to try putting butter in my coffee yet, which is a keto diet thing. But it would make sense to do so because there's always butter in this house. That would save me the hassle and expense of keeping whipping cream here. Of course Suzy had to point out yesterday that "Putting heavy cream in coffee is about 400 calories because it's 140 calories per tablespoon" or some rot like that. Let's see, I've lost 35 pounds and am now at my recommended weight, and she's obese and gaining...

At 1 I cooked some bacon, the old "bacon alarm clock" that has so reliably gotten Ken out of bed in the past. I ate two of the six pieces, leaving four for Ken. He did eventually wander downstairs, at about 1:30 but we were an hour ahead of the usual schedule.

We dropped off the packages at the post office and FedEx, and I was dropped off here at the old shop. I rode the bike to the new shop and got some cables and some gears and stuff I had to send off, and packed them here and walked out to the light rail station with the packages in a bag with my tip box, and the trumpet on my back.

When I got to the light rail station, a guy standing around asked me if my trumpet case was my knife case. "No, it's my trumpet... are you a chef?" He said he had been, did bar tending more recently, and was just out of prison and had done three job interviews today. "You could always apply at Alex's 49'er", I joked. It turned out he'd started there. The place is a notorious dive.  We got talking and he said that if I have Medi-Cal, I can get an "Obama Phone" and thus have a smart phone without having to pay for it. This is looking like a good idea, because the $50 a month for one on my own amounts to $600 a year, it adds up.

I got off at St. James and dropped off the packages at the post office (graced this day by a skinny bearded bum right out of Central Casting lying against one door, who raised one leg up in a sort of slow-motion high kick as I went in). Then it was over to the bank, and my account is up almost $400 from last week now thanks to the IRS check. Hope it lasts.

Then I walked back toward the light rail line, with $100 in my pocket. I noticed the Verizon store and remembered I'd gotten a text saying it's time for a payment so I went in there. Some half-crazy grifter came in just before me, and proceeded to try to run some scam, something about a phone return or something, that I think was supposed to result in cash in his hand. Once they had figured out that I wasn't with the grifter, I made my payment and after the grifter, having been told he'll have to handle whatever he was trying to do "with Corporate", had left, I looked around at the others and said "You can smell the 'scam' on him from yards away" to general laughter.

OK, to the bus. But the bus stop was empty and the announcement board said the next one was in 25 minutes or so, so I wandered into Walgreen's and looked around, then went into the pawn shop and determined that I could buy the clarinet, a good Japan-made Yamaha, that I'd bought from Recorder Guy and then sold to them, for $125 cash out the door. I said I'd think about it. (And think about it I should carefully, because why trade trumpet problems for clarinet/sax problems?)

I walked out and there was a #522 bus right there. I got over there and the card reader wasn't working, so rides were free. Actually, the VTA has changed things such that if you get on a bus within 2 hours of beeping your card to get on a train, the bus ride is free anyway.

I got to Castro Street in Mountain View at about 5:30 and it already seemed like the sun was down - there were a lot of funny high clouds in the sky. A short black man wearing an athletic type jacket but a suit jacket, shirt, and tie underneath, came up and started bugging me about some program for people who've been in jail, yadda yadda yadda and I said I don't have any money for him, and he went on about the stupid program and this much money is going into it etc., and I got ticked off and told him to bug off and get out of my face before I call the cops. Then he got pissed off and said he'd call them and I dared him to - of course he didn't. But the annoying bastard was either going where I was going, or following me for some reason, and I crossed the street (he came across too) but he found someone else to bug.

I got to the Resonating Tunnel and started in. The tips were very slow. The sky turned some pretty colors and I tried to have fun, but it seemed people had just gotten off work and were rushing around; maybe I was too early and they needed to get a few beers in them. After about $4 in tips and what felt like an hour, I tried moving to in front of Easy Foods. Guess who was there: Mr. Annoying. He had a clipboard and apparently his game was collecting signatures for something. He could have told me that at the beginning, I'd have told him I'm not registered to vote in Santa Clara County, and it'd have been no hassle. His girlfriend, too nice and pretty for him I think, was sitting there and got a kick out of what I was playing. I played "Saints" and she loved that she recognized it. I then played "Amazing Grace" and that was a big hit too. Then I saw/heard her ask a passerby something, and I said, "Hey, if you're asking for spare change here, I can move" but she said "We're collecting petitions for a school" so I said I'll move anyway because I'm interfering with them.

So I moved back to the Resonating Tunnel and played more and slowly, more tips came in. A lady from The Netherlands? Sweden? Someplace like that, came and sat with her toddler in a stroller, and we talked a bit. She'd been a singer and we talked about the type of breathing, where you feel it in your back. And I just played stuff, and looked up because I think people like that more than when I'm "eyeballing" them, and there were the weird rectangular drones. Circling around, so as I played I was moving around a bit to see them around the tree branches, and someone controlling them made them climb rapidly until they were tiny spots and then invisible. And as mentioned, these things are big - something like 5-10 feet long. Maybe bigger.

As the drones rose, so did my luck, and I started getting tips. As an excuse to take a break, I counted up and found I was at $14, so I figured I'd try to stay until I made it to $20, because I was at the 2-hour mark now. What helped was that people had had some beer by now, and I'd decided I was going to really "get inside" the song "What A Wonderful World" and I played that classic with both verve and pizzaz. I really sold that thing. I broke it up with other things, like the song about being the train they call the city of  New Orleans, Lady's A Tramp, my own little blues doodle thing, etc.

I counted again and I was a buck off. Well, time for more "What A Wonderful World" and let's put our heart into it ... and a bearded guy came over from across the street and put a $5 in. I think it might be the guy who plays fiddle there in the tunnel sometimes, between students he teaches at West Valley Music, there across the street. If so, this is a good sign because when we'd last talked, I'd come down on the side of Antifa and he'd stood firmly on the side of the Nazis.

It was a shock to meet an actual Nazi, but I thought about it, and yeah, he's white, he's playing white folk music, for him a Nazi regime would be fine. They'd send any pesky non-Aryan competing music teachers off to the camps, and he'd get a music school all his own, teaching nice clean white kids nice clean white fiddle music. His income would skyrocket. Who cares what happens to other human beings who are not of "his tribe"? Certainly not him.

So either I was really "selling" the music, or he felt like making up, or something. I like to think I was simply doing well and he tipping me because of that, fellow musico and all that.

And I was doing pretty well, too. The long tones practice is having a very good effect. Also, tonight I discovered a trick: When I got tired and started pressing the mouthpiece on my lips too much, I would "puff" up my lips, when you go to kiss your aunt on the cheek, and that would make me back off the pressure and the sound would improve. And also I'd tell myself it's really time for a little break. Take the horn down and hold it and look thoughtful etc.

I packed up and walked over to Ava's Market to see about some kind of vegetable for my curry, and they had bundles of chard for $1 so I got one of those. I think people don't like how the red stems turn their food red, but hey, it's curry, it's supposed to be red.

Then I wandered to the light rail station. There were lots of people around and I think I was almost too early, although getting there much later than 5:30 means someone else might get the spot. The black couple hustling for signatures had gone, and there was a guy with a guitar in front of Easy Foods. I went inside Easy Foods and bought two little squares of Ghirardelli chocolate with caramel inside, and ate them while listening to the guitarist/singer. He was decent, but not having amplification was hurting his act. He may have just gotten there because there was only about $3 in his case - and he was being pretty largely ignored. Maybe he was waiting for me to be done in the tunnel.

I had made $25.19. I had counted wrong and was already at my $20 goal when the guy gave me the $5.

I rode the light rail all the way back around to downtown, and bought gin, tonic, and some unsalted butter to try putting in coffee, and if not used for that will get used anyway. Things I was going to buy in any case. This came to $25.16. 

I also saw in Easy Foods, at the counter, the Japanese cat figures with the moving paws that I knew I'd seen somewhere. I don't know what they want for them, and now I'm not sure I want to carry something that bulky in addition to my trumpet case and tip box, but at least I know where to get 'em. Plus there's no way my playing and the cat's paw will be in time, and that will be odd.

I got back here with my very heavy bags (gin and 3 bottles of tonic, butter, chard, tip box, and a bottle of water) and dumped the stuff here and got on the bike and went to the new place to dig out a manual and two connectors I also need to send. Renee was there and has some electronics stuff she wants to sell to Ken - for full retail. Hm. I even called Ken on the way back to tell him about this and warn him - we don't want drama at the new place.

I went to the electrical supply to check the dumpster and there were tons of neat little boxes, perfect for first class packages. I dug those out and then went to the tire store and picked up two large plastic bags wheels come in, went back and bagged up the boxes, and saw a guy scrounging that I'd seen before, so I told him about how the one dumpster there often has copper in it. This is a guy I'd talked to before, and he remembered me.

He'd been in the Marines for 30 years, married for 50+, been in Desert Shield, etc. He prefers being homeless because the places "they" want to put homeless people into are full of druggies etc. He's known as "The Gunny" so that's his name around here. He told me his parents were Holocaust survivors, that he'd grown up learning English, Latin, and Hebrew. I said he could live quite well in Israel on the money he gets (I actually said the "thousand or 15-hundred you get", estimating about as low as possible) and he said he and his wife have looked into it several times. I said speaking Hebrew is a huge advantage. He also said one of his kids is in Stanford, one has their own business, one's about to retire as a San Jose police officer. "And they can't come up with a place for you to live?" I said, surprised, "I'm ... happy where I am" he replied so I guess a little "camping" is better than arguments all the time.

I rode away with my boxes thinking, What amazing homeless people you can run into here.

I packed the packages and put them in the bike bag, and have myself all cleaned up, bike ready, trumpet ready, to take off like a shot from here tomorrow. Ken and Chris will be moving large stuff tomorrow and I plan to be out of the way. They're supposed to come by at 1 which means 2:30 or so.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

February 8

I woke up at about 1:30, my weigh-in showed 129.8 so ... about where I was last week.

Ken had brought home a machine he's working on at his day job, a thing that produces energy to shoot, using a probe, into tumors. It has a fancy touch screen on it and he took it home because he had to take it to the EMI lab first thing in the morning to have it tested for RF noise emissions. So he was showing it to Suzy, and she was not impressed - she's not a techie. Being a semi-techie myself, I was just kind of interested that the RF it puts out is at 475kHz which is kind of close to the international marine radio hailing frequency of 500kHz.

Last night, about 4AM actually, I went on Amazon and ordered a book called "Red Plenty" about how the Soviets were really doing well and even surpassing the Americans in the 1960s into the 70s. There at least used to be a really neat web page about this book, and yesterday while practicing my long tones I listened to a podcast about it. The podcast, ehhh ... not too great. But it convinced me to buy the book. 

Another interesting thing that happened today was ... I got a check from the IRS for $240-odd. So combined with my paycheck, I can put $400 in my bank account and keep out $140-odd to live on this week.  I'll play trumpet this weekend too. Even if I only make the $36 I did last weekend, it makes a difference.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February 7

An astonishing thing happened today. I got a call from my doctor. I've recently changed doctors, and the one I had before was a very nice person, but very mousy and quiet. The one I've switched to is really "type A" and I love this. And she actually called me to discuss my blood test results - amazing! With the last one, the results were treated like state secrets. And the results are that everything's fine, except cholesterol a bit higher than optimum. She said belly fat is related to this, and I told her I'd gotten my weight down to 129 or 130, and still have fat around my middle, so now the effort is going to be about changing my body composition more than body weight. Lose fat and gain muscle.

Everything else is tippy-top, and I didn't even get a chance to put in that I hadn't stopped drinking as I said I'd do. I don't think I want to stop drinking completely, but by drinking generally only right at bed time, it appears my body is able to recover from it. Of course quitting completely or becoming an "a craft beer on Sunday" type of drinker would probably make my health perfect. I mean, there's a bit of high blood pressure (or was, I haven't measured it lately) and the slightly high cholesterol, and ending or nearly-ending alcohol would solve those two things.

I did my long tone exercises, going just as long as I could, and really working the muscles that are used to push out air. I've been starting at G in the staff and going down to the lowest note, and then starting with G again and going up. But I think just like the way, when you start doing an exercise, you can do X number of reps at first, then the number you can do can go down, before going up, because unfamiliar muscles are being strained. I think this is why I had trouble going up today. I was in trouble past C in the staff. I'd been going to G on top of the staff.

I think I'm on the right path, though. 

February 17

I was half-awake when I became fully awakened by the sound of Ken's truck pulling up. I got dressed while Ken fumbled with the locked ...