Saturday, January 20, 2018

January 20

I was up at maybe a quarter after noon, and in the interest of avoiding Ken and lifting heavy stuff (he's got Chris for that) I was out the door with the trumpet in the new case at 12:58.

I stopped first at Denny's and got a "grand slam slugger" which is the standard Denny's breakfast with coffee and OJ thrown in for free. Two mugs 'o mud helped me wake up. It was a beautiful crisp day with a very blue sky and here I was, out and about only a bit after noon.

I got take-out stuff for the OJ and pancakes and all but a little bit of the hash browns and passed them on to a scruffy guy camped out in front of McDonald's. My little brekkie cost me $15 with the tip, but it was good.

Why not, I thought, as I waited for the light rail, stop off in Japantown and get one of those "beckoning cat" things that run off of batteries and have a waving left paw, as my answer to Rabbit Guy's hopefully hard-of-hearing rabbit? It seemed like a fantastic idea.

I tried the Betsuin store first and they didn't have them. But, I asked about futons, real ones that fold in 3 sections, and they have 'em. Sure, one will cost me a bit over $200 but I had one before when I had apartments in Sunnyvale and my back loved it. And I won't have to go all the way over to Mitsuwa Marketplace or up to the City to get one. Excellent!

I walked further down Jackson street and went into Nijiya and got a Lipovitan because I wanted to be productive. Then I checked in Kogura's, nope no waving "neko" (cat). I checked all over, really, and while it was nice "shopping" in Japantown on such a nice day, I realized Amazon will have to help me here.

I got back on a light rail and went downtown and got off at Paseo de San Antonio to duck into The Fairmont and use the loo. But, the Gzines guy was there and it's quite a while since we talked, so I said Hi and we chewed the fat for quite a while. Good old guy, and he was "fixing" (actually just changing the battery but it was tricky) a guy's watch. The guy came by, the watch was done, I said my farewells for now and skipped to my loo, The Fairmont saves my butt again.

There were quite a few people walking along the Paseo, and while it was cold the sun was warm, so I set up in front of Johnny Rockets and played .... I am not practiced up like I should be, but thanks to the whisper-G exercise, am sounding better than I should. And ... no one cared. Maybe it was the sun shining in my eyes that made me look like I was hating life, maybe it was that a good number of people had places to go like the Sharks game starting at 5, maybe .... I dunno but other than annoying a photographer and his subjects, a young couple, I seemed to have no impact. All showing that a crowd does not mean an interested crowd.

I decided to walk down to Santa Clara street and see how things were at the "old spag" the Old Spaghetti Factory, which the more you think about it, the lousier name it is. I mean, my digestive system is an Old Spaghetti Factory, if you put some new spaghetti in ....

Hm! There was a *really* good caricaturist set up, and a lady selling "wood" roses, not actual woodroses, and not roses made of wood, but some flowers that look superficially like roses, and were sprayed with paint or something, in fake-y pink and white. "Lasts forever" her sign said.

So I set up at the third "section" of the space in front of the Old Spag, and started playing. And people really did not care. One family was waiting for someone or something, and one guy there was really listening to me work on "My Funny Valentine" and eventually gave me a dollar for which I thanked him profusely. But it was obviously not prime time. Everyone wanted to get to their Sharks game. The rose lady and I talked a bit. The caricaturist, showing a sketch like a lady shows her boobs on Mardi Gras, wanted to talk too. I said he's very good.

Eventually the non-caring made me realize I was using up what endurance I had for nought, and I should kill time until game-ending time at 8, so I walked over to hang out a bit with the caricaturist. He insisted on drawing me, because it would generate interest and we could talk. He's a receiving agent or something for a supermarket for a day job, and I volunteered at his prompting that I help sell electronics surplus. He's from El Salvador. He wanted to form a duo, art and music, and he wanted to venture with me up to SF on Monday, sharing expenses. I said I have no money, and besides it's going to rain. "Oh, yeah, that's right", he said.

The caricature of me made me look a bit like George H.W. Bush and not in a good way. I said like as not I'm related to the guy, since on my father's side my family's as pure English as they get, to back before the Revolution. And at least he uses good Bristol paper. When he was done, the rose lady's trailer-park boyfriend had showed up, drunk or otherwise impaired, and they proceeded to fight. I called 911 when he started grabbing her roses and throwing them at her, hard. Of course by the time I was talking to the actual police the guy'd been confronted by local security, she'd taken off, and he'd wandered over to argue with the security guy at the parking lot entrance.

I'd told the caricaturist about my choice for a place to work along there, in the niche in front of Peggy Sue's, which is very brightly lit in the evening when everywhere else is dark. Plus, the guy who owns it, a Middle-Eastern guy who's enormously fat, with a butt like a literal Clysdale, seems friendly and entrepreneurial. We went over there and talked with the staff, the boss had just left but the guy working there wanted a caricaturist for something, a party or something, and they seemed to hit it off.

I left them to talk about things and I'm not sure I was even noticed as I left. I needed to go hang out somewhere, I thought, like Caffe Frascati. I'd go to Safeway, pick up some poke, and go eat it there with maybe a Hamm's to wash it down. And read magazines until a bit before 8, when I'd go back to the Old Spag and catch those Sharks fans.

So I walked up 1st street and decided to check out the art place where the old Ross used to be (which is where the old Woolworth's used to be). It was open, and there were some letterers there, I could tell, from the signs saying this and that near the front. I went by the various booths, one sign painter but the guy's not there, but at the next one, another sign guy and he's there and we got talking.

He does murals, signs, anything really. We talked about everything. The guy's making a living and by living is probably meant a real living not what I call a living. The floor of the booth was covered with cardboard (the hard grey kind) and people are encouraged to draw something on it so I contributed a "human bean" which is a little running bean(with legs) and a Seussian eye.

Eventually the guy in the booth just before his came back and we talked too. He'd largely taught himself but he said the weekend course taught once a month at New Bohemia Signs up in the City helped a lot. Two 10-hour days. I said I'd done things like that anyway, like the drug runner's boat I'd painted for $100 and it turned out to take me a week, and the airbrushed T-shirts with designs of parrots with a stencil for just about every feather. That never sold.

We all agreed that hand-lettered signs are great, and I maintained my view that they're superior because if you go to Kinko's to get some signs made, they'll charge you more than a skilled letterer will charge, and take longer to have made.

Getting to Safeway, there was no poke and I decided that really, F this noise, because it's supposed to rain the next 3 days and I need to get some shopping in. I'd had enough. I picked out some lamb and sausage and curry paste in a little jar and all sorts of things, and got back here.

There was no coconut milk at Safeway at all but I had plenty of time to get on the bike and go up to 99 Ranch and get things like a $3 can opener (they're $15 downtown and this is why homeless people can be seen rubbing cans on the cement to open them) and a bunch of coconut milk and all kinds of food-y things. I loaded the things into the bike bags and since I'd gotten a little $1 coupon usable at the bakery/prepared food area, I went back in for dim sum. I picked out 4 pieces, and it was $1 off plus "pick out 3 get 1 free" so it ended up costing me $2. A couple of tall, skinny, young Chinese guys had a fistful of coupons and got something like 18 pieces of dim sum, maybe more, and they chowed down a seat or so down from me in the eating area. One of them dropped a piece. On. The. 99Ranch. Floor. And he picked it up and ate it! That guy must have been really hungry.

I was, too, and I got a can of Mr. Brown to finish things off and rode back to the shop and put things away. I called Ken because there was a pile of boxes of stuff right where the roof leaks, and he and Chris was just taking a break to eat, and then were going to take the stuff to the new place.

I hitched up the bike trailer and rode around to find stuff, mainly pick up some boxes full of bubble wrap I'd scouted out last night but didn't pick up. Those were gone but I found some nice pieces of plywood and loaded those up and took them to the new shop. On the way back I picked up 6 wheel boxes from the tire place, then got back here and filled 4 banana boxes with plug-ins we have listed on Ebay and took those over.

I'd done enough and so had Ken and Chris, and tomorrow the plan is for Ken by himself to load up small stuff (they'd moved a whole section of pallet racking today) and move it to the new place, and my plan is to move stuff also, but rain's supposed to come in so I'll just see what I can do.

If you want to know a trumpet case, walk a few miles with it ... this new case is excellent in a lot of respects, but for carrying for literal miles and hours like I have to when I busk, it's not very good. It's heavy, it keeps wanting to roll or twist or something so it digs an edge into my back, and that it's a "top opening" instead of "side opening" case doesn't make it any more sanitary - if you're out busking you're going to be carefully placing your case to avoid spittle, spills, and general grunge. More important would be having a few pages of The Metro to lay down first. And, having the case as the thing the public puts their money into isn't that great an idea. There are always coins that get missed and will put little dents in your instrument. Plus, with my red folding cloth box, I can just fold it up around the money and count up later.

I don't know if I want to return this case, because it's a damn nice case. There's not a thing wrong with it. And there's a lot right with it. It's just not great for what I do; walking a few miles with it in a day/night, going through crowds (it sticks out more than the other type) and in general, doing everything short of hopping freight trains with the thing.

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