HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
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March 31, 2015
South Cove, San Diego, California
Today was spent collecting my thoughts, sorting out decisions that must be made and organizing details of things and also spacing out. Tonight was spent with a group of guys who get together once a month to have a bonfire on the beach at sunset with a potluck dinner. There was one woman and she was visiting from New Zealand. My hosts Will and Steve attend with this group monthly. I was talking with a guy there about how really nice it was and why they get together. He said, "Its something we wouldn't do for ourselves, so we do it for each other."
March 30, 2015
Fiesta Island, San Diego, California
Its difficult to believe I've been on the west coast for two months and also that my friends have allowed me to stay so long and... this past month I spent time in Los Angeles and... all the time I have spent with homeless people on the streets all while complaining about and recuperating over and over concerning my physical ailments and weakness ad-nauseam. A bizarre thing has happened. The place in West Virginia I have used off and on throughout the journey where the last few personal possessions of my life are stored, about a half rooms worth... I asked my friend Jeff living nearby to go and check on the place for me as the owners do not have the where with all to deal with any of it. They live five hours away and I have been the caretaker when I have returned there for all these years. In two and a half months time, the inside has become inundated with black and green mold. I left it clean and white and bright. He sent me a picture of it.
It has not yet reached the back room where my stuff is but it will not take long. I don't know whether to skip Zion National Park and go back there to get my stuff out or where I would put it or just say goodbye to everything once and for all like a fire or flood takes everything. It is sad, as I have things my mom and dad made for me and other stuff like that. Last time I went back the water well was dry... very wierd happenings. On a good note... I did get out to Fiesta Island today for the sunset and lost myself in music. Mo and I interacted with a few people and we took a walk for awhile. That all felt good and I appreciate the practice of going with life's flow. It has never been easy for me and now with very little money, no place or home to retreat to, my physical aging issues, god how long will the truck last (1987) its all getting tricky... In reality, it is all the same old, same old... I've never had security or felt secure so I enjoy what is. My dog Mo is what is! Its difficult to focus only on joy for almost ten years! Ha, music, friendship, respect and fun too... whenever I can experience it.
March 29, 2015
Mission Valley, San Diego, California
It feels good to stop, just stop. For the fourth day I'm feeling too weak to do anything and it feels good to just... stop. With pictures of people playing music, I am about 2000 pictures behind in processing and filing lol, and I don't care. I've been that backed up before. I am feeling a little better by the hour. I used my new iPhone today and wish I could feel better about moving in this new direction of technology along with my computer. My choices were to jump off the technology wagon and leave the internet way of life or move into it more and leave my privacy behind and lesson more my options via the internet world because of constant tracking of every movement. New challenges constantly enter the picture. I had a friend check the cabin where I have stayed often in West Virginia and he says the walls are filling with mold. Ha, I have a few important possessions in there and in a few months more I'll never be able to use the place again unless the problem is permanently solved. Tomorrow I'll need to go back to the iPhone and computer store. Hopefully I'll create some music afterwards. I will be getting ready to leave at the end of the week for Zion National Park in Utah the last US bucket list place for this journey and then...
March 28, 2015
Mission Valley, San Diego, California
The only thing in life that changes is my perceptions of what is and what happens. I need to constantly remind myself that nothing is new except for situations. They change in life constantly because that is the way life is. Today was exhausting as was yesterday. I am tired, physically weak, disoriented, dare I say a little depressed, not sure worry is in the equation, fear definitely not. My state could have been from the extra long walk two days ago. Physical exertion always takes two days to catch up with me but also it could be the necessity to change my mind set. I have always had a little bit of financial funding set aside for the end and I am now digging into that. Financially, the necessity to depend on others does not sit well with me but at the same time I have been doing that since the start in many different ways. I have always had people to fall back on and still do but ha, no buts, I need to stop there because any other thinking is bullshit trouble. So, I have a new computer with the old one for a backup to keep going and I now have an IPhone which I need to figure out. I spent hours again at the store today dealing with that. Otherwise well, I tried to walk through a screen door, to give you an idea how the rest of the day went. Mo keeps me present with my priorities. He is my priority. I decided that the day I accepted him into my life. My relationship with him surpasses my relationship with people, the journey, music, physical possesions, even shelter. He helps to keep me in the present moment with his love and joy and consistency. He is a present for me. Ok, so everything is fine and also a challenge as it always has been and always will be. I must absolutely remember my first morning thoughts, the core of a formula that has worked from the beginning, that of Fun, Friendship and Respect followed by awareness of gratitude. I do have by the grace of God gratitude in every moment of my life along with crap.
March 27, 2015
Mission Valley, San Diego, California
Before going to bed I noticed my computer charge was down to 7%. The new adapter I just purchased felt burnt out and it would not charge. Thats two in a week, three in the last month. The computer was going kaput and me no longer with a back up computer. I had ordered another adapter (always to have a spare) three days ago. Now, here is how this journey works. In the past I would have freaked out with fear, not being online how can I figure out what to do, where is an apple computer store, my options, etc... but, while on my walk yesterday through the Fashion Valley mall next door to where I am staying I was surprised to see the largest Apple store I've ever seen in the country. With all the remote places I've been what are the chances of being in a place where there is a store and so close and at the exact time needed. Talk about timing. It felt "set up" ahead of time in my mind to know that place was there so I knew where to go today and what to do. My job was to stay out of the drama and take everything one step at a time. Using the serenity prayer and praying for support and guidance helped. My body is stressed out but my thinking is great. Then when I wake up the mail had arrived early and the spare adapter was with it. That took three days. The last one from the same company took three weeks! Also, in the mail was an liquid herbal extract I had ordered online for relaxation also ordered three days ago. Hahaha... I don't know whats going on but something wondrous is. I left Mo with my friend Steve so he was in good hands. Steve was going to go out today but ended up staying with Mo the whole day because thats how long I was at the store, for like six hours. It took that long for me to work thought the process of what was needed and I found a guy willing to hang in with me through it. They could not find anything wrong with the computer or the chargers, it all worked. I'm going to try some different wall plugs where I am staying. I've entered into a newer world of technology with a lot of resistance. I now have a backup computer and IPhone. How I'm going to figure it all out is beyond me. I never even had a cell phone until this journey and the one I have is pre-flip-up. Texting? Have never done it. In my mind, all that stuff is just too difficult in order to want to learn. I guess I have no choice now. So... the place, the product, the assurance, the tools for relaxation and clarity, the financial support and time, all fell into place. Now its my job to learn and continue. When stuff like this happens I acknowledge, am grateful and then share... and thats how it works. I could not be more emotionally and physically drained. A short walk is in order for Mo and then to bed.
March 26, 2015
Mission Valley, San Diego, California
Today was a relax and decompress day. It is not easy to give what I do a break even without any outside pressure. The idea of hanging out in a park or going for a hike or getting out to see the sunset... forget it, even that was too much energy. So, Mo and I did go for a super long walk all throughout fashion valley mall which is in walking distance from where we have been staying. The place is very impressive with just about every name brand store in existence and it is an outside mall of two levels. I was waiting for someone to come throw us out but apparently there is no problems concerning dogs. Good for them. I would shop there just because of that... if I had the money, lol. Other than the walk we just laid around all day.
March 25, 2015
Downtown, San Diego, California
I was really exhausted, did not feel rested but I pushed myself to go back downtown to the homeless block where I've been several times because I told a guy whom I had met with his young daughter who's pictures I accidentally deleted, I told him I would return because he really wanted a picture with the Traveling Piano. Even though he was sick he still came for himself and his daughter so I am glad I pushed myself to be there. Many people I've met who are homeless, pictures with the Traveling Piano give them an assurance of worth and they want to hold onto that and more importantly share it with family in other parts of the country. They have told me this. I've heard it more than ten times. People living on the streets without homes have been validating everything I am and have always wanted to be as a human being. They have no need to pretend to be someone and are therefore transparent, pure spirit in human form. They show themselves as individuals good, bad and everything in between as perceived by others. I had an unusual amount of time being able to just sit and create music, take everything in and observe today. There was a non profit business nearby with volunteers handing out food. No complaints with that but I wish these people would dress down a bit with more in casual clothes and not show fear by having college kids acting as guards as though protection is needed. It is not. People without homes have a need to feel "as one" with everyone on the outside much more than they have a need for food.
March 24, 2015
La Jolla, San Diego, California
Steve and Will my hosts, giving me their garage to use for the Traveling Piano while they park their vehicle out on the street and well, that generosity is bigger than the sharing of a bedroom in their house. They have also been supplying a lot of my food. This is how this journey has been surviving and then my friend Becky who has really been a great help. Someone sent me a fifteen dollar contribution through the website from the other day. I told them that they are in the once percent. About one percent of the people I have met on this journey have contributed. Granted, I don't ask for contribution but that is what makes the "one percent" even more special. After a restless sleep Mo and I drove to the cliffs of Torry Pines where we have been before and watched handgliders in the air while recording music until after sunset. It was very peaceful except for military aircraft doing what they do. In the sky I saw handgliders, paragliders, pelicans, blackbirds, seagulls, a double winged airplane, helicopters, and a military jet all at the same time. A guy who has lived in the area on and off in his vehicle for most of his life told me an amazing history of the area and the people who frequent it. He pointed to the black birds on the ground and told me they all know him and everyone else. They love to play with the dogs who visit by getting the dogs to chase them.
I've been learning how people without homes get jobs here and there for cash and how they switch between their cars and motel rooms on and off. One guy who lives out of his car acts as an ambulance chaser for a big time local accident lawyer and goes to the YMCA for every morning to shower and exercise with a couple of very well known athletes at five in the morning. Another guy I met tonight came over to tell me how he had come up to the parking area where we were in order to chill and listen to some jazz on his car radio. The radio would not work so he just fell asleep in his car. My music woke him up while he was dreaming, "wow, the radio just started working automatically." Then he got confused then realized the music was live and then discovered us. A woman I had met the other night named Jo stopped by. I didn't recognize her or her dog because my mind these days is without question in la, la land. I left the piano and walked to the edge of cliffs for the first time to enjoy the sunset and was awestruck by the sight. I had not seen the cliffs last time I was there and they were only a few hundred feet in front of me. It was beautiful and the ocean was so far below the waves looked like everything was moving in slow motion. It was a beauteous sight and the nature of it all created some emotion from me which I have not felt in a long while.
March 23, 2015
South Mission Beach San Diego, California
While feeling out of sorts, falling behind with sending pictures and taking care of small errands, sleeping a little too much maybe... well, we just kept going. I found a jetty I have had my eyes on from another beach as it looked like there were never any cars and people there. I was wrong. After driving around asking people for clues I found the spot. It was on South Mission Beach and jetty rocks had been hiding the parked cars. It was late so we stayed there and parked next to the sand and met a lot of fun people. One guy originally from Guatemala and now on the streets of San Diego walks 10-20 miles a day collecting cans and bottles from trash to make his way. Music is his life. He is a Mariachi Musician. There was a healthy diversity of people enjoying the sunset together tonight. Afterwards I got dinner... way to much dinner.
March 22, 2015
Fiesta Island San Diego, California
It is a most awesome experience to be in a large urban area where there are also wide expanses of nature. We drove to Fiesta Island less than seven miles from downtown and less than four miles from where we have been staying. It is a large island with only three trees and is off leash for pets with over five miles of paths to walk, beach all around, fire pits, water for skiing and boating and no guards or police that I've ever seen patrolling looking for trouble... because there isn't any. It is a place that reminds me that when people are empowered and not policed, they get along better. Mo and I took a long walk and then played for the sunset. Of course we met some really great people. Two people we met had lived homeless in the park several years ago and now have a successful career.
March 21, 2015
Shelter Island San Diego, California
I may have broken my record for nighttime Traveling Piano fun with people tonight. I was out until almost twelve midnight. While driving back to where we are staying I was thinking of how today felt as though I am living live to the fullest. For me, the fullest is in relationship with all kinds of people. I should clarify, in "good" relationship with all kinds of people. Originally I was thinking I would be spending time by myself just chilling and also learning how to record music with the new keyboard I am using. I brought food for dinner, directions on how to record and a lounge chair. As usual, what was I thinking? There is no way in a public area on a beautiful sunny eighty degree saturday that I am not going to interact with people. We drove to Shelter Island with boat docks and plenty of places to park. I don't want to jinx myself by saying this but, I can't figure out if everything here in San Diego is so large and that is why there are never any packed crowds or what. Maybe its just that everywhere is as nice as anywhere, so people are not concentrated into small areas of niceness. As soon as we pulled into a parking lot a guy yelled out with interest and so I backed up and he with two other friends spent about a half hour hanging out with Mo and I shooting the bull so to speak, with music. Then Mo and I drove to the waters edge. The cityscape was in front of us across the bay. Connections began immediately. There was one woman who wanted to play but did not want her picture taken. The situation was not feeling free spirited so it was a very rare time when I said "this is a two way street of trust and we are in this together" so... she did not get on to play. I was in the area to meet up with some friends and that is when I ended up using the lounge chair on the beach next to a huge fire pit, hanging out, roasting hotdogs on sticks, on the waters edge with the city lights in the distance... it was all so, wow! Then I just felt the need to create some music in the dark and there seemed to be not a lot of people around so I pulled the truck up to a boat ramp and began playing. People did find us, all types... one guy who was a piano player with his two sons pulled into the dock from kayaking and began to tell me how beautiful the music was and their experience of discovering us as they approached land. Another couple danced a bit and visually tried to describe their experience and then I saw the first guy I had met earlier in the day running towards us. He was beside himself in finding the Traveling Piano again. He was a guy around my age living in a canoe on the water and he also plays some piano. It was a great day.
One more thing. I did something I've never done before today. It has always been easy interacting with people who have no home on the streets using the music and the Traveling Piano and I have been saying how I wish people would just go up to strangers and hang out with them yet, I've never done that. As I was leaving the complex where I am staying there was a very rusty old guy sprawled out across the sidewalk looking kind of dead. As I drove by him I watched people walking around him, some looking to see if he was still breathing and thought, "Do it, step up to the plate and do yourself what you think other people should do." Then I thought how I had somewhere to go, my time was limited, etc... and then I got my priorities together and turned around to drive back. I parked the Traveling Piano a bit of a distance away and walked up with Mo in tow and met Larry. He was about sixty percent coherent, educated, black, much older than me and from Wilmington Delaware. We talked about how beautiful the day was, how people help him out with food and money sometimes. I told him I am also homeless but don't have it as tough as he does and he said, "oh, so you stay with different friends" and then he asked, "so what do you think about homelessness?" I said it makes me fucking angry and he replied, "now were talking." I said how I've learned a lot of people choose to live on the street and he said that is not his experience. Maybe for periods of time but not out of choice all the time. This was what the guy last night said as well as several people before. Anyway, I feel really good about stepping out of my box, letting go of my fears of how to connect, my prejudice and not hiding behind the Traveling Piano or the music to simply extend myself to a stranger in friendship. We sat and talked for about ten minutes. I told him about the Traveling Piano and if I see him again how he needs to get up onto the piano seat. As I drove away I passed slowly and yelled out the window telling him to look and see. With almost full clarity he perked up full spirited and surprising bright. He yelled back. "Thats Great!"
March 20, 2015
San Diego, California
We started out for the dog park to play fetch today but before leaving the complex where we are staying some neighbors were out and somehow for the first time we connected, a mom and her baby and the nextdoor neighbor. It was the baby and Mo that really did the trick for connecting and then I suggested that mom have a Traveling Piano experience with her daughter. Several other neighbors appeared and disappeared and their was no chance that any of them were going to get on board. Lol... this was the first time any of them ever even looked at us so we could say hello. I made sure the piano volume was low because I did not want to draw unwanted attention and create a stir. We had some fun. The guy who lives next door came out for a few minutes and took some pictures before retreating and he sent them to me tonight. Few people are thoughtful enough to send me the pictures they take so I really appreciated that. Today is the International Day of Happiness. It is a day of celebration to create awareness of how happiness is a fundamental right for every human being. Lets create policies from within ourselves, communities and countries that promote the well being of all people! Some may think that's stupid. So... at least for today I will be Happy and Stupid, not bad choices considering... Mo and I found a dog park although it was not the one we were looking for. There are many dog parks here in San Diego.
Afterwards, we stopped at a random empty parking spot in Balboa park to play in the dark and met a few people homeless and non-homeless. One guy named Tommy who is living out of his car was just too afraid to get onto the piano, he was even afraid to get close. I could tell he was a beautiful person and he so exemplified the fear homeless people are living in. Another guy was not so afraid. He came out of the bushes specifically to thank me for the music. I engaged him with some talk and we ended up having an in-depth discussion about how he is from NYC, has several degrees, is a veteran who got shot in Bosnia and has six kids who he signed over all his benefits to, all except for the one who committed suicide at age eleven. He was telling me about a cop that worked the area named Dick Ward and how the officer treated him like scum while telling him how much he was hated and how he would like to run him over with his vehicle to kill him in order to get rid of him. We talked about how important respect is, friendship and we had some fun! There was something more than interesting about this discussion. I once knew of a cop in center city Philadelphia back when I lived there in the nineteen eighties who would harass people on the streets. His name... Dick Ward.
March 19, 2015
Ocean Beach, San Diego, California
Last night before bed I thought how Mo needs a good run today on the Beach. He has been acting very rambunctious and not in a good way. For the second day I could not get out of bed, did not want to and in fact felt a little depressed probably from exhaustion over all the anger I've been feeling lately. Like a frustrated baby having to deal with life on life's terms. Waa, waa, waa. I have no real excuse for the anger. So anyway, we went to the beach as I was feeling thankful that my dog helps motivate me to get exercise for myself even though it is on his behalf. He continued to act like a jerk until I realized I was the one with the problem. As soon as I began to come down off my high horse of entitlement and the love of nature began to take hold of me, all my issues with Mo began to dissipate. We have not been interacting enough. In fact his running loose and having some interactions with other dogs was not enough. He was still whining and I figured out as he ran around and watched other dogs fetching balls in the water that he really wanted to play fetch with me, with anyone, with another dog and there were no sticks around to throw for him. That will come tomorrow.
We went back to the truck and someone walking by recognized us from a posting online and said , "Hi, nice to see you." Then the Traveling Day began. Our spiritual energies connected and it felt really good. Then another girl with her boyfriend approached with some money which at first I began to turn down but then I could feel her energy of contributionship so I accepted. She was from Huntington, West Virginia where I have tried to find a place to stay several times in order to share the Traveling Piano. A conversation began and she started in with the "are you a Chris..." I cut her off and said yes I am a Christian and she went right into "Do you have..." and I cut her off again and said yes, I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and then our energies totally connected. It is rare for me to experience the total feeling that someone else "gets" what I am doing one hundred percent. With this girl it happened through Christ even though I made it clear that he is not the focus of this journey although he is the focus of my energy whenever I can remember that fact. His connection to me in life is mostly on auto pilot and for whatever it is worth... it is what it is. Do you know that old song, "Oh, What a Friend We Have in Jesus"? Thats me and him, he's my buddy. I was talking with him earlier today about my anger and not understanding it. Anyway, I told her that I hope the pictures taken of her are in the camera because the camera is giving me a problems. She offered to get my a new one. I said it costs $1200. She said, "no problem, or if I needed anything else." Lol, we shall see what happens. From years of past experience I'm not going to keep my fingers crossed. Two other guys from Los Angeles said they could find a place for me to stay up there. Ha... we shall see on that one too. I am always learning to take what people say with a grain of salt. More than ninety nine percent never follow through.
We drove to the end of sunset boulevard and parked at the cliffs for sunset. There were more people around than I expected and they were not shy about wanting to get onto the truck for a few notes of music and a picture. Thank God all the pictures took today! I've met an unusual amount of people from Brazil in this spot where I have parked before. It felt good that some people actually asked if they good get in and play. I met a man and woman with ukuleles. We played well into the dark, enough that I was afraid neighbors were soon going to complain. Mo got two sweet smushy kisses from the last two girls who we had fun with. The last two days have been awesome and all it took was for me to push through my own crap and just do what I do and that is to go out and get me some fun, friendship and respect. "How" has never been an issue. It always happens naturally when I can love and take care of myself. Early this afternoon two people very close to me phoned from the east coast to say hello. I was so stuck in my darkness that I did not answer the phone but I knew from past experience that I was being nurtured with love from a non physical realm. I said to myself, "this always and only happens when I am really in need of personal validation and reassurance... that I am loved" ...several friends calling on the same day that rarely call. I didn't consciously feel needy but know with the anger it must be a fact. I always do three things when good stuff happens from beyond my consciousness. I acknowledge, am grateful and then I share it, whatever.
March 18, 2015
Downtown San Diego, California
I am in ouch, ouch mode. It feels like I am going crazy. I have a headache. My "homeless issue" button was pushed today by a news article describing lack of empathy and compassion for people without homes. I got so riled I had to go down to San Diego's skid row to work off some of the anger. I fixed the wood falling apart on my piano that has been bugging me for over six months. I put the new piano in and hooked it up. The fit with this different and only choice model is so that I cannot turn it on or off, adjust the volume or make any other adjustments without pulling the piano out of its casing and putting it back in for every need. Thats just awful but the sound is so much better and cleaner... ugh what a negotiation and adjustment for my head to take on. The last thing I need is more steps to deal with and mess up with. Before I get to the good stuff for today I need to dump the bad. My camera battery died so I went to put in the backup and the lid came off. I got it back on and took a lot of the most fantastic pictures you could imagine. Today was as good as July third of last year, one of the best picture times ever and... none of the pictures took once the new battery was put in. Why did this happen? Oh, it hurts, it hurts so now the good stuff.
I drove to the homeless area I have been to before I went to Los Angeles a few weeks back. People instantly began to jump out at me to say hi and how glad they were to see me. Colorful characters got onto the piano to try it out. People who really used the playing of random musical notes to simply chill for awhile. I saw a woman obviously not homeless reaching out to shake hands with people and that impressed me. She got onto the piano and was a pentecostal person with her husband just hanging out with people. Another short guy came walking down the street with a huge three foot high colorful king balloon type hat on. God, it hurts so much that I do not have these pictures. He comes down to the area several times a week just to create some friendship and a little distraction of silliness. He told me how not only does the wearing of the hat make people smile, they have cried when they are feeling troubled and see him because they know he genuinely cares about his friends. A guy without a home with his very young daughter had some good time on the piano. A dog ministry appeared. It is a group that supplies dog food for all the homeless people with dogs. One woman took over fifteen minutes to crawl up into the truck and onto the piano to jam some with another guy who was jamming. She said, "momma always told me where there is a will there is a way." She was able to trust me this time around as I remember seeing her from the past as she makes uncontrolled contortions with her face. There were a lot more amazing experiences but I use the pictures to remember and I don't have them! As it got dark, lines began to form for food. The lines I saw were three city blocks long and there were more in other places.
March 17, 2015
La Mesa, San Diego, California
Ok, so I messed around looking into and trying all solutions for a broken piano fix and in the end I went a purchased a new piano. A friend gave me the money and so my job was to say over and over and over... spend it... spent it... spend it. You would not believe how difficult that is to do. Finally, I gave up and turned over my will to hold back. Then I went with my friends Will and Steve to another friend Ron's house to have dinner with his mother. It felt really good to be included with the invite. After dinner I went to hang some with other new friends. A guy named Simon was there. He is a piano man and I would love for him to be the first person to play on the new instrument even before me. It will be more than interesting if we are able to connect again to have that happen.
Today I really wanted to secure a good solid sense of self... for myself. Innately, I could feel my spiritual nature getting lost. I know what to do about that. The challenge comes in the keeping of it... the consistent awareness of who I am and what I am about. There are lots of flowers everywhere so I went and took a couple of pictures on a park trail. Tomorrow, hopefully I can repair some of the piano wood that is falling apart, insert the new keyboard and then get back on track with some music. The wood piano facade has been somewhat of a phenomenon. In its over twenty five years it has been baked, fried, frozen, soaked. consistently jostled and banged around and has withstood the pressure of wind up to seventy five miles an hour driving on road for long periods of time and its still here, holding together. This is amazing.
March 16, 2015
Port Loma, San Diego, California
I took the piano apart today to find a broken key and try to glue it together. After three hours, the glue still was not dry. I don't think its going to work anyway. In addition to yesterdays complaining about these yamaha keyboards, with every new model they make it more difficult to repair any problems. Like with this model an additional twelve screws, unwiring needed, hidden areas to find the problem, more fragile snapped together plastic parts... Apple computers pulled this kind of behavior. Anyway, I'll see what happens tomorrow. Today I took a lounge chair and sat at the edge of a cliff on a rock at sunset beach. Waves were splashing fifty feet into the air against the rock on three sides. Why were there people there!!! Lol, I wanted to be alone but that would be ridiculous to expect here at the sunset cliffs. Today I was as irritated and disappointed as can be yet at the same time full of gratitude and loving the sounds and views of nature (not people) ha, just can't stop with my frustration. It felt like Will and Steve my hosts and I were sparing a bit and thats not good! I don't want to get thrown out of here!!! Hooked up with some new friends after sunset. That was nice and after I post this I'm going for a long walk with Mo. A new piano is going to cost $1300. I'm really loving the ocean and weather.
March 15, 2015
Balboa Park, San Diego, California
This morning around 10am I took a little TOO MUCH herbal energy tea and it began to activate around 3pm. Its now after 10pm and I'm still going... as manic as can be. I don't know if I'm coming or going. It is not a very good state to be in when I am interacting with people. I can be very sharp. It was the most beautiful summer-like day. First, we went to the music store to look into piano options because my keys are breaking. The options suck. I use a yamaha controller keyboard inside a piano facade. Every time the company needs to make money they create a newer, crappier version that has less shelf life and then they clear all markets of the previous versions to force people to purchase the new version the next time they need a keyboard. I don't know how they make them all disappear everywhere. It must be bribery with distributers. Even used models disappear fast. They must buy them all up and reuse the parts. To make matters worse they fix the market so there is no flexibility in price no matter where you make the purchase.
The store had no electrical cable to try out the new version. The biggest store in all of San Diego and the only one for pro level keyboards... they did not have the cable to demonstrate the piano. Ugh, onto a better day. I went for a long walk with Mo the entire length of the Sunset Cliffs at Ocean Beach. The sun, the breeze, the temperatures... so nice. Everyday I need to walk more and get into shape for Zion National Park. That is next on the agenda and I don't want to be taking a hike only to have to spend the next three days after, recuperating from it. I did not want to play any music in the sun so we drove to Balboa park in central San Diego to scope the place out. It was getting late in the day so all the tourists were leaving. We meandered everywhere. There are a lot of museums in this park! We ever so slowly meandered into a parking lot and into a space right on the end... and found ourselves at a huge none fenced, no leash dog park. Was that fortuitous or what? I created some music, had interactions with people without knowing whether I was coming or going. I really needed to create some music... therapy for my head.
March 14, 2015
San Diego, California
The temperature was in the nineties today here in San Diego! I did not create any music and need to deal with the piano keys that broke... do not want to deal. My computer cable went kaput to day, ha it has been a string of glitches. I don't want to get a new computer and the one I use is quickly becoming a dinosaur. Finding parts are not easy just like with the Traveling Piano truck. I'm totally food and exercise conscious. After sleeping only four hours last night, I feel totally awake. Whats up with that? While walking, I'm listening to Chinese language tapes. When I was in Torrey Pines on the coast a few weeks ago, someone took some video of me creating music on the cliff with hand-gliders floating around. I wish they got the footage when there were about twenty five of them floating all around but this is pretty fun as it is!
March 13, 2015
San Diego, California
I feel much better today but must be very careful. It was in the early afternoon once I got out of bed. It would have been earlier but my sleep is mostly in a semi conscious state with all the city noises. The temperature was in the high eighties, so beautiful. I laid out on a back porch with a luscious breeze on a zero gravity recliner chair my favorite. There were clear skies and they are sunny. My friends Will and Steve have been really great friends, no pressure, very welcoming... I think a lot of my sense of well being is from having had this place to return to without trepidation. My stress usually comes from the initial move forward into a new place and a different sleeping situation every time. I processed music for this website today. Have you ever checked out this link? 3357 Individual Original Music Improvisations to Enjoy. Below is another video clip from Skid Row in Los Angeles a few days ago with people connecting.
March 12, 2015
Del Mar, California
I meandered more than ever before down the California coast today from Los Angeles to San Diego. It was either meander or play music and I choose meander. The port of Los angeles is where a lot of time was spent but that time was more lost verses meandering and not a very pretty area. I stopped in Long Beach where I found a fish place and purchased an Ahi Poke Burrito which was expensive and worth every penny. Its been a while since I hit on some quality food. Ahi Poke is made from raw marinated tuna Hawaiian style and it was seared, then mixed in a burrito with avocado, rice, beans, onions and a whole lotta other goodies. This morning I could feel trouble coming on physically but I tried to ignore it. While driving through Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, San Clemente, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Solana Beach, I was thinking how it all looked the same. Ocean, some beach and then as many buildings and houses crammed together as possible. There was not very much open space except for miles non accessible military ground and a now closed nuclear power plant all a waste of nature that people could be enjoying. Once I reached Del Mar it was just about sunset. I really wanted to create some music even though I knew my physical condition would get worse if I did. I found a random street that was perfect and could not resist. There were trains running below us less than a hundred yards away. Ha, the first one that went by was a huge surprise as there was very little peripheral vision to be had in the space where we were.
I began to create very simple music with the sun setting and then neighbors began to appear. We were all "off to the races." Especially, there was one piano man who wanted to sing his heart out while playing. He was having so much fun, I just let him take the seat. A few of the neighbors got onto the truck for a picture. When leaving someone said "thank you for stopping on our street." That made me feel very good. Once it began to get dark pain started to settle in big-time and along with an intense feeling of angst and some depression, my clarity began to slip away. I had to get going. The door opened on the passenger side and the camera fell out hard onto the street along with my wallet. I heard breaking glass and my heart sank. Stuff like this happens when I lose my clarity. Just the other day I lost another piano rug because I forgot to take it off before getting on the highway. Another sixty bucks after just a couple months. Also, three piano keys have busted, ugh... I can't even deal with that yet and then my twelve hundred dollar camera that was just replaced after the last one was stolen in July. Luckily, it was just the protective lens cover and it still is taking basic pictures so far... So, I can't figure out this condition that swells over me, wether its subconscious stress, food, what. All I can do is take some meds and hopefully sleep it off. While on the road after fifteen minutes I thought, did you get the wallet from the ground? Luckily I found it and everything was still in it because I was not thinking about it at all when it fell out. It was pure luck I picked it up and threw it on the front passengers side floor. In any case, I'm really glad I stopped in Del Mar today!
March 11, 2015
Point Vicente, Rancho Palos Verdes California
It was cloudy all day. At first I was going to do nothing but after I was up for a few hours, decided to take a drive south to see some of the coast before leaving the area tomorrow. That was a treat especially without the sun, because it always sunny here in California! Lol... what a complaint. Natures colors and shades are very different for pictures when it is cloudy. Mo and I had a very relaxing time with a little hike along the edge of beautiful california bluffs. It was a major treat. Then I lost all healthy psych and purchased a major pizza with potato chips and a carrot cake. Once I got back to my motel room I gave two thirds of the cake to the night desk crew. guilt...guilt... guilt.
As I drove into neighborhoods of homes worth over six million each; well it is time to move on and out of skid row in my mind for awhile. My anger I've been realizing is too egocentric and the more I keep that reality, the better I can disassociate from world issues I will not affect. What I do with the Traveling Piano is enough. Every single person I've interacted with this week, they were full of total joy for me. (with the exception of one cop) Every person who has every found their way onto the Traveling Piano seat would have been labeled an "opportunist" a "show off" by the core family I grew up with. My personal curiosities, interests and desires to be part of anything outside of the "inner circle of trust" were suppressed as much as possible. I was bred to live in a very small world. Thank God for every single person who has ever "played" on the Traveling Piano. I feel part of a very big world as a result. The bigger the better for me, (always speaking as in "part of") that is what I have always wanted for my life.
March 10, 2015
Skid Row, Downtown Los Angeles, California
Two days ago was to be my last day for skid row... or so I told myself. Nope, it was not true as I ended up driving down there one more time today. The tension was a little more than usual and someone told me that usually happens on tuesdays and thursdays because... there is an elite gang inside the LASD. Its an undercover police clique/gang. They are called the "jump out boys" and do skid row sweeps usually on tuesdays and thursdays. The group embraces shootings as a badge of honor. They are aggressive deputies who gain respect for each other by being involved in heavy handed trouble and have been a problem for the Los Angeles Sheriff's department since the 1980's. The guy on the street was pointing their cars out to me. He was in prison for thirty three of his forty nine years so far and has been out for eighteen months. He comes down to skid row to support people. We talked for a long time and he was a fascinating guy. There were two woman with major mental problems who finally found the courage to get onto the piano today after having seen us on and off the streets for a week. While the first woman was playing music a guy was sitting on the sidewalk nearby throwing up. I think he was washing his hair with it afterwards. The second woman just banged away for like fifteen minutes. It was not so easy to get her off, the guy I was talking with helped. She would have been content to sit there and create her music for a week or so. Mo had a skid row dog on the truck with him for the seconf time today. Some people make me think, "man, how did you get here" but for them to answer would take a long time. My clothes smell like piss every time I leave. There are all types of people here on skid row, all unique individuals all different skills and resources from which they operate. I respect them all but am glad I don't have to live with them. I was told that people get stuck here on skid row and cannot get out. It can happen from being here only two days and usually two weeks. I understand that completely. There is an energy that sucks you in if you allow it. The place is full of stimulation on every level and human spirit is very raw or maybe the word is pure. I've done my time here, glad I did it and now need to climb out and get into another space for my head to be. What that space will look like I do not know.
March 09, 2015
I slept into the afternoon today. At nine in the morning doors began banging throughout the motel as housekeeping went crazy cleaning rooms. Once they stopped I fell into a deep sleep. That was good! Then while taking a shower the shower head began shrieking like a smoke alarm going off from the pressure. I just dealt with it to finish my shower. My ear is still numb. Its the end of the day and I still can't hear. Lol... I got Mo to a dog park and walked around some while I resisted taking the piano cover off the truck. If I had taken it off musical interactions would have happened for sure. I was trying to take a break. We ended up in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County for the sunset and it was so difficult to simply enjoy the sunset without music. It was almost not worth the frustration. Never the less, it was a beautiful sunset. Then I treated myself to a huge selection of salads from a specialty store which I enjoyed and am glad I did not know what the ingredients were. I knew fish was in one of the selections although I have no idea what type... which feels safer.
Even in these more upscale neighborhoods of California there are homeless people. They must hide better than in downtown because they are harassed more by police and people putting pressure on police to do the dirty work of chasing them into a gutter somewhere. If someone without a home has a vehicle, they sit in them after dark in for example a supermarket parking lot while taking chances when it feels safe enough to ask someone getting into or out of their car, for help. Young kids hide in wall crevices of buildings and timidly ask for help as people walk by. How do I know this? Its happening to me and I always give something. When I was young I used to give freely and then I stopped because my thinking became influenced by the rationalizations of others that I was not being helpful. Now I am back on the right track of my original intent after being swayed for so many years into other people's thinking. When I can, I do. When a person gives with one hundred percent good intent there is no way that giving can be harmful. Only good can and does come from it.
March 08, 2015
Skid Row Downtown Los Angeles, California
In the beginning I was looking for a different homeless area to take the Traveling Piano today but found myself back on Skid Row once again. It is what I really wanted. Once I began hanging out with people I've met over and over through the last few days... I realized my original goal; to establish some small relationships. This was great. I was told about Father Maurice Chase who everyone called Father Dollar Bill who passed in 2011. He used to come down to skid row and give out one dollar bills on Sundays and then on Thanksgiving and Christmas with no sermons until he was ninety two years old. People would line up all the way into downtown. It wasn't about the dollar bill, it was about the love and they still remember him. The priest was funded by estates of passed movie stars. He became a "society" priest to pass off for the "in" crowd. People without homes were coming up to me and offering me what they had, "do you want a beer, do you smoke, let me get you some food, here take this". (as in money) One week after the LAPD murder... surprise, surprise no one cares, the media has forgotten because the issue was not black/white, christian/muslim. It is because the victim was homeless. Few people care about or respect those without a home living on the streets, in alleys and parks everywhere. What is their worth? To many they do not want to think about it. The homeless are just scum, "ugh we must see them and work to ignore them, they bother us, scare us".
This kind of thinking comes from a lack of empathy. I encourage everyone to think about seeing worthiness in people without homes as human beings. Nurture empathy for your neighbors. Every time you see a homeless person think... all human spirit is worthy to be alive. Because... that is the truth. Later on in the day the police shot and murdered another person in Anaheim, CA. It was a woman running away from them with knives on her. This happens all the time. I saw an article from online a few years ago that reported how the LAPD kills about one person a day here. Can you imagine how much that has gone up from about four years ago? If you think this intimidating, repressive, violent police behavior is not going to spread into your safe little neighborhood, think again. Open your eyes and ears and talk about it to others out loud and in front of police if possible. People were playing the piano and singing. The walls built up from lack of trust began to fall apart and people were opening up with spirit, truth and their fears. One woman recited a long reading she says over and over all day long memorized... to help keep her sane. I created music to it as she recited and she began to cry. I pulled up behind a white van that a bunch of guys had jumped out of with tables and huge vats of food to serve. It was absolutely delicious Indian food that a bunch of Sikh, Indians were sharing to enjoy what it feels like to give without agenda and on a consistent basis. Tomorrow, I am going to chill, it is needed. Of course it will not be a total chill, I still have some work to do... ha.
March 07, 2015
Downtown Los Angeles, California
The temperature was in the eighties today. While driving in freeway traffic to get into downtown I was actually thankful for the heavy traffic. Normally, it is what I most cannot stand about being in urban areas. Now with everything slow I can keep my wits about me better. People can't get up my ass for me being too slow for them. Ha! My experiences went up a notch today. I had repeated interactions with people from past days and that felt perfect! As I was driving by one lady came out from under her tent while cleaning her area and said, "stop, I want another music lesson." We did that. A musician from the other day found me and I did not recognize him at first. Another guy told me several times how music saved his life. Several people were getting music lyrics from the air (internet) so when playing the piano everyone else could sing along while others played. Did you know that you can get a free cell phone if you are on medicaid or something? They were giving them out to people without phones on the street. A cynical thought... get everyone connected so you can track them better. There was a lot of musical jammin' and moving around and singing. I basically let anyone and everyone have the piano by stepping back and just letting it all happen. I stayed out of the way. I met another guy who has been living on the street with everyone else for four years. It is out of choice in order to be of service to others living on the streets. I know there are many people in this world who will disbelieve that because I once, was one of them. That man's life is a great testimony as to what is worthwhile for some people. Someone else began discussing ownership of land and space in this world and he associated his interpretation from the bible as to when all the trouble began with Adam and Eve. It was about ownership not sex. That was very interesting to me. I've been meeting a lot of spiritual people living spiritual lives on the streets who have not been indoctrinated with religion, they just "know" naturally what is.
A couple of Japanese tourists jumped onto the piano for a picture. I played for a row of people sitting in their living room couches and chairs... on the sidewalk. We all enjoyed that. There were good cops, and one bad cop today. I was harassed again... now for the fourth time in California. This is in one month's time. If it becomes five, it will be more than all twenty eight years put together. I have driven the truck with both Bo and Mo on top maybe more than a thousand times throughout the years. And of course hundreds of times we have been with a police presence. Maybe one time ever before... it was problem for a police officer. I could feel from the other day they were just waiting to get to me. They are so attuned to nothing but trouble that they create it with attacks on little things that are built into big things. I'm fairly certain that they do not even know they are doing it. It is unconsciously built into the nature of the animal from the police chief down. Today while driving around a musician I met the other day at about two miles an hour on empty streets by the curbs... an officer pulled up next to me and said, "You need to get that dog off the piano." I said "ok" and looked for a shady spot down the street to stop and play on. I found a spot one half block down. I knew in that moment I was "dead meat" because now they had started something. They verbally stated a dissatisfaction. Once that starts, everything becomes like living in a war zone with possible bombs that can drop anywhere at anytime. The need to constantly look over your shoulders, keep an awareness of not making the slightest mistake, stay out of harms way, what a pain in the butt. When they want you to know they are watching you it is a sure sign they are looking for trouble. Like I did not know from the start they were watching me closely? After I was done playing in the shady spot. I drove into another stationary spot. A police vehicle parked across the street and two policeman came walking over. They started handing out flyers all around me for a place where everyone could go to resolve outstanding tickets and warrants. Right then and there I knew something was off. The guys around me were snickering... "Yea, right... people are going to go to their offices and give themselves up... what a joke." I mean really... do the police think there is any trust at all here? There is not. Do they think people are stupid? That would be ridiculous to think that especially with people who have street smarts from living on the streets for years.
I invited the officers onto the piano to play and the one who is in the police reserve did. He was really great and I was able to trust his motivation and agenda in being part of and having an experience as well as being an example for everyone around. Everyone around was floored I am sure, and lets just leave it at that. Both he and his partner took a picture with me. Then... the original cop pulled up in his squad car and came over to... I'm not sure what but... the bottom line was, he was pissed off that I did not stop immediately and take the dog off the piano. He was thinking that I was testing his authority by driving on a little further. I told him he was assuming that and he was wrong. I was in fact looking at the shade spot a short distance away, drove there and did as instructed apparently not fast enough for him. It was interesting that he did not question it until a half hour later while in this group of homeless people with the other two cops present. Then I thought, "oh great now they are pegging me with two things. One that I had a dog on top of the truck (to them its called dog endangerment) and two, I did not respond quick enough. (resisting authority). We went into a somewhat terse conversation about assumptions, pre-empting trouble, positive perceptions and balance. He was as defensive as I the entire time. Consistently before I responded each time, I kept checking in with him by constantly asking, "are we ok to keep talking, are we all right here, is it ok to keep saying my thoughts? It was. My mouth was so dry from fear that I could barley talk. Ha, my favorite moment was when he tried to throw at me what they say about the word assume. I beat him to the punch with... "yes, I know what they say, when you assume you make an ass out of you and me. Ass-u-me. I told him I am more afraid of the police than everyone on the streets with all the danger around. He asked where the fear comes from, is there anything in the past I have done... blah, blah, blah... I cut him off and said. I was raised to be fearful of authority. He said that kind of upbringing is wrong and I replied "it is what it is" right or wrong and if you don't want me to be afraid of you... that will take some negotiation on your part to come down to my level because this is a "we" world, it is not about me taking all the responsibility in relationship with you. If you want my trust you need to show me some to find. Lastly, I said that balance is the key. I threw out my thoughts about the police motto of "protect and serve" and that it should be "serve and protect." I do not believe that police should be out looking for trouble. There must be a balance. We all must question from inside whether something is trouble or not and then leave some room for a positive assumption... if one must assume. After that I slipped out of it all because I know what he wanted. I said I'm sorry I did not act fast enough and I will not drive any more with the dog on the top of the truck. He liked that and then I got back on the truck to play some more music and they finally left.
When there is a feeling of need to do so... the questioning of people who have been deemed authority figures is one of the top five necessities in order to live a happy fulfilling life. People who assume authority or are handed authority over you, as a person they are no better than you. They are not always right, they make mistakes and this goes for every human being. Never listen to anyone that is wrong simply because you are afraid. And lastly, more people came up to me today, individually and not following or seeing anyone else do it, all homeless... to give me money. More people today contributed money individually than any other day I can ever remember. It did not amount to much worth financially, but with what is most important in life for me emotionally, it was worth life itself and it showed me... who loves me baby! It was a validation that I am hanging out with the right people for me... these days.
March 06, 2015
Redondo Beach, California
My sleep was much better last night. God, I hope I don't get too comfortable where I'm staying. Its really feeling nice right now and I must accept sometimes it is good and sometimes it is not so good. I did some picture work in my motel room recliner chair next to open windows on the top floor, its quiet, its nice and comfortable. After mid-afternoon I took a leisurely drive to check out the beaches in the area for sunset. I found a beach that was public but still had a guard (teenage kid) at the entrance asking what I was there for, and for how long. That did make me feel good. I said, "I'm here to check out the beach and I don't know for how long." He said no dogs are allowed on the beach. I wanted to say, "my dogs not on the beach, he's in my truck" but I just said, we're not going to be on the beach. Must I be accountable for... and have a scheduled time to enjoy some nature? Someone said, "thats just his job." Well, that does not make it ok. No, it does not. Then as I drove to the end of the parking lot and was about to turn and leave, a guy from inside a van caught my attention with interest and then it all started. We had fun he and his friends and their dogs on top of the piano with Mo. Another guy was doing yoga on a grassy plot and I didn't want to disturb his practice but in no time he was off the mat and onto the piano seat. A woman sat for a while and when she left she said, "thank you for being here I wish you were here everyday." That felt really nice to hear from her. Another couple came buy who wants their son to put his piano on a truck and take it on the road. I created music until after sunset tempting myself with how quiet and still and minimal I could be with the musical sounds without letting go of the energy into total complete silence. Below is a post from yesterday of that guy singing who made me cry.
March 05, 2015
Downtown Los Angeles, California
What a day today was! I don't care how much I write here and I hope I remember it all. I was in the crummiest motel last night. My ass stuck to the toilet seat. What does that tell you? I think it was from all the disinfectant spray because my eyes were burning from it, my nose clogged up. I turned on the air conditioner with the hope that the units stale air would help the rooms smell. I had booked seven nights thinking it would be ok. I told them I did not want room service. The "rule" was I had to accept room service every two days in order to book. I was like... rule? Who is providing hospitality here. When I checked the room out it seemed quiet. It was quiet because my ears had become accustomed to the highway noise from the three hour drive in so it seemed normally quiet. Trying to sleep with the highway noise at night, well it did not happen. I woke up feeling greasy after only a few hours rest. I called my friends Will and Steve and asked if I could drive back to their place in San Diego if needed. They said of course and that felt very empowering. Then my friend Becky sent me an email saying I am here, I should stay. She sent a list of dog friendly places in Torrance, a city less than an hour away. I booked a room at an extend stay place for the first time ever. Becky is helping me with the costs. Because of my friends, I felt secure enough to continue. Seeing I was in the area, I felt pushed forward to go back to yesterdays spot. At first I was a little concerned because I was really tired from the start and I knew I needed full clarity to deal with any dangerous situation that might arise. On the other hand I knew my energy would kick in once I got going with interactions and god would give me the clarity I needed as long as I stayed conscious with it at all times. Nothing bad happened except maybe that more than half of the pictures and movies I took, I really didn't take. I was so tired and more focused on being real and in the moment with everyone I wasn't being careful about the picture taking so I was thought I was clicking when I was really doing nothing but looking into the view finder for seconds at a time. Lol...
I had all my luggage type stuff in the back of the truck and was thinking that when I played music I could just throw it all into the cab but that would not be good if something happened and I needed a quick get away. I stopped at a few missions along skid row and asked if they would hold the bags for me to keep them secure for a few hours. They were all, "not a chance." Then I stumbled across Volunteers for America and without hesitation the guy said, "sure no problem." I told him I really appreciated his going with the flow, his flexibility in order to help me out. He said, "I love my job." We met a homeless vet first thing and you would never think he was homeless just like people cannot grasp the fact that I also am homeless. Sharp and clean as a pin this guy was. Mo and I hit the streets. It was a warm day, the sidewalks were packed with people living on them. There was no street parking and signs everywhere said no stopping but vehicles were stopping all the time to drop off food and other stuff. I found a tree for shade and parked under it figuring I would be told to move eventually, maybe right away. Whats one more notch into the system of checking out my credentials by police. It happened here in California three times last month more than any other time in the last twenty eight years! I wish you could have been there with me today to see the fun that happened with different people. Some cried, one woman when she was playing and I went to take her picture, wanted to please me with a snatch shot by lifting up her dress. As I laughed I told her, "No, just play and be happy like you are." It was disgustingly funny. Another homeless women came up and gave me a few bucks. There were a few boom boxes going against a wall and I thought they might have turned them on to drown me out. I went up to the guys who owned them and asked if they wanted me to leave. They said, "Oh no, keep going." I thought my music must be just more noise and clutter with theirs. I was wrong. It stood out on its own. A guy with a fancy hat and jacket came up to play and he began some amazing gospel music and singing. It took a few minutes for his musicality to set in but once he got going... for the first time ever... and in public... I began to bawl my eyes out. I could not help myself. No one has ever made me cry like that. His spirit touched me with his singing, not in a sorrowful or pathetic way, it was just so true... his music was the total truth and as alive as can be. It was amazing. My music has done that to many people but nothing like that has ever happened to me before today.
His friend showed me that I was directly across the street from where the LAPD shot and killed a man who called himself Africa a few days ago. I thought wow, I ended up right here at the spot not knowing! He suggested I go over there with the music. I had noticed that everyone seemed to be staying away from the spot. As I began to move the truck across the street everyone thought I was leaving and there was a collective gasp. How cool is that? So we parked on the other side of the street and I began creating music in the very spot of the video that played around the world, exactly where he was murdered. The fancy hat guy came back to play some more music. He was originally from Memphis and has been living on the street here since the nineteen eighties.Their are as many reasons for people living on the street as their are people. He choose his life style as i have chosen mine. His like mine is directly spiritually not by what others think should be. There is a whole street business community going on skid row. He runs a bed and breakfast and rents tents out for people to use. Ten bucks a tent, twelve to use it to sleep in his spot and he actually cooks breakfast for his guests, three bucks. He makes good money, everyone knows him and he said there is an entire market of international tourists who want to experience the flavor and feel of living on the street with everyone else. Is that fucking amazing or what??? He was a totally charismatic guy living through Jesus, creating his life through him. The proof is in the pudding as they say. He is living well on the sidewalk. Eventually I think the street people will all be swept off the streets here by society in one way or another just like Times Square in New York became transformed into a joke... a commercial, boring, uninteresting, sterile tourist environment somewhat like a disneyland but... I believe these people will prevail and find a way to survive the way they choose, "where" they choose and how they choose because... owning land or a piece of this earth is an illusion. No one can own this earth we are living on. That idea is in reality, ridiculous. The police drove several times down the middle of the street and I am so thankful they let us stay in our spot. A riot may have begun if I was told to move on because everyone was enjoying the Traveling Piano there. A police vehicle did pull up and park directly in front of me and I thought it was the end. The hat guy, as he was playing the piano said, "that police vehicle is ok, that's a good one, she's here for the school kids." Then the police car pulled up a couple spaces and sat for a while and then it drove off. The guy said, "See"?
I feel totally grateful that I was able to do that... create Traveling Piano Fun, Friendship and Respect specifically in that spot. Never in a million years would I have ever thought that would happen. The area filled up with people the entire time we were there. I did not even notice that there were no television crews around like yesterday. None of today would have happened if they were there. In rush hour traffic I drove to Torrance and once I reached my destination, the front desk said there was only one dog friendly room and it was on the first floor. I said, no way... I just drove an hour, the room was specifically booked this morning and I do not want people pounding next to or above my room with their feet. I want my third floor booking in the back of the building with windows that open and carpet on the floor, no if's and's or but's. I got what I wanted and it feels mighty good. It is like a small studio apartment with a sizable fridge, sink, oven, soft leather chair, nice tables, full size bed, but there is no kitchen utensils or bowls or anything. Thats ok, I got myself a case on ensure to drink. I must lose weight so I can continue with this journey which brings up one more memory from today. As I was leaving the downtown area I coincidentally met with the hat guys friend who suggested I cross the street to the spot commemorating Africa's life. Somehow I got to telling him how I almost died over a month ago and it feels like I will soon die for real. He laid his hands on me and told me that he, like his friend (the hat guy) is a prophet and there is no way I'm going to die soon. Damm, I think I believe him. One more thing... ha, my sunglasses broke today and I really need to use sunglasses. There happens to be a mall a few minutes from where I am staying. I went to sunglass hut. What the... when that place first opened in the seventies, glasses where like eight bucks. Now the lowest price is a hundred twenty. The guy said they are designer sunglasses and people pay the money for them. People... stop that, it is ridiculous! Ha, so I went into another store and found a pair and directly under them was a hat for sale. It is the hat I now wear. It is past the point of being ratty cool. Its been dead for about a half year. I've been looking over a year for its replacement online as well as everywhere else! How cool is it that whenever I need to replace something, I can do it. I'm trying to do that with less worry about the spending part. One, one... more thing. I drove out of downtown LA through another part of downtown that I did not know existed. It blew me away. I've always thought of LA with one story buildings and a few fancy skyscrapers. The part of downtown LA that I drove through today looked almost exactly like New York city with tall buildings lining the streets like canyons, some old style architecture and store bottoms throughout it all with...places to park. I'm definitely going to have to check that area out again not just to walk around but to play some music in!
March 04, 2015
Downtown Los Angeles, California
Twenty Eight years ago when I first put the Piano in the Truck I thought... "Wouldn't it be cool to take this coast to coast"... specifically to Los Angeles California from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Back in the beginning when I performed for a career, I never had to travel overnight. I was booked full time for all twenty years within a few hours from my house. I think there were less than five overnight somewhere gigs in all that time. During the last 10 years, I got real close to LA three times. Today, the Traveling Piano made it into Downtown Lost Angeles! The time is right. This is clear. I am very happy to have this dream come true. In November I said I was going to head here to be with people on Skid Row through the holidays. It did not happen. I found my way to San Diego a month ago and something was holding me back. Now, three days after the murder of a homeless person by the LAPD... perfect timing. There are 1000's of people living on the streets here day and night. I am going to enjoy as many of these people as possible for a full week! With the intense anger over what happened... well, anger is a tool I use often for motivation into my actions and let me tell you... I'm going to give strong love born from horrific anger... and share that love with everyone. It is also called sharing empathy. As soon as I got off the expressway I was driving to the 500 block of South San Pedro Street and saw a bunch of people on a side street so I stopped to see what was going on and play music for the 1st time!
Wow, it was such a nice feeling. There were about a hundred kids there. I'm not sure why, I think it was for interviews for a new restaurant opening. A few people took pictures for me. They welcomed us to LA. A girl gave me her kale, avocado, apple salad that was glutton free. Lol, it was actually delicious and totally filling. After that I drove up a ramp to a roof top parking lot and created some music just for me, myself and I with the Los Angeles skyscraper skyline in front of me through some buildings. Right before that I met a security guard from Mexico who had done two tours of Vietnam in the military and he wanted to show me how he could play the piano. While alone on the roof top a guy came along and I asked him to take some pictures. We were talking and he said his family owned all the buildings around there. While he was leaving he told me to be careful. He had come up there to do his drugs, it was a spot where that happens. People do not realize that when I am doing what I do, my awareness level is very acute. I have twenty eight years of experience watching everything happening all around me when I'm doing my thing. Part of my talent is not showing that. I've messed up less than a handful of times in almost thirty years. One was when my camera was stolen in July. When playing on skid row, there is so much to say about that. I love people opening up and telling me their stories. The first woman who played began to talk about health care and how relieved she felt to be able to get some.
At first I was cautious about people asleep under tarps everywhere, I did not want to stir trouble or chaos. Slowly, one by one people came out and interacted. Some were severely mentally ill so I was severely mentally careful with them. I'm good with people like this because I truly love them and they may be mentally ill but there not stupid. They can smell what is real and what is not. Just like the drug addict on the rooftop a half hour earlier. One guy was playing and then thanked me but he had to go get his crack. Another older guy was really hurting from someone who beat him up last night. Some people played piano really good! A young nineteen year old kid told me how he lost most of his family (as in they died) and he now lives with his aunt and uncle. A couple people needed hugs. I avoided the block where the guy named Africa was killed because all the television crews were still there. Eventually, one found me but as before in San Diego I was with someone and not able to stop what I was doing to talk with them. On another drive around I told them to contact me through this website. Lol, I realized that I won't have to decided whether or not to give any television interviews or media reports if the producers come to this website. Hopefully they will run away when they read how upfront I am about everything.
March 03, 2015
San Diego, California
I think I had sort of a breakdown in my sleep. I woke up obsessing about Los Angeles and the murder there. Fearful of police probably from my small encounter yesterday, enraged over the injustice and lack of respect for human spirit from people in the world and wondering if everything negative I am feeling is a distraction manifestation for some reason or... whether my caring is all about ego, thinking about all that at one time is exausting! There is also a fear factor stemming from actually reaching the goal of getting to LA after all these years which I have written about many times. I felt totally physically weak from the small exercise I did yesterday in cleaning the truck out and also bagging, freezing food I had made for everyone here where I am staying last night. And then there was the emotional drain (huge) of getting everything together both physically as well as in my head to leave once again and get on the road, the place to stay with Mo, the trucks vulnerability, food issues, uncertainty, physical capability, clarity of mind to pull off even one day... blah, blah, blah. Thank God my friends are willing to go to go with the flow concerning me. They have put up with expecting me to leave and then my changing my mind at the last minute. I know they can use a break from my being here. I have been in their space for like a month now. Up after four hours sleep, I knew I was just going to lay there ruminating thoughts in my brain so I did what helps most in times like that. I write. Then I slept until three in the afternoon. Here is what I wrote:
I am angry. This is an attempt to express my feelings in order to let go of them so they do not interfere with my work for the next week. Its a long read. I'm posting it here mostly for myself but I also want my voice to be heard... The police in this country are becoming militarized. Anyone who does not see this is foolishly in denial or out of touch with reality. I am not anti police. As with terrorists I consistently point to the failings of individuals, not groups. There is no justification for taking someone's life. A man who called himself Africa in Los Angeles was unarmed and involved in a disturbance. What has been witnessed is four police officers working together lacking in the skill or ability to be responsible. They could not diffuse a dangerous situation without murder. They were irresponsible with their job. They used a heavy-handed, violent tactic and must be held accountable for that. In not doing so we must considered that a police state has begun as incidients are happening more frquently and consistently. In San Diego the police motto written on the vehicles is to "protect and serve." No... a police officers job should be to "serve and protect." There is a difference in priority concerning the arrangement of those words. A military mentality is now being used under the guise of protection. Force and intimidation is increasingly becoming the priority above everything else. Citizens are rationalizing the acceptance of this insanity because they are afraid of the truth. These policeman together acted as one and without the character or the sense of mind needed to do the right thing. Will they be held accountable as citizens as you would be held accountable? No, because now on a national level they are now above the law. Throughout history there has always been pockets of police corruption in places. It is now becoming a nations acceptance. How many times does this need to happen before people begin to see it.
Three different policeman, not one... put bullet holes into a man at close range while almost on top of him. That happens from a trained mentality in solidarity for themselves (military mentality) and not for those they serve. As well, there was mutual frustration built up over this man who had not shown the respect they demanded from him in the past. He was black but most importantly his worth was as little as the scum of the earth in the sewer of Los Angeles through the eyes of most people. The officers lacked objectivity and professionalism. How do I know all this? I live it and have observed it throughout the country for the last ten years in my travels. I have been the recipient of police brutality simply because of the uniqueness of my work, many times. Aside from a lack of empathy, this was a reprehensible act by individual police whose job it is to serve and protect. The man had tried to run away and into his tent for fear of his life. It was the anger of those policeman dragging him out of his tent that created his murder. Let us not kid ourselves. The pursuing investigations will be used in order to word a rationalization and justify the police stance for everyone except the homeless... because the lives of the homeless people in this country do not have enough worth to care about in societies eyes. For anyone who has a problem with the homeless... go live the life of that spirt now gone from bullets in his body, do it for a week... get some empathy. America is imploding because of neighbors who do not care about each other and are afraid of each other. It is not because of any family breakdown alone. The police are helping to create the fear. Change that!
This awful situation will be spun in the media to protect the status quo unless you stand up for respect. Let us not allow this dysfunctional disrespect for human rights prevail as was accomplished with the recent Tamir Rice ruling where a 12 year old child in Cleveland, Ohio... who was murdered by police... it was concluded that Tamir deserved to die and that he caused his own death by failing to avoid injury. What the fuck! We are talking about a child taking responsibility for not having police kill him! Do you want this to become the acceptable norm for the United States as it now is in other countries around the world that we accuse of human right abuse?
Now, I'll get this up to the blog early today so I can just relax and be more prepared to leave mentally, physically and spiritually for tomorrow. Actually, I'll probably go back to sleep soon. I want to let go of all the angst so I can move on tomorrow with the Traveling Piano into LA... to show respect and solidarity for for human life and to create some friendship, validation for the worth of all individual human spirit... including and most importantly for people without homes.
March 02, 2015
San Diego, California
I'm fearful about my physical stamina in going to LA but my friend Will said, "why feel afraid, it either will happen or it won't." Tomorrow, I am going to LA to spend time on the 500 block of San Pedro Street where a man without a home was murdered yesterday and i'll be in that area for a few days. This needs to be done while I still can do it. I'll get a cheap motel and oh, how I am getting tired of them. I cannot find anyone to welcome us into their home. I sent out about 40 feelers. I am going to go with help or not, and keep the focus on myself and what I can and want to do for others. What other people do which will mostly be nothing well... there is nothing I can do about that which is why I need to make a mark in of itself, for myself, by myself. I want to create a feeling of trust and security in spirit with those who are there and now who are even more afraid than ever before. I am not afraid to do this because I can choose to love in these types of situations. I call it the grace of god or the universe. Fear creates fear. We all have it but love will always win over fear. It is real, it is stronger. It surpasses uncertainty. We all have love if we choose it. Fear comes more naturally for many reasons. Maybe I can keep that in mind when I become fearful of myself. Anyway, while cleaning the truck at the end of the block where I am staying, I was again harassed by the police. It was at a dead end street with no one around but they were out looking for trouble. Homeless people sleep in the area and they were doing a sweep. The response here in San Diego to what happened in LA is to create more intimidation and fear, keep the homeless walking until they drop dead.
Mo was hanging around me outside the truck and I told him to get inside right away. The police came after me anyway with a leash and ticket for parking threat (there were no parking restriction signs as there is nothing there) and I said as I have in the past, "why do you want to harass me, I am causing no harm to anything or anyone, there is absolutely no one around, the dogs not running around anywhere, I got him in the truck and there he is." Then they began to ask me what I was doing there. I wanted to say, What the fuck does it look like I am doing? But out of fear I said in a strong voice, I'm cleaning the dirt out of the back of my truck so it does not mess up the driveway where I am staying right over there! (as I pointed to the building a few hundred yards away. Then they milled around in fast pacing moves trying to decide whether they were going to harass me some more but decided to move on. When they returned from their sweep out of the corner of my eye I could see them pacing back and forth again, wanting to approach but not for any good reason, trying to find a way to stir trouble but I ignored them and they finally left. They were wanting for me to instigate them. This part of the journey sucks. I don't think I've written much about crap like this in the early years because I never let it get to me. I guess I'm getting worn down and also, I want the all the truths to be told now more than ever. My focus has been communicating total gratitude through the journey. Nothing has changed. Gratitude come in comfort as well as in discomfort.
March 01, 2015
San Diego, California
Most of the day was spent physically recuperating from yesterday. It is what it is, I do what I can and I'm not going to beat myself up (ha) concerning my physical limitations. After backing up computer files, I made a huge (very huge) fruit salad most of which will need to be put into Will and Steve's freezer. I sat with them as we went spent a few hours in complete useless banter which felt really good because... after hearing that police officers in the Los Angeles police department shot and killed a homeless man on the street today, the horror of that fact went to the core of my sprit. Of course there will be justification by the public in general. There is no justification and I will not accept any. The killing was wrong. Four cowardly police in a fit of fear, instinctual hate, whatever... . It must stop! It was bad! We must address this with outrage until the burnt out, military police mentality in this country changes! Whether or not we can be honest or conscious, we are ALL becoming more afraid of the police. That is why we must act now. Are you too afraid to call your local police department and tell them you cannot accept the police mentality in this country? If you are too afraid than you are part of the problem.