Raggin' Piano Boogie


HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010

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December 31, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

My accomplishments are truly my own to enjoy. I cannot depend on anyone else's satisfaction to fill me up with whatever I'm looking to be filled up with through accomplishments I create. So here ends eleven years of journey one day at a time. My New Years resolution/goal/plan at the beginning of the year was to find a home base to work from, secure housing. Well, I made it in time just two days ago. I was not thinking about the deadline all year as I was too involved in suffering through the process, lol. But it happened! Problem is, after eleven years of no security on the road I forget what the idea of secure housing feels like. Oh well... lets see what happens now! Once I got it together today from the start right out of the gate interactions began with a few residents of where I live and the manager working the complex. So much for keeping a low profile where I'm going to live. I just can't help it. Then I began to drive to the homeless area with food I prepared but it began to rain.It was not going to work. Darkness, rain, my night blindness, my wits not so with me and people were beginning to get very crazy and unpredictable.

I left the keys in the door to my apartment on the outside for over four hours today. I'm not used to thinking about keys for an apartment and the space I am in is so small I have not acclimated myself to having anything in it and moving around. I ended up gorging myself with the food. It was fun but then I fell to sleep from total exhaustion, emotional exhaustion. About two hours before midnight I took a walk with Mo on the strip. It was very temping to bring the truck back out but spritzes of rain were like signs saying don't do it and... wow, I forgot how darkness, party and drinking does not work with the Traveling Piano. Back when I performed on nights like tonight I had to be very, very careful because people are not thinking normal. They are thinking party! At midnight I watched fireworks go off from the top of the motel across the street. They were nice, not very eventful and I was so glad I was not out there with the Traveling Piano playing for myself because where I am staying there were no people. I was told the street would be packed, not. Happy New Year! Life can be amazing. I need to keep saying it. I am living on the strip in Las Vegas.

December 30, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

I'm in a daze, not thinking too straight. At least I'm able to think, eh? Sleep was weird. I took a picture of what it looks like outside from my doorway. There will be better ones I just couldn't wait to share. The good parts about this place are great. The bad parts, a pain in the ass. Its a great pain, lol! I was driving around getting my bearings and passed casino advertising that if you cash your paycheck there, they will give you two times the rewards to bet on up to 500 bucks. Whats that tell you? It tells you how much people lose because they are not going to chance losing 500 bucks I can tell you that! Also while driving I saw that used car dealers no longer exist. They are now called pre-owned outlets not even using the word auto in them. I was scooping out some areas to play tomorrow. I purchased some food to celebrate with and will take it with me to share with people from the truck, people down on their luck. I'm a little beside myself with a feeling of personal accomplishment, excited that tomorrow will make thirty years of working full time with a piano in the back of the same truck.

December 29, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

Did this really happen? Do I have my own place? Its going to take awhile to sink in. Four walls a small sink, counter and hotplate stove, bathroom, four cement brick walls and a floor. Its a very different feeling. I wonder if I am going to be able to do this. There is nothing. I went to a rug store to get some free used carpet padding as I thought it might help with sleeping on the floor on my sleeping bag. I made a bed six inches thick. It didn't help. When I opened the door I thought, "I keep sizing down and down, I'm almost to coffin size living quarters. I must subconsciously be getting ready to spend entirety in a very small coffin! So the minuses... its very noisy. I'm wondering, where are the friggin trains riding through the center of the Las Vegas strip. Cars, people, banging of doors, gates, tourist helicopters six at a time, constant emergency sirens, people screaming off the rides onto of the Stratosphere casino. The room is very hot for some reason, Its kind of dirty outside. Mo's exercise is a problem. He needs to run in nature, thats what he is used to. I have no furniture or resources of my own. The tub and sink doesn't drain. Getting in and out of the gate to park is a big pain in the ass. You know, there is not a lot that is bad. These are small things and some of it can be fixed.

Now for the good stuff. Its my own place, I can stay if I want, if I can afford. I'm not going to be told I must leave. (if I take a lease next month) The other tenants seem nice, are friendly and very diverse. There are homeless people lurking everywhere. Thats ok. I was thinking about taking someone without a home to lunch once a week or hiking or something. The room, I can stretch my hands up and not touch the ceiling. I like that. I'm living on the friggin' Las Vegas strip! How cool is that? I'm right in the center of a lot of stimulation. The area of the strip where I live, yes I just said I live on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada... is also in the up and coming arts district. Perfect. Everything is turning into micro housing. Never in a million years would I think I would be living that life style, or could. I once owned a big two story, four bedroom, two car garage, full basement corner lot in suburbia ten years ago. The truck is outside my room behind not only a closed gate but one that completely blocks any street view. The neighbors watch out for each other. They are friendly. The place is mine! A home after eleven years.

December 28, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

I'm in a daze, moving on once again tomorrow but its only to down the street to an apartment. I'm dealing with stuff I have not dealt with in over 40 years... renting an apartment even if only for one month. Credit reports are such a joke! My entire life... I have had a bad credit rating even though I never, ever paid a bill late in my life. Those reports never stopped me from getting several 100,000 dollars in credit cards, mortgages, car loans, etc... over the years. Now, having not worked in 11 years (this journey was paid through my savings) I got my credit checked today... 7.20 rating. I can get credit for anything I want, 8.50 is the highest rating you can get. This is the devil calling to me for sure!

Went to explore some Las Vegas Strip Wedding Chapels to learn about how they operate in order to create a possible promotion for one of them with the Traveling Piano. Almost 100% of all advertising is now internet driven. Google and other sites get paid up to $2500 per DAY from just one business for advertisement. With the many millions of businesses large and small in the world, it is unimaginable how much money a few people are making from advertising companies and from our personal data! If I begin to make money again I just cannot go chasing dollar bills. Its going to half to be worth my while. I'm wondering if I can just keep going as I have been while finding money. Contributions are not coming my way. Thank God for a few special friends and one in particiluar footing most of the bill for this joruney right now.

December 27, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

Yesterday was very difficult. I began to depress myself through my own music enough that I had to stop. Surely I was beginning to depress others around me, the homeless already depressed. Finally, today as I remember "all things pass" I found a place to stay, a possible catalyst for a new beginning. Its a room the size of a king sized mattress and that is it, no closet, a sink and toilet. Its clean and feels new. That is important. Its on the Las Vegas Strip in the up and coming Arts district. The truck will be safe inside locked gates. Its noisy but... its noisy, period. There's light, and a yapping dog next door that I may have to poison. Talk about starting from scratch! I'll be sleeping on the hard floor in my sleeping bag until I can get some padding or a mattress. A friend had helped me to get the place. Would appreciate some contribution for other basic necessities as the Traveling Piano continues. Feeling more like I once again have something to offer I drove to the homeless area. The police swept it of people telling them if they ever saw them again they would ticket and then send them to jail. So hundreds of people were huddled across the street along fences and walls. I did not care if I got into trouble or not and drove into the area, parked on the corner front and center and began create music.

I stood out and did not care. Everyone appreciated it and I could tell they understood the symbolism of my staking the territory with a sense of, a sign of respect. A few came over to visit. The shelters are pathetic with stories. Hundreds stand in line at night to get in for a bed and everyone must leave by six in the morning no matter how cold out it is. The vets get special treatment in the back. They can stay as long as they want. No basic needs respect for humanity with that place. They should not force people out into the cold veterans or not. Around the corner at a woman's shelter, the women, kids and all get thrown out a 5am. Now that is showing care, eh? Random private citizens are always out and about creating kind gestures to people on the street in personal ways and I hear about them all. There is an Asian lady that comes every Tuesday night out of the goodness of her heart to cook and feed people what I am told is amazing food. There can be a line a block long waiting a half hour before she arrives. She wasn't there tonight, damm! Its going to be time for me to create a schedule because now with a foundation (the room to rent) thanks to a very special friend, I must reboot my life although there is no way I'm going to stop the Traveling Piano. It will continue as long as possible but again I need your help whomever is reading this.

December 26, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

A week ago I walked to a motel to check out the weekly rates. There was a glass lobby looking eerily empty like everything was open for business but no one home to run it. In the parking area was a trashed vehicle with flat wheels. The rooms all had windows with dirty disheveled curtains. From one of the rooms came a steady loud constant banging on the glass window from inside out as though to say go away, go away. Lol, it was very twilight zone-ish. Through the week I looked and have never seen more than two vehicles parked inside the parking lot. I think its a money laundering place and stop off only for specific clientele. Went online and there are no reviews listed anywhere. Onward... I went to check out another place from Craigslist about fifteen miles out. The space was large and perfect. The pictures online looked great. My own bathroom, a backyard with grass but the person renting looked like she was living in a psych ward. Her father came in and they looked like the Adams family without the nice clothes. Both walked with canes. The place had beautiful furniture but everything was dark. She told me a couple and another guy live upstairs next to my bedroom but they were not home. I asked about security and she said they would never go into my room. Like I'm going to chance that knowing nothing about this place?

She was not big on giving information. It felt like she thought it was strange I wanted to know anything and when I asked if she wanted to know anything about me she said no. Yikes! Still, I was going to do it but as I was leaving Mo peed on a plant that was placed on the ground. He has never, ever peed in anyone's house and we have been in a lot of them. I think it was because he never came across a living plant on the ground in a house. Once that happened, the deal was off. I think he saved me, lol. I went back and laid in my motel bed really, really emotionally messed up about my situation. I know the people I found last week feeding the homeless expected me to return tonight so I forced myself. It was very, very difficult. My state of feeling needy and that no one cares enough to help along with confusion and doubting my capabilities to stand on my own two feet is at an all time high... since the beginning of this journey that is. My life will never go as low again as it has pre-journey. I'd rather die. Fortunately I do have a friend helping me. I would not be around if it were not for that fact. I interacted with a few people tonight, created some music until I depressed myself with it and just slithered away with the truck in the dark. Lol, this is so pathetic, I know.

I met an older couple living in weekly apartments nearby. They had come for some food after having just about had everything they had stolen. People stalked the apartment building, gained access to a general room pass and then when the time was right made the hit. So much for the cheap weekly rentals. I must be very careful. Anyway... I must find a place by Thursday and its not looking good. To commit myself to a year lease somewhere petrifies me. To pay for a tiny room somewhere and then need to go out and get stuff like a small fridge, mattress etc... the fear of spending money on those kinds of things... almost unbearable. Such a downer all this at Christmas time, eh? It is what it is. I can leave this blog writing today with an amazing fact. As difficult as it has been for me throughout this past year concerning survival and constantly having to move around... I have accomplished more journey, more fun, friendship and respect, more beautiful nature, more "life" both good and bad in this past year than in any other of the eleven years. That a major fact and says something, I just don't know what! Probably, that I'm living life to the fullest whether I want to or not because I made the decision to live my life to the fullest. Have you ever heard that saying, "Be careful for what you ask for, you might just get it?" Well, I have been getting it just not exactly the way I would want it 100%. I'll give it an 80% which is not too shabby.

December 25, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

It was a challenge to get up and out by twelve noon but it happened. I'm not getting much sleep with my living situation and what to do about it. My mind fluctuates constantly and I can't seem to keep directed with focus. It is because i don't want to go back to a conventional life but also don't have the resources to keep doing what I have been doing for the last eleven years. I felt a commitment to go and play today where all the homeless people live and hang out. Its Christmas! As I left the parking lot I passed the veterans place I found a few weeks ago. It also happens to be Sunday and they give food away today so I had to stop and wish everyone a Merry Christmas with some music. Then onward. The truck became problematic again. It must be something with the electrical system. Along with the grinding noise in the clutch, the clock would not show and the horn did not work. Who cares. Not me as I had my agenda set. So, I drove carefully. At the field where everyone was hanging out it was amazing how many people missed me yesterday. It made me feel a little guilty. People came up to me saying they were hoping I would be there and that everyone was talking about how I was not there and wondered where I was. It was not like I said I would be there to anyone. As I have only been to this spot a few times I didn't think I would have made such an impact. Damm!

So it was a lot of fun and there was a lot of crazy energy flying around. Now I know the reality of it all and I also am well aware that feelings are not always fact but... I felt incredibly needy the entire time. I mean pathetically needy to the point that I noticed everyone else was getting stuff that carloads of people were giving away and dumping off and I was not getting anything. Lol, really pathetic. By the time I got around to getting to some good food for myself it would always be gone. The clothes, I just couldn't deal with it. A caravan of cars pulled up with magnetic signs on the doors proclaiming service for Jesus and an army of people unloaded wearing uniform type tops for Jesus. A group was handing out cheese and lettuce and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I thought, "Really people, its Christmas you can do better than that." A girl came up and asked me if I wanted anything. I asked if she had any vegetables. She said she had some fruit and came back with two small slices of cantaloupe. Meanwhile a group of carny type people (traveling families with little money) pulled in and started to cook all kinds of meats while hanging around with people. They gave away huge slabs of ribs, sausage, turkey parts etc.. You know people got excited over that!

One of the homeless guys saw that I was not getting anything and brought over his container of food to me. People were enjoying my slower, easy music more than anything manic or upbeat. They were dancing around the truck, one guy was juggling balls and doing hand stands with an arm that literally had no hand. Another guy got killed on his moped while driving down the street and they closed off the streets for hours. There were a lot of emotions flying around both good and crazy. Today was a testament of how I can walk the walk, just do what needs to be done in-spite of my state of mind. I think it comes from my professionalism. As the Traveling Piano is my work that I love and enjoy more than anything else in the world (besides Mo) ...and I feel grateful to be able to do... my past life came to mind as to when I had to perform and work on the nights when my parents were dying. You just go through whatever your feeling and do what is needed anyway. So today I acted like a professional. It was not easy, I'm glad I could do it because I'm good at it and people appreciate it.

I lost my sense of neediness for many years as a result of this journey and now it has crept back into my life. I just want to hang out with a circle of steady friends where I have a home and some security. Being on the road for all these years has been great but not on days like Christmas. It is really wonderful to know that all my choices have been my own and for today I can simply work through the false feelings of being alone even around all the people I was with... and feel accomplished and grateful. Mo hung out on top of the piano the entire time. It drove him crazy because part of him felt safe up there from all the chaos and the other part was completely frustrating with all the food everywhere on the ground that people had dropped. He got some good stuff from his piano spot and also I gave him treats as soon as we got back to the motel room. When I got back I actually passed out for a few minutes from exhaustion. Maybe its a bit of depression too. Now I will go eat some of the ribs and sausage I felt so needy for, lol.

December 24, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

I am so lucky I have this motel room. Everywhere is booked for Christmas and I had locked in a cheap rate the night before the prices shot through the roof. Needless to say they don't want me here because of that which does affect my emotional stability but, having the place is most important, eh? I drove to another town to check out a room share with a guy. It was a trailer and no way can I share a trailer with anyone. The place was totally disheveled. The plan was to go spend Christmas Eve with people living on the street to create some music tonight. It is dark, cold and dank and I think it best to take care of myself first. If I was out and about I'd be up all night trying to come down from the energy and I would be no good for tomorrow. Chinese food and a movie in my room was the best way to go. Present Christmas is very different from my past. Most of it is gone but every year a little Christmas magic still manages to unexpectedly creep into my life. As we reached about 50 miles outside of Las Vegas today, in the distance I see amazing mountains and then I see a snow storm coming. After we drove through the snow, high up on a hill I see Santa on his Horse with a friend. They waved Merry Christmas to me so... I guess I'll pass that along and wish everyone who sees me... Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

Getting up after noon is so not good right now but it is what it is. I'm doing the best I can. After getting my head together we ventured out. I ran into the motel general manager who I think is avoiding telling me he is not interested in the pitch I gave for New Years Eve. The place is not going to give me a deal to stay longer so I'll need to leave because $300 a night is not going to work for me. I drove around looking at places and did find one, its a room converted from a motel that would fit a king size bed with no room to walk around so that tells you the size. And... there is nothing, no fridge, microwave, rug, nothing for $650. But its in the right area where I want to be and the truck would be safe. I'm just turing it all over to a higher power right now, walking the walk, trusting, accepting whatever will be and... doing the best I can. I ran into a mom with her kids taking care of an art gallery and we had some fun with the Traveling Piano. Mo and I headed down to the homeless area again even though it was getting late. Just as with homeless people where you cannot stereotype why they are in a particular situation as every story is unique... same goes for people who share with homeless people. Some just come and dump stuff off, some walk around and engage people as they make an offer of food or clothing or whatever, some spend time in relationship. People do it out of a feeling of obligation, to simply be helpful, because they relate and also just for the fun of it. Two different people came up to me today and said, "your having fun, your doing this because its fun for you, eh? They were correct. Right before I left an old guy engaged me in conversation.

He was babbling but also made a lot of sense. He talked about a dream of his to become a school teacher because he enjoys working with kids. He talked about why he can't deal with the homeless shelters and how he can't lay down to sleep because he's so afraid. Unless you have been homeless it is impossible to comprehend how afraid homeless people are to be out at night sleeping on the ground. I've never met anyone who was not afraid on a very real level. Anyway, the guy started talking about how he was craving fried chicken, beans in butter and salt. Ha, that got to me and I told him to wait while I went to get some. So in the freezing dark I left him waiting at a fire hydrant. There was a Kentucky Fried Chicken about two miles away. I found the place closed down when I got there. I tried a supermarket and they had none. Then, I went to start the car engine and there was a very strange loud grinding noise and oh, how I hoped it was another car near me. It wasn't. Then I could not put the clutch in to switch gears because the grinding was so bad each time I tried. I thought, now where am I going to get this fixed on Christmas Eve tomorrow and what will this mean for my sharing spirit on Christmas day. Could I get back to the motel? I thought about the ramifications of needing a tow or getting stuck in chaotic, weekend, Christmas traffic everywhere. Nothing bothered me as much as having to leave the guy stranded waiting for me, thinking I blew him off. And then as I pulled out onto the street I saw a Popeye's Chicken place. Screw the idea that the truck might not make it back to the motel or would break down right then and there or, I might make the situation worse while trying to drive it... there was the chicken place and thats what I was there for. As soon as I decided nothing was going to stop me from my mission, the noise stopped. The trouble stopped.

Lol, I just love that things like this have happened so many times throughout this journey. It was like a spiritual intervention, a small miracle, really. I thought there was no way by the time I got back the guy would still be waiting. He was there. Having been really hungry he was eating a hamburger someone gave him but it wasn't about the food, eh? Two other guys came over and the four of us sat and ate chicken with buns for about a half hour. This is really significant... while I was there several people came out of the dark to thank me for creating music earlier. When I was doing it I had no idea if it was having an affect. In reality on some level I know for a fact that my music has a huge affect on just about everyone. Usually I'm stopping and starting as people get on and off to play for themselves but today I played non stop for a long while, enough to create a meditative space for people who need a distraction or to hear more than just cars and buses passing by. I met a mom with her kids going from person to person passing out tamales. I'm always curious so I often ask about what motivated them, are they religious? One guy today said he did does it because its fun. The mom, not religious, its just the right thing to do. Care for each other whether you know each other or not. One more thing about today. There was a huge older guy with a big fat cigar. He kept unlit to save it. It was very difficult for him to get into the truck but he did it, not to play the piano but to get as close to Mo as he could possibly get. He hung around for the longest time just wanting to be close to Mo. Stuff like this when I see it makes me want to cry... to see people craving love and closeness. Usually I just observe and feel good that they are having the experience. But right now personally with the holidays and only Mo with me wow, it really makes me feel empathetic for others that have nothing. I'm so thankful for Mo in every moment of my life! People may look hard, rough and scary but in reality underneath all the crap, everyone is just like you and me. We all need to feel and give love.

December 22, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

You know what? I'm not going to settle for a scuzzy apartment especially if a years lease is needed. I'm just not going to go down. I'd rather just go out... if you catch my drift but thats not going to happen either. I'm going to find a nice place. It probably won't be as big and great as the home I sold for this journey but I do need to be around the cleaner stimulation Las Vegas has to offer downtown or on the outskirts in a nice house that has a cultivated yard around it, no cracked cement walks, dead trees, houses with boards on them, lol. No. Now, how that is going to happen... I have no idea. A higher power will need to lead the way. No matter what, I do want to be here for New Years Eve to celebrate 30 years of working with a piano full time on the back of the same pickup truck. That too I must figure out. And then to generate some money, find a backer or investors to continue, develop the rest of the dream.

December 21, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

The absolutely bizarre and crazy life events that happen to people who land up homeless and sleeping in fields and on the street, its almost unbelievable. The stories often have similar themes but the details are always as unique as the individual. Family rejection, guilt, shame, employers who screw their employees, landlords who screw tenants. One guy tried to kill himself last week, it didn't work. The hospital threw him on the street as soon as possible because he didn't have insurance. A few days ago I mentioned how I must be careful not to drive over blankets because people might be sleeping under one of them. Well today, near where I was creating music a truck did just that. It drove over a person sleeping. Not pretty. Another van pulled up close to where I was and was talking a girl into it. It was suspicious enough for me to go see if help was needed. A pimp had come to get a runaway. Another vehicle pulled up nearby, a shiny black car with blacked out windows. Asians got out with food to share but first everyone had to gather in a circle for prayer. I went over and asked if I could break the prayer circle for a minute as a girl need help right away and I could not do it alone. Their praying was more important. I went back to the van to get the license plate number but of course there were no tags. Across the street police were sweeping up people to make them move. I wanted to go ask them where they wanted the people to move to because, there is no other place. All around people people were cleaning up the areas where they sleep puting the trash into boxes. No one ever talks about how people living on the street do... clean up after one another.

Of course there was all the good times too. A guy originally from Brooklyn came over. He was just dying to play the piano and get lost for a while in his music. A young absolutely crazy girl banged away for a while. That was a major release for her. Another guy from the other day came over to play. His playing improved. I asked about it and he said after he left me a few days ago he went to one of the churches that serve homeless people, to practice some. Several other people who had seen me around before felt more courageous and safe to approach us today. We had fun until, it began to rain and I packed up to leave. As I drove off I thought wow, cold wet blankets to wrap yourself in for the night. Another guy pulled up in a car, opened the back of it and began to give out blankets he had brought from a store. I went to Albertsons to buy an orange. $1.50 for a friggin' orange, $10 dollars for a 16oz jar of spaghetti sauce. I don't care if it was organic... I left and drove to a Mexican supermarket. Four oranges for a buck. The spaghetti sauce, three bucks. I've booked the room where I am through Christmas because the price is so cheap. The situation is really getting scary, no more I guess than its been. I must find a place to stay quick. I'm not leaving here, need to settle down. I've been putting out feelers. I stopped at another apartment complex and asked if it was safe. They said, absolutely... we evicted 20 people, the bad ones last month, lol. I said, thanks... no thanks.

December 20, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

Oh my God I woke up not feeling good in anyway. I've gained too much weight, more than ever before. I refuse to beat myself up with the ramifications of that and just do the best I can. I know what I'm doing, not doing, need to do, what not to do, etc... it all is what it is. I knew I put out to much energy yesterday. At first I was going to shut down for the day to recoup as I usually do but with Christmas so close there is no time to waste in giving everything I have to give with the Traveling Piano. I want people living on the streets to see me every day if only for a half hour to create a feeling of consistency and trust. If I die from pushing myself too much... there is no better way to go then from pushing with what I love to do and enjoy in life most. Also, I'm going to be in a motel room on Christmas and I refuse to let that destroy me. I plan to be out and about doing what I do on Christmas and every move I make leading up to the day needs to be like putting money in the bank. I'm filling myself up with as much reassurance and validation of self worth as possible. My sharing and having fun for myself interacting with people through the Traveling Piano gives to me a sense of self respect. We all need to feel wanted and needed eh?

I write down what happens because I don't want to forget and also as a share my experience strength and hope kind of guy. So... I'm driving down the street and see a guy sitting on the sidewalk, crunched over, shaking and obviously in serious despair. I felt pulled right into a parking spot behind him and set up the Traveling Piano quickly and quietly next to him. As I began to create music for him, I wondered if he was going to get up and run or what. He got up and stood in silence. When I finished he looked at me and smiled. I invited him over. He had been praying. I asked if he wanted to play some piano and he said yes. He has actually played the piano many times in his life. While he played a few other people came over and also got onto the piano to play. We all introduced ourselves, shook hands and shared some friendship and knowing that we are all human beings together in the moment. My personal favorite moment of it all was when the guy said goodbye. He looked me directly eye-to-eye with absolutely no fear and said "Thank You, Thank You." The operative words for me... "No Fear." All very different people with different backgrounds and situations in a strange place connecting with "No Fear."

December 19, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

I found a huge nail in my truck tire this morning. Went to Firestone and they tried to make me purchase a new tire for $120 bucks saying the one I have is too bald. I said bye, bye and went around the corner to another place where it got fixed for ten bucks. It was owned and run by a bunch of young kids who were interested in the Traveling Piano so we all had some time together. Then after that, I've had my eye on a top floor, corner room, three windows, week to week at a Budget Motel near the strip. It sounded great with a $200 a week special. I called every day for the last seven days waiting for an opening and it happened. Unfortunately it turned out to be another scam of nickel and dime the price upwards. It ended up being $367 for the first week and I was like... screw that. The room smelled like cigarette smoke and the parking way down in a lot didn't feel great to me anyway with a piano and thousand dollar speaker in the back. I've also been looking for a roommate situation. So far they have been mentally ill people. The one old guy turns had all his windows covered with thermal sheets so there was no light in the house. With four rooms he wants to rent them to four people. (this includes the living room) Another guy, a vet from Afghanistan would have been a perfect situation if he took his meds on a regular basis but he doesn't. There's holes in what would have been my bedroom door and a very strange black stain running along all the white rugs throughout the house. That's just the tip of the iceberg there. The solution to keep from falling into a pit of total despair... go create joy for others. Feed off their joy! Works every time. Mo and I drove to the area where we were two days ago.On Mondays there is a huge dinner shared with anyone who wants it in a field. Problem was that its freezing out. Tonight its going down to thirty one degrees.

The dinner did not start until 7pm when it would be dark and... it was only 4:30pm. I drove around to look for another spot and asked every homeless person as I drove where I could find a place. Everyone sent me to the same spot about two miles away. There were about eight people waiting around so I decided to hang out with them and wait too. Then, by seven at night about a hundred people arrived with home cooked food, canned food, clothes, etc... About fifty others came to claim it all. It was an amazing energy. My energy went through the roof. We had found a bunch of Las Vegas neighbors who informally cook food, then get together to share it with everyone in an open area every Monday night. Its especially for homeless people and those feeling a need for some quality home cooking (me)... It was all so real, there was so much fun, purpose... I stayed with the Traveling Piano until the last person left, tasted at least five different foods I never tasted before. I don't know what any of it was... but it was oh, so good! Have you ever done something like this? Wow, it feels great to do! People one-on-one out and about, relating with each other. I highly suggest it. There was something about the number balance. More volunteers than people getting food and kids of every age and families. The symbolism on a subconscious level in spirit... is most significant for anyone who feels needy. (the idea that its not just one person, its everyone who cares) If it wasn't so cold I would have loved to see several people who brought food hanging out with those who came to dinner in friendship while eating on the ground or whatever together. I've been in many, many situations like last night, there was something special about this one. The spirit, it was down to earth with no show, the come and go aspect also felt right.

December 18, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

I spent the day writing a pitch for business. Its for the motel and property where I am staying. First time I've done this in ten years. It took two weeks to get it together in my head. Its not a conventional pitch because I just can't do "conventional." It is what it is. I realized my procrastination is not about fear or laziness. It is about the zero joy in going over the pitch endlessly tweaking it. That can go on forever and then if it does not work, a new pitch must be made from scratch. The chances of one of my pitches working the first time, not good. I just want to work as I've been doing for ten years. A guy I met in California earlier in the year sent me an email, here is what he said: "I wanted to share with you a little about what you did to help me in my life, with just a short time in a truck on a piano. You taught me that the most beautiful things in life are accomplished without hesitation. You taught me to ignore fear of failure, to ignore preconceived notions of what is good, or what is successful. You taught me to feel. You taught me to play. You taught me to free myself from any chains that bind me and step into the unknown. And most of all, you reminded me of spontaneous fun! The (marginally) simple experience you offered me has impacted my life everyday since, and now, 7 months later. Here I stand (sit) better for it."

December 17, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

I went driving around looking for a place to live today. We came across an area where hundred's of people were hovering around in groups trying to stay warm in the cold and sleeping under blankets spread randomly throughout open dirt fields. Seeing the situation made me angry to see so I had to stop and share some spirit. It did not take long for people to warm up to the Traveling Piano to create some friendship and musical ramblings. There were several large homeless shelters in the area and I asked one guy why everyone was not using them as it was around forty degrees. I've heard a lot some reasons in the past but today this guy brought up a video on his phone to show me. It was the largest bed bugs I ever saw, the size of large roaches crawling around on the bed he was to use. He said the shelters get money and then waste it on themselves and doing a half ass job of getting rid of the bed bugs so they are always around no matter what. Wow, did that gross me out! I've dealt with bed bugs on this journey but that was nothing compared to what I saw today. On the ground I was careful not to drive over any piles of what looked like trash. People were trying to stay warm under it all. As I created music, piles of clothes, blankets and trash would come to life as a hand would raise through to give me a thumbs up. That felt just so good!

I met a Greek guy from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania near where I used to live in Philadelphia. We began to reminisce about the area. There were several piano players around and it felt good to just let people sit and play with music for a bit. Random people would stop in vehicles to give out necessities, more than normal as it is the Christmas season. One jeep had boxes of hand made scarfs, hats and gloves. I wished they would have hung around to create conversation with the generosity. Another guy was on his own and I asked him about it. He comes to the area to share food weekly through his Muslim faith. Would you like to do something to honor Christmas time? Here are 2 suggestions. Make a 5 gal pot of thick delicious soup. With a friend, a cardboard table, some cups, spoons... go out onto a random street near where you live. Set up and share your food with passers-by in conversation, especially those who people ignore. Another suggestion... send a contribution for the Traveling Piano so Mo and I can continue doing the same thing through music!

December 16, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

Burr... its cold! I knew it was cool in Las Vegas in the winter but did not know it is down right cold like forty degrees and with strong winds in the dessert! Mo and I went to check out a place to share with someone. Trying to find a place is a very difficult process. Most places have been toxic, the same with the people looking for a roommate. Can't do it. When I drive up to a house with the windows blocked out... no way am I even going to go inside. I'm constantly working to adjust to any opportunity but there must be boundaries and limits as to what I can be productive with. There is a certain level of comfortability that is necessary. I've already let go of ninety percent comfort that I used to have! Anyway, before I left the motel the entire housekeeping crew was working near where the Traveling Piano was parked so I decided to treat them all with music as they worked. The head housekeeper was going to round everyone up for a picture with the Traveling Piano but it had to wait until they were all done which took a half hour and then... they all ran away. Lol, the entire housekeeping department is made up of culturally shy women from Central America. I know they really appreciated the music. The head housekeeper, a few maintenance guys and people from the front desk jumped onto the piano for some brief moments of music.

December 15, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

Today was basically a fear day. There is no time for fear but it happens and sometimes I just can't control it. What am I going to do? There are possibilities but I'm not moving fast enough to manifest them. I must just allow whatever to be. Unfortunately, when I am in this state I either move forward or backward. Just "being" ... I wish. The solution was to eat my way thought the day. Hate when I do that. I processed some nature pictures from Sedona. Processing pictures sometimes is the only positive thing I can do in a day. Still I remember from way back in this blog, at least I can do something positive in everyday. There was a times when that was not possible. Onward...

December 14, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

A shift is happening I can feel it. I had a meeting with the general manager of the motel where I am staying. He was interested in hiring me as a musician for another property that he manages on the strip. Damm, I just do not play the kind of music he needs that would be appropriate for the venue! If this happened 30 years ago... but now it would take learning to play the piano from scratch, a year or two. As I was driving down the strip, at a stop light people were smiling at the Traveling Piano, Mo and I so we stopped to create some music. A group of local guys from Welderup a local hotrod shop that has a television show on Discovery Channel happened to be hanging out eating a sandwich from a street vendor. One of the guys began pulling cash from each of his buddies and came over to wish me a Merry Christmas with it all. Of course that led to some typical interaction.

There was a Canadian couple getting ready to go back home after house sitting a property in a gated community for three weeks. They told me how to find those situations. I've always known about them and have looked into them but they gave me practical insight I did not have before. Damm! At this stage of the game, when I'm getting ready to change direction? Lol, isn't that the way. Then there was a group from Mexico City vacationing that have been hanging out with each other as friends since age fifteen. How cool is that? At night I hung out with a few new friends of my own and the feeling is really strange right now. I do not want to vacillate between going and staying. Fear makes me want to do that. Focus is needed with meditation, breathing and just taking it all very slow and easy with no time to waste. I have options to stay and need to feel my way into that and not worry that if I don't jump on every opportunity as it happens then I'll have none. Trust and faith in feeling my way through... that is the name of the game.

December 13, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

The plan was to just go out and create some music for myself today. As I opened the truck door a couple arrived to get married at the famous Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel on the Strip. The chapel place shares the same parking lot with the motel where we are staying in. Love was in the air! After we got some wedding pictures with the Traveling Piano a few family members arrived. Onward... driving on a random street people were set up on a corner doing something and I became curious. It was people offering cell phones and service to those that can't afford one. It is under a government program that began in the 1930's funded by phone companies themselves. Anyway, of course we met people there and had the usual musical Traveling Piano fun!

December 12, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

I hooked up with my friend Brian who we stayed with in 2012. His life is not in a good place for my staying with him now. Damm! He has a new dog Sparky. Mo and Sparky hit it off from the start. They must have run and jumped on each other non stop for about an hour. There are billboards with Chinese print on them around town. That is just another "tell" I might be in the right place. I still want to take the Traveling Piano to China after all these years. And then... the neighborhood where Brian lives is in Chinatown a booming area in Las Vegas. The first Chinese casino has recently opened. There are possibilities here. I stopped at a buffet and found out it was Korean. I know American Chinese buffets are not real Chinese food but this Korean buffet was real Korean food, authentic, there was food I never had before like Kalbi (bbq) beef intestine, galbi (short-ribs), bulgogi (spicy pork belly) banchan (side dishes) seaweed, sprouts, sauces all kinds of new stuff. It wasn't crowded so the manager spent time with me explaining the food and cooking it at my table. It was pricy (for me) but worth every penny. During the conversation I asked him if he had a sister that played the piano. Most Koreans play the piano, its the thing to do, a very feminine activity for girls. The guy had in fact played the piano when he was young. Of course that led to the Traveling Piano outside which led to his gifting me the meal. It all felt very good.

Before I left the motel I played music for the guys renovating the place and one of them came out of a room to tell me he was on the piano last time we were here and has the pictures! Oh my God, that was crazy. He and his co-workers were renovating the building next door last time Mo and I were here. You can read about that last time from a few days ago on the blog. When I returned from the days activities I got a few of the guys onto the Traveling Piano once again for the second time. The motel office gave me a deal for another week concerning price and I am going to have a meeting with the general manager to pitch an idea for work for the first time in eleven years. I don't know what the pitch will be yet, need to make one up and figure out for what. Then the original guy renovating the place called me on the phone to say if I needed a free night I got one and also wants to introduce me to the owner. All this really is scary and I must just go with the flow because... there is definitely a flow going on and I'm in it. Another friend, God love her, has offered to help me settle more securely with some finances so it really feels like something somewhere is going to fall in place, I must just keep open to it and also be willing to do what needs to get done whatever that is.

December 11, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

There was no way I wasn't going out today to work with the Traveling Piano. I set out for the most dangerous neighborhood I could find because that is what I wanted to do. It was not meant to be. Before driving a full block I saw a crowd of people standing around waiting on the street. That always means a food kitchen or something. Today it was the food pantry at the Veterans Village on South Las Vegas boulevard. It was a perfect spot and we met a lot of people. The woman in charge came out with a Christmas stocking for me full of things like soap, toothpaste etc... and biscuits for Mo. For some reason that made me empty out the truck full of about twenty rolls of toilet paper and soap I've been saving from past motel stays, lol. Everyone wanted the toilet paper! There were a lot of homeless people hanging around. One guy told me how he got robbed a few hours earlier. There were two guys breaking into his camper while he was sleeping and when he opened the door he had his cell phone in his hand calling 911... the robbers grabbed it out of his hand and fled. He was shook up and very disappointed because the only personal things he owned were the pictures and information on the phone. Another guy spent time telling me about where he used to live in Brooklyn, New York. People are desperate to connect with other people and I am so grateful to be able to provide a vehicle through music, my spirit, Mo, the truck and piano to do that. Afterwards, I drove to a park where police continually sweep people out of... people who have no place to go.

They lock the park bathrooms and then when people need to urinate give them tickets for urinating in public. They passed a law to make it illegal to share food in the park but stopped enforcing it. There was a group of guys with a nice dinner there for everyone and then another group came by with food because the usual place they go to was swept clean of people. Many of the people chased from the other park drifted to the park Mo and I were in. There were kids crazy to play with the piano. As I created music a guy from Cuba stood against a tree crying in appreciation. Before dark I went to check out another cheap motel to stay in which is only $26 bucks a night. Then I found out they tac a $26 buck resort fee on top of the price with taxes on arrival. Fuck that. I refuse to play that game. Just charge the price it will cost! Then I looked into another place with a weekly rate which was very interesting because you must supply your own toilet paper and soap. That made me laugh because I'm always saving the damm toilet paper and soap for when I get a more permanent place and today... lol, as I said at the start, gave it all away... again. As it got dark I drove through the Las Vegas Strip. Wow, I just love it. The place is fun in every way. Mo was totally stimulated on every level with all the sounds, lights, people, traffic, etc... While thinking that the entire environment was money oriented well, I'm ready to start making money again for sure. I need a home to settle into in order to do that. This is the place for now. Please send a contribution so we can settle in order to reboot my life. At this point I don't have enough money to do that.

December 10, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

I wanted to take the Traveling Piano out today but there are other pressing issues such as raising funding to continue and finding a place to stay. For the first time ever I think I am consciously posting a picture repeat. It is from when I was here last time in 2012. The streets and buildings are now in need of a major wash down. I must wipe Mo's paws when we come in from walking on the sidewalk because they are so black he creates paw prints on everything. We took a walk down Fremont street, a very touristy spot and I'll try not doing that again in daytime. Wow, was it depressing! Someone said they wash the street down daily well, it needs a scrub and so does the roof cover over the street as well as all the signs and lights. Everything was a cloudy dirty grey. The place was full of people trying to busk for survival while singing, dancing, doing magic, etc... in wheel chairs with ragged clothes. Several people were without legs, really down and out people along with well... no classy tourists that is for sure. Most of those were drunk and it was not even noon yet. I know Vegas has much better to offer and I'm going to find it. I'm feeling better in my motel room as the air freshener that squirts every half hour has been killing the funky smell, my ionizer is on, I keep the window open during the day and I'm really glad I have my own pillow. Started watching television which cannot continue, no time but... its not like I ever see it, maybe only a few times a year.

December 09, 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada

My intuition said go to Vegas. Went online to book the cheapest motel room I could find. It turns out it is the room next door to the room in the same motel we stayed in back in 2012! For as bad as the room is, the familiarity is helpful. I'm thinking of bringing in my sleeping bag to put on top of the bed mattress. Can we talk smellin' funky? Driving through the desert at sunset tonight was amazing! Driving through nature is amazing. With all the difficulty I've been having life is still worthwhile when I'm both working and enjoying nature. Contribute to help keep the Traveling Piano going... it will be 30 years in 2017! I have successfully detached 95% from following all politics and reading world news for a month as of today and it feels oh, so good! It can be done. Mo and I are in Las Vegas looking for a place to settle for 1-2-6-12 months, stay, share a room, rent... if you know of anyone, if you can make a contribution to help keep us working... there is a link on this website as well as GoFundMe. If you contribute here, no fees will be deducted if you send money as a friend. We need help.

December 08, 2016

San Tan Valley, Arizona

There are a lot of people living here and they are all using just few main arteries to drive. The traffic lights are like a mile apart and at rush hour, making a left turn onto a residential street is like trying to turn left on a four lane highway full of traffic racing at 65 miles an hour. I'm heading to Las Vegas tomorrow as that is where the least expensive motel I could find is. Also, it just feels like where I should go. The truck needs a tune up... don't know how thats going to happen with as little money as I have left. Oh my God, life is getting difficult. Getting old, wanting a home, not wanting to make money, wanting old friends to hang out with especially now with the holidays... actually, I am hanging out with an old, old friend right now. Problem is I don't want to leave her. Its the same as with my friend Stephen a few weeks ago and also David last week. I do have Mo and thank god for that. Thank God I have good friends too. They so wish they could help me and I wish they could help me, I wish I could help myself. The journey is alive. And, I will make it to thirty years of full time work with a piano on the back of the same pickup truck... 2017. All the time, I must give myself the feeling of and validation of self worth. That is not easy right now and it is not something that is naturally present for me in the conscious realm.

December 07, 2016

San Tan Valley, Arizona

We will be staying an extra day with Linda and Marvin. I am so lost in need of a home. The only thing I could do today to get my act together was to go out and work with the Traveling Piano. Linda suggested we go for a walk, so I did that. The regional park wanted six bucks to enter. There were only two vehicles in the entire place and a luxury mobile home for the park attendant. I thought, "I'm not going to be bribed to enjoy nature just to pay for this guys salary. There is no upkeep needed for this so called "public" land and there are no people using it. We drove on until I found a trail on the side of the road with a parking area. While mo and I were walking in desert I found a cactus I wanted to hug it as I have been doing with giant pine and redwood trees over the last year and then... I thought a simple picture of it was a better idea, ha. Afterwards, I decided to just create some music for myself.

I thought while creating music, how can I be so lost and depressed about my life... I mean I don't even have clothes good enough to present myself for meetings with people to explore possibilities... and then at the same time... here I was creating music in the desert on a cool day with beautiful clouds above and mountains with a light mist rolling in among cacti and brush... absolutely no one around in the quiet of nature and realizing how many people can't even imagine the magnificence of such a scenario and then again those who crave any aspect of what I am so grateful to be experiencing, the peace and serenity of it all and the ability to give musically to life as well as through all my physical senses. The world is really wonderful, and not... at the same time in being fully conscious these days.

December 06, 2016

San Tan Valley, Arizona

Every move is difficult these days. I will be leaving here on Thursday not knowing where to go except that it will probably be into a money sucking motel room. I'm trying the best I can to find a place but its always looking while on the move, not easy. I have friends who really care but there is nothing they can do to help. I posted online... Need to constantly put it out there... looking for a place to stay until I reboot my life. Also, willing to rent, share anything anywhere even house sit. Needs: internet, respect, light, private, quiet, uncluttered, no substance abuse, Mo friendly, parking, clean... beach or green grass would be great, down south right now in the warm sun would be great, out of the way is fine as well as in the middle of everything... month to month for a few months to start... anywhere in the world. Up north in the winter and wetness too, no problem if cozy enough. Help!

While walking around a local supermarket to purchase food for dinner I had to consciously remind myself to not break down crying, especially with Christmas right around the corner, no place to go, no plce to live, boo hoo hoo. What a situation! The one good thing about Christmas... I've had three in the past that were sooo bad, there is no way I could have a worse one, lol. I must also say, I've had a lifetime of amazing Christmas. Fifty eight great ones and three really, really bad... thats been a good run. Before it was popular, I was an extremist with the Christmas season in all ways. It was fun. Anyway, I just keep going today... am so grateful to have the people who are in my life right now. My personal situation... it is what it is and its not good. Marvin, Linda's husband showed me his racing vehicle today. He built it and still races it in his sixties... for money. Thats pretty cool. We all had dinner, I met another one of Linda's sons, life is all good in the present moment and... uncertain out of it.

December 05, 2016

San Tan Valley, Arizona

The experience of seeing a friend after forty years, of reconnecting, piecing together experiences and periods of life is really, really interesting. Meeting my friend Linda's grown, middle aged children ant their children... awesome. I remember back through the years with this journey, staying with families and feeling honored they would share their lives with us and invite us into their homes... its been a long while since but now the same with someone I knew so long ago. It is truly a gift to be here. I was hesitant because I am worn out to adjusting in other peoples space but am glad I had the courage to visit and its so easy when people are so easy to love and respect. I don't have too much more to say other than I feel Mo so especially close to me in spirit right now. He knows on some level how fragile I am emotionally and I can can feel is steady, even spirit of flowing love.

December 04, 2016

Queen Creek, Arizona

Today was a full day. I knew it would be. Working with, sharing the Traveling Piano always brings me to life in the best of ways. One of the housekeepers at the motel where we have been staying told me it was her birthday yesterday and she had to work but today she's getting off early because of it. That set the ball rolling for the day as I told her to meet me outside I wanted to give her a birthday present and play some music for her. IT was wonderful to see her tear up with joy and gratitude after playing the piano for the first time ever. A few other motel guests were there I we also had an interaction. At a restaurant last night where I got a sandwich and salad the manager and I struck up a conversation that included her kids and how she is raising them. I told her if she emailed me I would visit everyone today with the Traveling Piano and she did. Less than once percent of the people I make that offer to, follow through. They live in an apartment complex and many of the neighbor kids came over to join in the fun and a grandmother watching her child got on the truck which brought her to tears afterwards. I've been noticing how parents so very much crave all opportunity and new experiences for their children more than ever before. The appreciation for my being able to share freely without agenda is overwhelming.

Tamara the mom insisted I take a contribution which I know came from her giving daughter also. The four year old son was fully a spiritual delight with life. An old friend Linda and I reconnected last year on facebook. We both had the same piano teacher in college back east in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where we grew up. There was talk of connecting in person, not much and then it was decided it definitely would not happen. First, there was little chance I would be near where she lives in Queen Creek, Arizona. Well guess what? Life synchronistically brought us together today after not seeing each other for over forty years! Turns out she is a half hour away from where I am presently staying. Yesterday we connected via messaging and still this morning I did not think it would happen. This was a first for me to see someone I knew as a kid now as a grandma. It was really amazing and a wonderful life experience. We spent some time together and then her husband Marvin joined in and they both took me to dinner. Linda gave me a contribution while telling me she had been saving for me since she learned I was on this journey. That fact really moved me emotionally. It also reminded me that it has happened before. People who have little money who have saved up over time to make a contribution. Also, I have one special friend who goes to work for me and gives me all the income from that work. Pretty amazing, eh?

December 03, 2016

Tempe, Arizona

As I transition with this journey, telling the truth in this blog is very difficult because as I begin to sell myself and my ideas... people will come here to the blog to find out who I am and what I am about. When I write emotionally and about feelings of what I am going through, well... that does not lend itself to credibility and what I am working to sell. No one will know the huge accomplishments of the last eleven years, only what is for today. So... its very difficult. Moving to another location on Monday, the idea of it, every time gets more difficult. I so desperately need a place to stay, a home for awhile in order to reboot and I have not been having luck with that having the most minimal of resources to work with. I'm desperate. Need help, can't figure out how to ask for it or what specifically to ask for. Formulating any of the ideas I have for raising funds as in going to work and selling the Traveling Piano concept, its very difficult. Decisions... difficult. Crying to create a release... difficult. Gratitude is the only thing that keeps me from going totally under and that I must pull up from the depths every morning as soon as I wake up. I did what I needed to do and went out to be around people today. Created some music, shared the Traveling Piano... I was in a school parking lot creating music for myself and when I was done from across the street two little girls no more than six years old stood clapping their hands with huge smiles on their faces asking for more. The one little girl said, "if I had a dollar I would give it to you." God, is that sweet or what? Six years old, no grownups around makes you wonder, where did that come from?

December 02, 2016

Tempe, Arizona

Today was a lost day I could not get anything done except beat myself up over the fact that I'm having so much trouble. At least I know why I'm fighting depression for the first time in eleven years so there is a way out in the "knowing." I'm feeling worthless. Even though in my head I know I am not alone it feels that way in my gut. Truth is... all my accomplishments in life have come from that gut feeling in the past. I have reinvented my life several times from the realization that in the end all I have is myself and I am the one who must make life happen for myself. Problem is, I'm not sure I have it in me to reinvent myself yet once again. Can't seem to feel the inspiration to continue on my own. It is because I'm not feeling able to pick myself up and get some traction towards a better life attitude. Maybe some of it is because as I let go of the past there is nothing but "now", the present. There can be no "do you know who I am, what I have done, etc..." because, why should people care? Ha, I wrote that many years ago somewhere here in this blog. Caring needs to be sold to people although, there are personal friends of mine who do know me, know my accomplishments, will always remember and understand me at the most intimate of levels. Thank God for that.

December 01, 2016

Tempe, Arizona

I decided to find a supermarket with a salad bar but alas, there are none in Tempe. Someone told me there is an Art Festival in town this weekend and even though I am 99% not interested in doing street fairs I thought I would go to the area and get a feel for it. I met a guy getting ready to set up a booth to sell his photography and struck up a conversation about selling photos and venues etc... He's paying $1250 for a booth. Back when I began performing for street fairs in 1987... it was $20 for a booth! Of course that was 30 years ago. I found the fair office tent and well, it was all very awkward. I did not know how to approach the situation so I just set up to do my thing. Mo jumped on top of the piano, after about five minutes of music there was no reaction but I already knew nothing was going to happen. I mean I did all this, done all this thirty years ago. I ended this kind of work because it was not fun any more. Even though... I was thinking how if a situation came up where I could bypass all politics and bureaucracy, feel a little respect from the organizers to set up the Traveling Piano and explore in an area with good foot traffic... I might be willing to do what I do with people and sell it for $25 a shot. That might be fun. The idea of transitioning into money making is excruciatingly difficult. I mean it has been eleven years of being able to bypass any money or agenda!

I drove to pick up a quick salad so I did not bring my camera, phone or anything. I should have know better. It was very, very frustrating to interact with people today and not have my camera for the pictures. At every turn today people showed interest. I ended up at a huge open area restaurant to get a kale, cabbage, butternut squash salad. It came out to $11.89 and I was like... really? It was the size of a side dish and took a half hour to get but that wasn't the worst of it. I waited five minutes for my change before asking... "Do I get some change from that order?" The guy says, "No, we don't deal with change." Ok, that was a bit too much for me to accept so I got a hold of the manager who said that if the bill comes to under .50 they take the hit, if its over .50 the customer takes the hit. I said as a visitor in having no way to know, it feels wrong and if they are going to play that game because the place is trying to be hip and pretentious or whatever then they should take the total hit or charge prices that do not include change. The men and women working there were very appetizing, the place, price and food... not.