amw (amw) wrote,

occasionally i get mistaken for homeless

Usually, people just give me a coffee. But today i got a hot chocolate and a pumpkin spice muffin! Thank you, Good Samaritan!

I suspect there is a sweet spot of looking homeless where people buy you stuff. If you look too dirty or too crazy, they probably won't. If you look too much like a normal person sitting in the park, they definitely don't.

I guess i tend to find a spot away from normal park-going folks. I prefer to sit on gravel or amongst wildflowers/weeds more than on manicured grass, since there are less insects and it's drier. Also, practicing harmonica, i don't want to annoy anyone, so lately i have been finding places near the railyard or main roads where there is a lot of background noise to drown me out. Apparently someone working nearby recognized me so now i'm the town's newest bum.

Yesterday i had an amusing harmonica-practice experience too. I cycled out past the airport and found a nice rock to sit on just next to the railroad and by a clump of bushes that blocked some wind. I'm just tooting along and this huge pickup rolls up. Guy jumps out, he's like "uhhh... you weren't here before". I'm like... "nooo?"

Turns out he was dumping a bunch of old rocks from his garden, and i was sitting on one of them! It's probably not strictly legal, but i can say that any hiker, cyclist or hobo going by would be grateful for the place to sit and/or weigh down a tarp. We chatted while he unloaded. He used to be a conductor! He told me that when he retired trains were only a mile long, but now they're several miles long. I said it must be pretty boring to literally just pull out of the station and then have to sit there for an hour waiting for other trains to pass (we were near a siding). He said, yup, a lot of driving trains is just sitting around stopped.

Anyway, i am now about 10 days into harpin' and i can kindasorta play the major scale without fucking up and hitting two holes. I also figured out most of Cat Stevens - Father and Son today. It's taking me back to learning guitar all those years ago, where the teacher keeps giving you boring songs to play, because that's all you can actually play when you're a beginner, so you desperately try find songs that are still easy but don't suck.

Oh! Susanna is really fun to play, but it feels a bit weird playing a minstrel song.

When i was learning guitar, i never really practiced for long enough each day to get past a certain level. As a kid i just kinda figured i could go to class and play once or twice during the week and it'd be alright, but the reality is you gotta put in an hour or more every day. I did feel more inspired when i got my second guitar teacher, though, who had long hair and earrings and a leather jacket. He was very cool. He introduced me to Joe Satriani, whose stuff was far too advanced for me, but i tried anyway. To this day Satriani is my favorite guitarist.

Satriani is given a lot of shit for being soulless, for sounding like a synthesizer, but that's exactly why i like his stuff. I like when the melodies are really clean, really sharp. Even if you slam a bunch of distortion on top, i still want to be able to hear a pure, loud, monophonic sequence at the front of the mix. Chords fucking suck. I hate chords. So, learning guitar, what made me care about it was when i switched to doing arpeggios and scales. Which... needs lots of practice, so i stopped. On a synthesizer you can just sequence it all up-front. Skip all that tedious work and get straight to the good stuff of composing a tune.

There is something to be said for being able to play live, though, it's more immediate.

Anyway, i was jamming on my harp on this shitty fucking abysmal major scale that everyone learns first, and i noticed that part of it sounds like the beginning of Always With Me, Always With You.

Joe Satriani - Always With Me, Always With You

So now i have made it my mission to try to play at least part of a Satriani song on the harp. Which no doubt is some kind of blasphemy. But what am i supposed to do? I can't fucking bend with grace and dignity yet. I can't even fake being a bluesman. I biked all over looking for a suitable crossroads to sell my soul to the devil yesterday but alas this valley is too narrow.

It is strange weather, mostly dry, but occasionally unloading an epic summer shower. Except it is far too cold out for it to be a summer shower.

Here's what it looks like out my window.

Somehow i have caught a cold. Bit of throat ache, bit of sniffles. With all the masking and social distancing it's been a very long time since i had a cold. It sucks. Winter sucks. Cold weather sucks. I wish things weren't such a clusterfuck south of the 49th parallel. Otherwise i could go down the Mississippi for winter and find a proper crossroads.
Tags: making music, my surreal life

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