HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
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August 31, 2008
I believe dreams are real. I am dreaming and I feel assured that the Journey of Peregrinating Musical Exploration will continue.
August 30, 2008
Down on the farm with the Traveling Piano... Henrietta the hen laid a three yoke egg today! That must have really hurt. I took a picture with two large eggs on each side of it. Wow! ... My friend Charlie has started a little farm stand at the end of the driveway for passersby. He puts a little "trust box" for people's money and loves to wave his dollar bills at the end of the day. When I purchased corn from him the other day I filled the box with $26 dollars worth of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that I had saved.
I drove the Traveling Piano truck to the pond embankment and played on the hill. Bo would not come with me. He was preoccupied with the hot dogs being used as bait for fishing with the farm visitors so I took Charlie's six and a half month old pup Tilly and put her up on the piano. It was Tilly's first try and she did great! She had plenty of incentive to behave and do a good job. Finally! She was getting the upper hand with Boner! It did not take Bo long to come running, "get the hell off my perch"! Today was very humid. Makes moving to do anything real slow. I improvised for about an hour and went really crazy in my head thinking no one could hear it. Later at night a neighbor far away told Charlie she heard me playing.
I was taking Boner for a walk and found a ton of Chicken Mushroom growing on an old dead tree trunk along the road. Yum, Yum, Yum!!! What a rare find. I brought it all home in a large box. It has a most beautiful deep orange and white color, the texture and taste is like chicken although you would never know because I used way too much hot sauce when I cooked it. Charlie tried to use corn to bring down the spicy taste. Can't buy this stuff, and almost impossible to find, what a lucky man I am.
August 29, 2008
My plans for New York changed today. I stayed at the farm, my base... and took care of business. My being a free spirit with the Journey of Peregrinating Musical Exploration can be tricky. Sometimes it is a balancing act with consideration of friends and my personal plans in general. Everyone involved in my life knows the need for patience with my agendas. My life these days, it is all about the journey. It is what it is. This journey is my work and I enjoy it, I'm passionate about it, feel worthy and humble with it. When opportunity arises though the journey's mission coming into play, the mission takes priority in the moment. All plans can change instantly. There is no ego, obligation or expectation involved. The experiences can happen anywhere at any time, usually and the best with spontaneity. On the street, in the parking lot, on a field, under a bridge, by the water, in a driveway, while driving on the road etc... It is all about simply doing what I do best to serve life. Share the Traveling Piano, creating music, fun, friendship, respect, musically empowering, inspiring, most of all to experiencing joy!
August 28, 2008
Boner was very happy to be with me today, content to be in the truck cab as I ran errands. I have begun a weaning process away from the farm where I have been staying. It has been very nice but I must keep moving on this journey. Just one night I stayed in a friends apartment almost two hours away in Clemington, NJ. Tonight I drove back to Pipersville and tomorrow I'll be heading to New York City. My friend wondered why I would go all the way back to the farm and not just straight to New York. I told her I was to afraid to go away for two nights, I wanted to go back and touch base. I'll go away one night, then two and move on and transition out smooth and easy. Once I'm out permanently I'll be ok, its just getting started. You think this is all easy to do... not having a home as a buffer? HA. Last night there was a very strange party going on at 1:00 am across the street from where I was staying. I thought it was a club house of some type having a Thursday night party? There was a multicolored disco ball going inside with a lot of talk and laughter in and out on the lawn. I did not see one adult but I did see a bunch of kids, at least eight running around for hours in and out of the house, ages ranging from four to around twelve. Very strange....
I only had about six hours sleep so while driving around today I stopped at a Wawa convenience store for some coffee when a really cool couple pulled up along side of the Traveling Piano truck in their jeep. "So what's this about? It was a guy who is a DJ, has done music marketing and is starting up a travel tour company. We all did the Traveling Piano "thing" right there on the spot and after that the last thing I needed was coffee!!! I am so looking forward to meeting more and more cool people. Water seeks its level :) ...and I know what's going to happen from experience. I love this life! My friend Cindy is really into supporting me by allowing my time to flow with hanging out and being late, treating me to dinners to save my money, offering me her plce to stay in... all very much appreciated. When we got back to the farm, oh my... Boner was happy to be! He has already adapted the place as his new home, won't be for long...
August 27, 2008
I passed through my old neighborhood today to say goodbye to a few life long neighbors who were not around when I left. I passed by my old house and it no longer felt mine, never really did, I always treated it as though I had stewardship of it. The house had been re-landsacped and looked like all the other houses. (a few of the boulders are still in the yard that I would like to get) I used to collect rocks! Today I became a "corn giver" (and zucchini) once again. I purchased some of my friend Charlie's finest crop and dropped it off for seven neighbors. I am always frustrated that people I know well do not know what is going on with my life. I have worked so hard to get the message out. People still do not know or "get" that I am not charging money for the work that I do, that I am living life on personal contributions, etc... Several thought I did not care enough to say goodbye but I consider that a two way street. No one asked me when I was leaving, if I was leaving, what I am up to... people only seem to know or remember the things that I have done in the past that they have read in the paper, see on television or have been told by others. I am the one making all the moves and I can only do so much as one man so be it, I'm glad I am able to be the one to initiate the goodbyes, but still...
I stopped at the gas station where I've been giving my business for 25 years and had some fun with the Traveling Piano. The 16 year old guy pumping the gas asked me to play some music offering me five bucks and I said sure! His cousin Tom (part owner) and the guy who purchased my house, who I am waiting to purchase my second truck, who said he'd make a contribution to the journey, who I gave my bicycle to, and who took some corn and zucchini from the truck wether I wanted him to or not... I got him on the truck to play a few notes and then got back on myself saying I was not going to stop playing until he gave me a tank of gas. It did not work so I took the Traveling Piano truck down the street and filled it up with gas at his rival station at .12 cents a gallon less. Then I got a picture of the owner filling it to send to Tom. Ha, what fun that was until my karma hit me in the face because if I had waited until I got to NJ to fill the tank as planned I found out I would have paid .62 cents a gallon less! Ouch...ouch...ouch.
In my mind I was thinking about, and reaffirmed... my friend Charlie's support today how he has not been housing and feeding me, for me... but for the journey. He is supporting me so that I can pursue the Journey of Peregrinating Musical Exploration and this feels good. This is a new experience for me from another human being. He has been connecting with me not for any selfish physical or mental agenda or for any pathologically religious or family obligation. He is connecting and supporting me in spirit and has been manifesting his spiritual desires physically and mentally. He is not conventional family to me. He is religious. His beliefs and faith create the catalyst for his support. The bottom line is we both connect on a spiritual level and I want to achieve this connection fully with life in every aspect, especially with people that I meet.
August 26, 2008
I really am amazed that I ended up playing some piano today. I hadn't planned to. Right before dark I decided to check out a small local park to take Bo for a walk and I drove the Traveling Piano truck. The walk never happened as people filtered into our space immediately. A woman driving out of the park (a dog sitter) turned around and came back to meet Bo and to give him some treats. She had read about us in a newspaper. I played some music, she gave Boner treats from a bag and left the rest in the cab for later along with a $20 bill treat for me! That really made me smile. Another woman transitioned into the spot and we had a very intimate conversation about life for around an hour and lastly a couple on a motor bike pulled up. Turned out it was the fire chef who was working in Philadelphia's Chinatown when I played there in early January along with his wife. I played across the street from the firehouse. He says, "Hey, you should be in China." Yea, yea, yea... How wild is that? All the way up here in Pipersville in the middle of nowhere. Small world. I was going to review my agenda today. I'm fighting some fear of falling into a rut. It is a challenge to allow myself to do nothing with the faith that I will do something when the time is right. Sounds weird and confusing I know, but that seems to be how my life works.
August 25, 2008
I am writing allot and saving it all for a few days from now... preparing, creating overnight stays from my present location... getting ready to leave my comfort zone. I know my present whereabouts are confusing for those who are not reading the daily log consistently and with full attention. Where am I? Am I in China? Did I get back? Did I go? Am I going? Many pictures look like I am in China. I have been posting fun visualization pictures that I have created throughout the year of Traveling Piano performance situations in China as well as pictures of my actual playing in New York City's China Town and also Philadelphia's Chinatown. I have been creating a feel of China for myself. I have been improvising my way to China exactly as I improvise my way through music. I am definitely going to China. I did not get there in time for the Olympics. I have not yet been to China. More support is needed on every level to accomplish the goal. It will come. I have confidence and the faith, destiny and ability to create the reality.
August 24, 2008
The last thing I thought I'd do is play music today. I cleaned most of the day and planned to watch the Olympic closing on television. Charlie decided to have a small oyster and corn roast. He invited his son and family as well as some corn pickin' customers who happened by, so of course I pulled out the Traveling Piano and just about everyone had a turn on it. I'm disappointed, sad about not having made it to China with Boner and the Traveling Piano in time for the Olympics. I missed my goal. Mucho energy was spent trying to achieve that success. The Olympics were the catalyst to sell my house and let go of my possessions. God, I tried so hard to raise funding and enough support! Good thing I have a lot of natural tenacity because that quality of self is the only energy helping to propel me forward, that and the support people have given to me thus far. I am not sure how to move forward, what to do. I still need practice with patience for myself. Do I need to redefine, hone in on or shift my focus? How do I not get stuck in a rut? Is this one-on-one intimacy what will be for the rest of my Traveling Piano time? Should I start driving across country to China or stay here and create the journey. I'm still going to China although it feels like I can drop that desire on a dime. I remind myself that my feelings are not always facts. As the ceremonies began, every time I allowed myself to feel sadness I started to break down and cry. I went to get a toothpick from my bag and I accidentally turned on my tape recorder. It said what I was repeating out loud with Tyler over and over the other day. I don't remember recording it. "Stay in the moment and feel good". Hmmm. My old ways of creating unnecessary drama are always laying just below my surface of consciousness.
August 23, 2008
I so much wanted to go back to New York City today. I had an opportunity to meet some new and interesting people and missed it. I just could not get it together. There is so much to do between presenting the Traveling Piano, taking care of business (the blogging, cataloging, ongoing life stuff) I'm still cleaning up the ends of what I left behind, and preparing for the future... and then there is time needed for relaxation and exercise for myself and Boner? I have not taken anytime since I left my home to hang out in the woods, float on a pond, see a movie... yikes.
This morning I was throwing things out my window at chickens on the lawn! I threw my vitamin bottles, a paint brush, a rock, a bunch of other stuff. The damm chickens would not stop cockadoodling and I was trying to sleep! I found out one of the hens decided to start laying her eggs under a table right outside the bedroom window. For the last few mornings all I hear is this moaning and groaning and now the roaster joins her to "egg" her on along with a younger hen present to learn the tricks of the trade. Oh brother!!!
About mid-afternoon a family with friends stopped from a sign Charlie put out front on the street for people to purchase fresh farm corn and zucchini buds to fry and batter up. While they were here I drove the Traveling Piano truck up onto the pond embankment to make a phone call (bad reception around here) and on the way back met them and played a few pieces of music. Guess where they were from? Manhattan, New York City! The one guy works in the Ansonia building across from where I was playing yesterday. Small world!!!
New China facts... I looked into freight boats to ship the traveling Piano in a container where I could also be a passenger with Boner. My cost as just a passenger is about the same as an plane ticket. China does not except vehicles into the country over twenty years old. That is a problem for the Traveling Piano. The quarantine issues for animals are so strong in Beijing that the Olympic events that uses horsed were set up in Hong Kong. Countries without rabies are stricter with quarantine issues. The drivers license test for Beijing is 90 difficult questions. Ahhh... solutions.
August 22, 2008
New York City
I know I create musical inspiration but now I can also claim to create flowery inspiration? Last night in the farm where I am staying at twilight I clipped the zinnia flower heads off so they would reproduce. Later on in the middle of the night deer stopped in and clipped off all the sunflower heads. Charley said tonight I might find him in a recliner chair with a shotgun in his lap out back ready to execute what they call down on the farm a "piercing". The deer gets three chances. First night pierce an ear. If it does not get the message to stay away, second night pierce the other ear. The third night, if the cantankerous deer has not learned its lesson you can guess what will happen...
There really is no place that can compare in my experiences with New York City's harmonious variety and diversity of style in every way. The only bad part about visiting has been to find my way back to the farm. I'm so tired at night and with New Jersey's streets not marked clearly and road closures that give no direction... ugh, it was another three hour drive back. It's a killer for my being able to function the next day. Anyway, I met up with a friend named Tyler in New York City today and we drove to Wall Street to create music. From the start, people started with "the dog needs water", "the dog needs to pee", the dogs not comfortable up there". It was a great spot for monied people, the street was lined with limo's moving in and out like taxi cabs. Along with the strong flying winds through the buildings from the harbor and the noise... well, I did not last very long. We drove to South Street Seaport (major shopping tourist mecca) and was received with a, we don't want you, go away voice inflected..."no you can't play here". I said, "see ya..." I have no desire to play around bureaucratic attitude like that. Did that, done that type of dealing with people through my entire past career. I don't have to take that kind of business respect anymore. I'm old. HA!
To keep our energy up Ty and I started to focus on "lets find a place to have fun, feel good, create feeling of anticipation, the feeling of what happened in New York on Tuesday. We kept saying it out loud while we drove around not being able to feel our way into a spot and then we ended up in Times Square. We were able to create music take pictures and play for about ten minutes before we must have shown up on the homeland security camera's. "Alien... Alien in Times Square"!!! The cops came and chased us. Talk about scads of people, wow... its been awhile since I have been in such large crowds.
We headed for Central Park. There was no place to stop the truck and you cannot even drive into Central Park at certain times of the day so... that area was a, "no go". We ended up on the West Side, at 72nd and Boradway. I drove up onto the sidewalk of Verdi Square. It was a most perfect place for what I needed in the moment. Quiet, relaxed, plenty of people at the end of the day coming home from work, sitting, hanging around. I was outside of a subway stop that was a local train stop as well as an express. Across the street I had a view of two beautiful buildings. One is called the Ansonia which used to house musicians and before that in the old days... housed a farm on its roof. In the basement it had a swimming pool that housed seals. No kidding!
A park guard stopped by and I improvised her away. I didn't look at her but focused on soothing her concerns until she had no choice but to turn a blind eye. That was fun. People were enjoying the experience, the music enhanced the environment. I keep fighting a tendency to perform and impress in New York. My improvisation was way low key because I was way "low tired" all day. Still I kept the focus on my mission, fun friendship, respect.... musical inspiration and empowerment. One girl told me she was inspired to pick out a park tomorrow where she would go and just sing accapella for the fun of it. I met two like spirits Diane and Andy who took me for dinner at the end of the night. Boner was covered with perfume from all the New York ladies giving him constant petting and kissing attention.
August 21, 2008
Spent the day helping my friend Charlie handpick corn from his farm, that cramped my hands so I could not play music (complain, complain), it was fun, went to sell it, topped off zinnia heads, met people, talked about China, meandered in my head with confusion as to what I am doing, looked into a cell phone to use internationally, ate steak, looked into freight ships that carry passengers... :)
August 20, 2008
I spent the entire day processing yesterday's photo's and information for this blog. What can I say about that? I just have deep desire to share the Journey of Peregrinating Exploration's experiences with the world. I hope people will read it all and then want to help support this wonderful journey financially and with influence in every way.
Today, Charlie's first farm customers arrived to purchase baskets full of pears from his tree. It happened that I ended up having a fun Traveling Piano break with his customers. I played for only about ten minutes, we had some turns on the piano and what a relief that was for me. Creating music centers my spirit.
August 19, 2008
New York City
Corn Pickin', that is how my day started... picking corn. Charlie, my friend, the farmer I am staying with told me he would fill the Traveling Piano truck overflowing with corn for me to take up to New York City because I wanted to gift Jimmy, owner of the Focolare Bar & Grill in Little Italy. Charlie filled the truck with a bunch of corn but it was not to the top. I said, "Charlie it needs to be overflowing." He said, "it will go to waste". I said, "In New York City??? No way." I told him I would pay for the corn and dragged him back out to the fields. This corn was his first crop and his farm product to sell. He had to pay for the seed, fertilizer etc... etc... After about 600 ears of corn loaded, the Traveling Piano truck was overflowing. I gave Charlie $150 which was really like "Tipping the Piano Man" $2 bucks. The corn was worth much more and he has been housing Boner and myself while feeding me without asking for anything in return. I was glad to be his first customer for the corn. He said, "you don't have to play the big man, there's ego involved." I said, "I absolutely want to play the big man... for fun! As far as ego, my thoughts immediately went back to my original intent, which was a good intent. I wanted to manifest a fun thought full of desire originating from gratitude. I am happy to have such an ego. This guy Jimmy treated me to dinner the other day when I really needed a dinner to feel treated. There was no way this guy would have wasted the corn. I could just see that he is often in the role of the big man with his generosity and I thought... it would be fun to play big man myself and make him a recipient of my generosity switching the roles. It needed to be with a grand gesture.
On the way, I stopped and purchased some gas. The pump attendant asked if he could have some corn and I happily gave him three ears. I saw him sneak an extra husk from the truck bed when I went to use the bathroom. It pisses me off when people do stuff like this but I let it go. Once I reached my destination bedlam broke loose. People on the street began to swarm the truck. When Jimmy found us and realized what was going he dived into a fresh ear of corn to eat right on the spot. Encouraging his friends and employees to teat some fresh corn followed." I was lost walking through a cornfield once and really hungry when I discovered how good uncooked corn can taste", he says. Fellow store owners, friends and employees began to appear, "everyone take some', he yells, and to those asking, how much to purchase, "two ears for a dollar, three ears for a dollar" and then... "Take a bag to the priests in the church next door!" Someone filled a big black bag for his mother, family and neighbors at home. The truck was emptied in less than ten minutes. I heard someone say, "this is certainly a first, nobody's ever seen anything like this before on Mulberry Street before!" After it was done Jimmy says, "here Danny, I made forty bucks you get half the take". I've been learning to take whatever money people give to me no matter what, so I took it to give to Charlie to add to his payment.
Jimmy is also a dog lover with an English Bulldog and... He has two chickens that live in his house as pets. Yikes! Charlie had chickens in his house when I first met him. These two guys have a lot in common! Did you know that with corn... each strand of silk at the top of a husk is connected to its own kernel of corn on the cob? Each kernel grows from the nutrients gained from the stand of silk. When there is a missing kernel spot on a cob that is because a bug or insect ate the silk strand for that kernel. Ha, interesting. This neighborhood had all the usual inhabitants. I could see one of each type... rich, poor, drug addict, and family types... A local somewhat mentally slow neighborhood guy was constantly appearing and disappearing around all day. When I was about to leave, I was sitting and Jimmy pointed to the guy talking with Boner. They were in deep concentration with each other. No words, no vocal sounds just subtle movements. They were in amazing conversational synchronicity with their movements. They were clearly mentally communicating with each other in harmony. Wow!
I was on the street all day and night. People, tourists from all over the world met Boner. My friend Brad stopped by, my goddaughter Alisha found me by accident on the street. I ran into my dear, dear friend Stephen's old roommate, Tyler. How amazing to hook up with so many people that I know two hours away from where I am staying and in a city with millions of people? We all hung out at the Focolare Bar & Bistro. Jimmy comped meals for everyone. When it felt time to leave Little Italy I was really tired and was thinking bout getting back to Pipersville. Once again as on Sunday I pushed myself to continue. I wanted to make as much use as possible with the Traveling Piano and the opportunity for people to meet Boner. Alisha, Tyler, Boner and I jumped into the truck cab and drove off to Battery Park. I played there for a short while, nothing was really happening and I was quickly losing what oomph I had. I needed some energy to bounce with, so we headed for Union Square.
Union Square was packed with people. I parked the Traveling Piano right on the street in front of an ice cream truck that buffered the traffic flying by. The energy was too intense, the piano sound was drowned from traffic, I was afraid of getting chased away from police, most of the people were pre-occupied with performers on the square. It was a definite performance situation. I am not really into performance (showy) situations anymore but I went with the flow and began to ebb and flow between improvisation, Ragtime and Boogie Woogie music. I performed the Boogie Bumble, which I had not played in eons because I lost the ability the energy needed to perform the piece. I used the energy of the environment to help. I played it a little bit sloppy but I did get through it. After the other acts on the square began to break up then the crowd began to gravitate in my direction which was when the feeling of presence turned. I began interacting personally with people, telling them to come up and say hello to Boner. A bunch of guys began jumping up onto the piano to play. It got to the point where I was coaching people to ask whomever was playing... "Can I please have a turn now?" Hahaha... it was so great, and funny, and fun!
Singers began to appear, people with sheet music, someone downloaded lyrics from the internet via cell phone so that several people could sing with whomever was playing the piano. A beautiful opera singer from Italy sang. The ice cream truck driver warned me after about an hour that the police were about to make their rounds and then the truck left. We were left on the street with a steady stream of traffic flying fast around the back bumper of the truck. Double Decker tour buses passed with people snapping pictures from above. The police passed by tried to coax Boner off our truck and into their truck for fun. They never blinked an eye as they continued on their way. It came around to 11:00 PM and I cannot tell you how difficult it was for me to pull myself away from all the fun.
The Traveling Piano truck became a safe arena, a stage for musical experimentalists, amateurs, students, hobbyists, and pros to become adventurous together, explore their potential and courage to perform in public or to simply have the experience of playing a piano on the back of a pickup truck with a wonderful dog sitting on top outside on 14th street in the center of New York City! Aside from the beginning corn segment of the day, I had two personal moments of exceptional joy. A young guy from Toronto, Canada got onto the piano and started to improvise pure unabashed musical fun. He was great. He musically exemplified fully in mind, body and spirit the Traveling Piano's playful and experimental intent. Towards the end, after I improvised for a time a young guy asked if he could get up and play and he continued the same line and feel of improvising that I had just finished. It was not so much the notes but the energy and place from where his music was coming from was almost identical to mine. It was awesome. He had listened and learned the spirit of my creativity, took it... connected to it... and created it for himself. Awesome, it was awesome! Today, I began learning from people who play on the Traveling Piano. I began to experience new ideas, approaches to life, ways of thinking musically and otherwise. Today I realized that I must stay exposed to and open to people functioning on different levels of creativity and intelligence and from different backgrounds. What better place to find this than in New York City?
At the end of the night someone asked what would happen after I run out of money. The only thought I had was how much energy will my spirit supply in order to continue.
August 18, 2008
I know I am back on the journey because I woke up with "journey feelings"? I don't really want to feel them, it is like a hesitancy of not knowing what to do, not wanting to do it on my own, not wanting to fail, face the world, get out of bed, disappoint people who support me, a mixture of allot. I know those thoughts are all illusions. As soon as I could think I switched to gratitude. I want to get up early and jump out of bed with anticipation for the wonders of life in the day. Boner was exceptionally happy to be with me this morning. I went into the kitchen and Charlie had fresh peaches, cantaloupe and grapefruit cut up and sitting on the table for me. Nearby, I found scrambled eggs mixed with cheese waiting for me in the frying pan from the wood burning stove. Charlie had heated up the stove so I would have some hot water for a shower this morning. Is that support or what! Even though, I cried at the table. I am going to continue through with the actions to move forward because it ain't over until its over but I suppose I do not have enough faith or once again something better or more important is happening in the mix of my life that I am not in touch with. I know the basics are there. Fun, friendship, respect, musical empowerment an inspiration... gratitude, service, relationship... My hope to be at the Olympics with the Traveling Piano truck for the world to meet Boner well, it takes a day and a half to get there, the event is over in four days, the truck breaking down with 200,000 miles on it, the legalities...
I know I could really push myself and get to the Olympics by Friday. There are many things I could do. I think a part of me wants someone else to take responsibility. I'm still practicing on completely owning my dreams. I can share them with others but I have had to learn more that the bottom line... in the end, my dreams are mine alone. I must take complete responsibility for my life. That's a good thing. As a child I was never given the sense of self to do that. I have built the dreams that I have created so far, from scratch totally on my own. "They are what they are" I've done that not so much "My Way" but... the "Hard Way". Hahaha... at least I've been doing it, eh? Yesterday was exceptional fun. Today Boner and I need to recoup our energy. Take a long walk in the woods, groom a little, relax, cook a meatloaf, enjoy my life... process yesterday and today's blog which will take six hours in of itself... The pictures posted for today... my mom cradled me in the chair I am sitting in, (now I cradle Boner) and as I drove out of the cornfield I caught a visual of a sunflower, one of many growing between the corn stalks (I must drive my truck out into the field to use the phone and get any reception), a big mouth bass finally had it's last day in the pond (half the size of Boner) and there are still ton's of them, 20 years old swimming around.
August 17, 2008
I drove to New York cities' Chinatown today to use up my promotional material and find a miracle transport to China in time before the Olympics end. The entire way I practiced focusing on being in the moment and feeling good. I wanted for the day to take me for a ride. It did. I was carried through and cared for in typical Traveling Piano fashion. I found a spot in Chinatown near Lafayette street. There was allot of foot traffic. I parked by the curb. As I tired to re-adjust the parking angle of the car it died. No power. I thought, "well I guess this is the spot I'm supposed to be in, might as well do what I came here for, create some music, I'll deal with the truck problem later when I need to." After about two hours the police showed up to clear the lane for traffic. "I can't move the truck officer, its dead." I showed her by trying to turn on the dead battery. She says, "well I guess there is nothing we can do then, the truck will have to stay." I became a feature on the street being the only vehicle. The only downer is that we were parked in front of a smelly fish store. After three hours, commotion arrived with a fire engine and other official vehicles. The cop comes running up to me with attitude, "get this thing outta here right now." I said, I can't officer, its broken down. He says "do what you need to do and get outta here now!" He parked his vehicle behind me and left. I went to turn the key, the truck started and I thought, "I guess its time to go."
I drove to another Chinese neighborhood on East Broadway. Every corner had hundreds of people waiting for buses. Seeing as everyone was a local it gave me my first feel of what China might be like. Out of thousands I ran into only three other people who were not Chinese and most did not understand English. This period of time was different from the first in that I began to interact personally with people. Guys living on the street especially grab onto the Traveling Piano truck and specifically to Boner. I embrace them always, for a time but then I usually disappoint because they latch on so no one else can enter into any connection. After about ten minutes, I try as delicately as I can to move others who are waiting to greet us into the situation and the guys usually leave feeling rejected. One lady (not homeless) got onto the piano to play. She was so happy, "Oh this is my luck day, this is my lucky day!" she said with joyful anticipation of her daughter in China seeing her picture from this blog. I thought, "you need to keep conscious Danny, the reality that the world is meeting Boner, this part of your dreams, this goal is being accomplished via the internet, with all the tourists in New York if not at the Olympics."
After about five hours of performing, it began to get dark and I vascilated between going home and playing the piano until I died. I had not eaten all day, could not force myself to take the time, knew I would be in trouble with the issue, dodged it one more time and said, "I guess, I'll just call it a day and just head home." After siting a half mile from the Holland Tunnel moving two feet every three minutes I said to myself, "you cannot waste this time, find a spot and play until the traffic thins out." I saw a busy cross walk and pulled over to see what was going on. As soon as I realized it was Little Italy (a spot in New York where I always wanted to play and visit for a reason that I do not know) a guy crossing the street comes up to my window, "hey you play the piano, come to my restaurant up the street and play." He had a girl at the restaurant waiting to sing and audition but they had no piano. I pulled the truck over to the curb to talk with him about it and the truck died again. I thought, "well, I guess this is the spot to play in now." I told him that the truck might start up later and I would come around then. The street was closed to traffic but he told the guards to let me in whenever I wanted. We walked to the restaurant so I knew where it was and he asked if i wanted a meal. I just couldn't get it together to eat so I said, how about later when I'm done doing my thing. No problem. The street was fun. One young guy on vacation with his family from Ohio jumped up onto the truck and played Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag almost exactly as I do, real fast! I said to him, "don't ever let anyone tell you to play that piece slow, play it just like you do, the way that it feels good for you!" Hahaha... I'm going to get slammed for saying that, Joplin wrote on all his music something like, "play this slow!"
When I was done I went around the corner and up the street to tell James the restaurant owner why I had never shown up to play piano outside his restaurant. (dead truck) When I was about to leave when he yells, "Don't you want your Penne Ala Vodka, I just ordered you Penne Ala Vodka." I thought he was offering me a drink and said, no thanks. He said, "I thought you wanted a meal?" Ohhhhh... ok! I was thinking, "What the hell is Penne Ala Vodka?" When the pasta dish arrived and after one taste... I had to get into the moment, slow down, stop the Traveling Piano shtick going on in my head, concern of how I was going to get out of New York with a dead truck or that Boner was sitting alone in the truck with all the equipment exposed outside in the dark down the street and around the corner. This meal was so delicious. I was being treated to a most delicious dinner, wow! ...and I really needed it. I thought, "I did not give myself the time to eat all day, I would have eaten junk and here I am eating a most delicious hearty, saucy, delicious, cheesy Italian pasta in Little Italy's popular Focolare Bar & Bistro, man am I being taken care of or what?" After I was finished ( I ate nice and slow putting my fork down afet every bite :) I told James I wanted to come back and play some music for him. He said Tuesday might be good and during the conversation for some strange reason, i can't remember why turned to corn from Charlie's farm. James says, "Corn, I love corn on the cob, its my favorite thing!" I told him I'd have a real treat for him on Tuesday.
Back to the Traveling Piano truck. With a full belly, Boner being himself, a real champ sitting with his head out the window waiting for me, I said to myself, "It is 11pm on a Sunday night, everything closed down, what are you going to do, just go through the motions one step at a time like you did earlier in the day, don't panic, don't worry, start by putting everything away and get ready to leave." I did that and while finishing inside the cab I said to my dog, "Bo, were going to need some magic here just like earlier in the day." I pulled myself outside the truck cab and a service truck with a yellow blinking light pulls up along side of me. i quickly yelled, "yo, can you give me a jump?" The guy says, "ok" and in less than a minute I was up and running. I asked him if I could return the favor and play some music for him, give him some money... he said, "no problem I need to be on my way." I ran out of New York and back to Pipersville, Pa for the first time. I've been riding the same route from Philadelphia back and forth to NY for 35 years. This was a new experience. It should have taken me an hour and fifteen minutes. It took three hours, after looping on and off the NJ turnpike three times I ended up driving back to Philly and then up to Pipersville. I had no mind to think, it was Pavlov's Dog time. I was one very tired piano man when I got back.
August 16, 2008
Today was a day to lay low. I took it real easy... took a nap mid-day, cleaned the truck, worked to get ready to go to New York tomorrow, watched Michael Phelps do his thing at the Olympics on television (a very inspirational moment for me), spent some time "believing" in possibilities, created music outside just Bo and I for about an hour ... and then as I was about to call it a night four guys, two sons of a friend who came to the Traveling Piano sendoff last month stopped into Charlie's farm to camp overnight, listen to music and roast corn over a fire. Boner has his first taste of corn on the cob with the full august moon shining bright in the sky.
August 15, 2008
I need to become "still" and feel my way into knowingness but it seems to be a challenge to do this. Moment by moment I move forward. I pulled Charlie off his tractor today for a trip into the corn fields with Boner. We headed for some musical fun. I've been really enjoying have a friend to act stupid with. Time was spent calling and emailing a few leads to transport the Traveling Piano truck to China this week to the tune of possibly $40,000? Hmmm... that might be a problem.
Afterwards I drove to the local car shop to find a passenger window release switch. The Traveling Piano's window broke. We did not find what we needed. I played some music for everyone and drove on my way. Tomorrow is another day. I took Bo and Tilly (Charlie's dog) for a late afternoon walk and ended up in the nearby field at the house where Sara, Chip (Charlie's son) and their two year old daughter Samantha live. We got an invite for some dinner, eggplant (fresh from the field) parmesan and I fetched the Traveling Piano for some music. I improvised over the fields with tall trees on three sides, the full moon rising and the beautiful voice of young Samantha in the background calling my name for attention from the house balcony.
August 14, 2008
August 13, 2008
In the local elementary school parking lot I found an internet signal today so this is where I will be heading daily until I leave. I worked my butt off organizing my life today, I am so grateful to have this process that I am going through. I'm not looking back to reflect on what I left behind, there is no reason to. The present is so interesting. Why live in the past? This is how I feel today. I began to review some of my old musical repertoire and the energy needed to reach performance level was not an easy task to achieve. I'm a little concerned because most of my sheet music blew away in the wind some time ago and the music is not to be found anywhere so once it disappears from my head...
I drove by a house that had a satellite installer sign out front so I pulled in the driveway to pick the guys brain about communication while in China. International internet satellite service is price prohibitive for me. While at the house I met his wife, daughter and grandson. We had a fun, Traveling Piano experience. I live for these experiences. Back on the farm Charlie cooked dinner as he has been doing nightly, what a fantastic support he is. Between the two of us we ate about 15 ears of fresh picked corn from the field, just picked a half hour before. I don't really like corn on the cob unless its really good. Charlie's corn is REALLY good! He's getting ready to sell the corn for the first time by putting ads in local paper classified sections, going around to farm stands etc... He's is very excited about it. I wish I had time to join him in the adventure. Focus, Danny.
August 12, 2008
Point Pleasant, PA
Many hours spent today dealing with communication issues. It is tricky moving forward with this journey without easy access to phone or internet. I went into New Hope, PA today. It felt like a big city and is really a small town but I feel very far removed from people in the area where I am staying so to see people walking in the streets felt like a big deal. I stopped at the local Starbucks. I thought I would do my daily blog with a cup of java. I was surprised that they did not provide internet access unless... I purchased a T-Mobile account at $10 per hour. I told them, "I just paid $2 an hour to park outside the store, I'm paying $2 for a medium cup of coffee, I think I'll pass on paying $10 for an hours worth of internet access especially when I can get it for free, without cost at Burger King!"
On the way back to where I am staying I treated myself to some musical improvisation. I drove to the waters edge at the Point Pleasant, PA tubing on the Delaware river. Dan the owner was there and I asked how many tubes it would take to float the Traveling Piano truck down the Delaware River. At first he thought I was crazy but then I got him thinking... "well, we do have a barge." I played music as a couple from Bridgeton, NJ paddled their way around the rivers bend to find us on the beach. What a feast for the senses to feel and smell the air while watching strong clouds in the sky above with the sun setting on bright green hills of trees. I could see the river as a canyon with its water smooth and almost still. At the same time I was adding to the experience for others by creating unexpected musical spontaneity. It was an easy mellow yet intense earthly surprise with the Traveling Piano's music, Boner and Myself.
To have the opportunity to express experiences such as this musically... I cannot compare the experience to anything equal... or better even.
August 11, 2008
Life is very strange in the moment. I do not have access to the internet so my routine, planning, research is out of whack. Moving into the China phase of my life, I need to re-adjust to move forward. Seeing the olympics on television boggles my mind in not being there. Is it still possible? Yes. The goal is still attainable. My present focus is to get my life in order. I'm working like a maniac in cleaning up my mess at Charlie's house where I am staying, packing away my career archives, things left over from my old house, etc... Is doing this a distraction?
Boner sticks uncomfortably close by my side. I took him for a walk today in the corn field which was very needed. He took a few dives into one of the ponds to fetch a stick. Bo is missing his secure sleeping environment. I brought his bed blanket which helps. No music today, I feel a bit uneasy about that, not sure why. I focus on not becoming complacent with anything and question if my focus on the present moment is the wrong focus. I keep the faith that I am doing good things so good things will continue to happen.
August 10, 2008
Last night I began to have an emotional meltdown, not a usual experience. I suppose this will be a tendency from time to time as I adjust to this new life. I am presently staying with my friend Charlie. When I started to feel overwhelming insecurity, I took the Traveling Piano truck into the corn field and created music for the universe, the stars, the moon, the sounds of the night. We were all together as one.
Charlie is really an attentive man who listens and observes without getting lost in whatever is happening. When I start with him about a concern, a sort of push and shove can begin, something like, "I want the things I move here to be cared for." he just sort of mirrors the interaction and the communication seems to go no where. Hahaha... it is very interesting. What is wonderful about all of it is that I can see my communication with people have become negotiable. I'm learning about conflict. I have a lot of room for improvement but... my God, I have learned a lot through life with my progressive desire to learn.
In the morning Charlie cut up some cantaloupe and grapefruit for breakfast as well as offered bacon and pancakes he had cooked earlier.. He does stuff like this. He consciously works to to make me feel welcome all the while making sure I stay conscious of his intent... to help me get the hell outta here and over to China! This man helps to feed many people. I'm not talking about 5 or 10 people or only people in need, I'm talking about everyone he comes across. He told me his was taking about 100 Zucchini from his garden to give away to people at church this morning. I think most people he deals with are not conscious of his generosity and surely they do not know the extent of it. Charlie is generous because it is fun. He enjoys giving. He knows and experiences the worth and benefits of generosity. His altruistic behavior is not selfless. I do not believe the possibility exists ...altruistically selfless behavior. Personally, my goal in relationship with Charlie is to embrace his altruistic behavior in harmony with my altruistic joy. I do not want lose myself in his joy or subconsciously try to make him adjust to mine. I also want to live in altruistic harmony with the world and everyone in it.
As people share their space with me it is a challenge, a good and absolutely necessary challenge to constantly remind myself that I am in a shared space, making use of possessions that do not belong to me. I have chosen let go of my own personal, private space in life for now. I must be conscious and diligent to care for the space and belongings of others and to do this in desire... selflessly and with gratitude.
August 09, 2008
August 08, 2008
Got my rocks, (I moved them all from my yard to my friends house for safe keeping, more important than any furniture)... got my dog, got my truck, got my spirit and a body that gets me around... do I need more? Yes... to be in China for the Olympics. That was one of the catalytic reasons for selling my home and letting go of all my possessions.
I cleaned out my house, said goodbye and said to myself... "It is done." I left the past. As I spent a short while crying it came to mind how some people on the edge of death claim to see their whole life run by them. This happened to me. I saw my past forty-five years, the many eras, generations, phases of life in my home, family stuff from childhood relationships with siblings, thanksgiving dinners, the acting out of my adolescent antics, the secrets, the years of depression alone, the many Christmas parties, the empowerment from my dad to purchase the house, being in my mothers arms as a child on the sofa, raising Boner, my son Mike, hanging out with friends, the different looks and styles of decor through the years, the feelings of security the house provided...
Now I reach out to feel security in different ways through the creation of spontaneous fun, friendship, respect, musical empowerment and inspiration and at no cost for anyone and with no commercial, organizational or political interest. I hope this Journey of Peregrinating Musical Exploration has a long run. I hope the world gets to meet Boner before he retires (now coming on 14 years of age). I hope to meet many new friends and to stay financially responsible. My natural free spirit is not now homeless... I am Home-Free!
August 07, 2008
There are many thoughts and feelings happening as I let go of life as I have known it. They are all present at the same time. I had no expectations as to what I would feel. i don't even know what I'm feeling now. I'm not sure I want to. I know when my niece stopped by to pick up a last few things today and wanted to take pictures of me in my empty house I said, "no way". As she started to cry about her own memories of it all, I said "save that for after you leave please". When she said, "I thought this was about fun and joy" I thought, "I'll get to that in my time and it is not now in the present moment with the chaos of moving the last most important things."
I gave my friend Charlie the refrigerator bed and lawn mower. He gave me his strongest reality check yet today. "My place ain't your home, we've talked nothing about that, get your ass outta here and over to China. Hahahaha..... yikes! As I watched my food, sleep and yard toy all drive away today I felt some sadness. Under a billion layers of different feelings there is surely enormous sadness. No time to wallow, I need to get the rest together and get outta here first thing in the morning... forever. (I will be coming back to get some more rocks) I could not draw out this process longer if I tried. Now I won't be sleeping in the house but I'll still be around outside of it? The house utilities will be shut off tomorrow and the new owner's workers will arrive first thing in the morning to start gutting to refurbish. Working down to what I need to take with me to function, the bare essentials... is excruciating. Can we talk clothes? I threw away 90 percent of them today and will need to do another 8 percent when I get permanently on the road.
August 06, 2008
I was vacuuming my old garage floor today thinking of how I want to leave my home with respectful love. I want it to be as clean as I can get it. As of Friday morning I'll be out permanently. I have a lot of gratitude for having had stewardship of the house. I am thankful to have been able to pay for it, my home for about 45 years. It is amazing that I personally moved everything out. It took everyday for two months. I could have moved in a week with help but I choose a longer process. I was too cheap to pay anyone. Actually, I don't have any money to spare. Actually, actually... there were many creative reasons I took the path I did. I notated them all in my writings. It took over a year to let go of all my material possessions... sell and give it all away. I would have preferred a musically financial patronage in order to continue but whatever it takes, I will do to play out this Wildest of Dreams that has taken on a life in of itself.
I want to embrace whatever time it takes for me to accomplish this life of mine. How fast I do something is not as important as "doing." I don't know what to say here as I write. I remind myself daily that the process is more important than the goal. The goal is to enjoy everyday to the fullest with the Journey of Peregrinating Musical Exploration which will begin again in full flow starting Friday... without a conventional home. I will be staying with friends to begin this next stage of life. If you can put us (Bo and I) up for a few nights that would be nice to know. Yikes... The world, the universe I will be floating around in freely. Whew! Really? My goal was to get to the China for the Olympics to have the world meet Boner before he retires. Hmmm... Yesterday a friend I had met at a regional Burning Man festival last year created a monthly contribution of $20 for the tour via paypal on the Boner The Dog website. Last month someone create a yearly $50 contribution subscription. I will need more acts of kindness, faith and support such as these to continue. Two so far... Do you think I'm kidding? I'm not. Two so far... looking forward...
August 05, 2008
August 04, 2008
August 03, 2008
I want to start thinking "fast moving" not manic, crazy, hectic, frantic, frenzied or chaotic just... fast. I have been thinking slow thoughts and when that happens I start to beat myself up. "This is not working, your going to slow," etc... I felt a bit agitated and impatient today. Everything is not going totally my way? People continue to throw unsolicited negative crap in my direction you know like... you can't do this, that won't work forget China stuff? I need to remember to stay in the moment because if I do not all fun is lost. I start worrying about money, no home, my possessions with which I failed to create financial security on any significant level etc... Fun, friendship, respect, musical empowerment and inspiration... I'm still holding on with my old house... time to let go...
August 02, 2008
Slow moving... picking up the remnants of my life to pack and finish the ending of my move out of the house - visit to the library for visa information - walking in a circle, dazed - translation of the Traveling Piano mission statement in writing from English to Chinese - wearing Chinese 2008 Olympic Tea Shirt for support - trip the post office to forward my mail - fingernail biting - making arrangements with four friends to pick up their belongings stored in the house before they lose them forever - letter of invitation letter - Boner service dog document web research - people to send letter of invitation research - distances from Chinese city to city research - taking a walk - blogging - improvisational music download - along with a letter of invitation I must buy a plane ticket to get the visa... yikes...
August 01, 2008
Most of the day was spent finishing the Traveling Piano Send-Off's chronicle from last weekend. Please read it on the Tour Log July. Click on the link here or to the left of this page in the menu.
When I was creating music last night with my friend Tim fire spinning we talked a bit about our creating art together. Last week and tonight I fluttered between trying to capture our first experience... and also wanted to connect with my own individual personal experience now that I am more sure of myself and comfortable with that ...I also wanted to connect with what I was actually doing in the moment musically with Tim and also his girl friend Mary Beth's fire spinning a few nights ago. He reminded me how the first time I had a lot more changes and space in my musical breathing and this might have been because I was not sure of what I was doing, saying or trying to communicate, I had not yet found my voice back then. He was right! Now as I am finding my unique individual musical voice I must stay conscious and aware to not fall into the habit of only wanting to listen to myself. I must also stay with experimental random openness, not focus too much on clear communication, keep a balance and embrace the idea of mistakes, especially with other people.
There are also trust issues in allowing myself to open up in a musical way ...interacting in a musically intimate relationship. I have always had trust issues in general but in the beginning they were not so conscious musically with Tim. I didn't know what I was doing, I was distracted with other thoughts. Actually, I was just more connected with the art he was creating than myself. Ramble, ramble, ramble... I'm rambling.
My present vulnerable, transitional life was also affecting my musical ability to let go in play. I found myself a little afraid to allow musical silence so I had a tendency to just talk and talk and talk and talk musically to stay ahead of or cover up uncomfortably feelings. I was projecting un-sureness and trying to avoid the feelings of that, ugh. Man, I need to give myself a break here! Last night we did get some play and creativity going too!
As well as the writings, I spent most of today cleaning up what is left to move out of my house completely, researching the China leg of this journey.