HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
Use the links to the left to read a past Month or Year... and then there is always your Backspace to return to a past page.
Would you like to support 16 years of Traveling Piano work without fees, tips or commercial affiliation? Venmo: Dan Kean @TravelingPiano 2156399378 - Paypal Direct: www.paypal.me/dannykean - And of Course this Website Contribution Page. Or email me for snail mail.
March 31, 2014
Lake Maggiore, Florida
What a day! It started off with a drive to the computer store. On the way I noticed a park that might be good for a musical sunset. It happens to be about four minutes from where I've been staying. My computer situation took a major dive into oblivion today. With my sense of patience already in bad shape well, the bottom line... its all going to cost $1500 bucks minimum and take a lot more time. There are many options. The computer I have serves my purpose and no other computer I have researched does what I need so... that limits the options I'm willing to take. A friend told me they do not read this blog everyday because when they do, they cannot put my life into context from any one blog entry. It is what it is. What is needed for my life concerning my health, my patience and tolerance... I know what to do... ha, I'm not going to say anymore about that. Most of the rest of today was kinda of lost. Time was spent reading a bit while waiting for the video I'm posting now to upload to Youtube. What should take five minutes takes three hours on the computer I'm using. It is of a musical trio I met this weekend named the Screaming Js.
They are a rinky tink, boogie musical band of hillbilly hippies with an acoustic piano that travels in their van with them along, a drum set and string bass from Ashville, North Carolina. These guys are pure, raw musical fun, I love them! The fact that they would jump onto the Traveling Piano to play some says a lot about their musical ability to share and be part of everyones life. About fifteen minutes before sunset tonight I drove out to the park I found this morning. Within minutes two sisters came up to the truck. One of them played the piano so I gave her the seat to play for the sunset. Another guy came along and got onto the piano. Then he had to go get his partner and then he kinda forced me to stay until his dad arrived. By that time it was dark and my chaotic head was full blown crazy. Hopefully we will get together again and spend some quality time. The park was full of palm trees on a swampy waters edge. Once it got dark, all of a sudden the bugs got so thick I was coughing from sucking them with a breath of air. The air was full of a buzz sound, I got out real quick. Before that... the truck was parked on a small grass jetty area. I was glad I had not let Mo run loose because... three huge alligators appeared in the water. They surrounded us on all three sides in the water less than fifty feet away. They be looking to see if Mo might be some food for dinner..
March 30, 2014
St. Petersburg, Florida
First, I did not feel rested but had to get up because I had planned to meet somewhere with the Screaming Js, a band I met last night so they could get onto the Traveling Piano to play. Last night before leaving the Blueberry Patch a guy pushed my "can't play the piano" button so I had to show him that he could in fact play, that anyone can play the piano. Jake's piano from the Screaming JS band was sitting right there and so I showed him and then I began to improvise to try out the piano. The other band members came directly into the opportunity to connect with me through music. I went with the flow and we all began to create music together. People gathered around. it was a very special feeling for me. To think that for most of my life I was too afraid to create music with other musicians. This was only about the twentieth time ever for me to do it. Everyone in our musical sphere was in awe. I was simply feeling love. I was giving to someone else musically and as a result they were giving musically to me, with me. There is no greater feeling than to connect as one with other people through music. It is way beyond any human realm of existence. That is why I was not rested from sleep today. The experience ruminated in my head all night.
Hooking up with the band today was crazy. I was crazy in the head in knowing we only had a short time together and in wanting to get some good video of them in the Traveling Piano truck while keeping other observers in the area out of my way while using the camera. I couldn't keep the camera steady and my nerves from taking control. There was no good lighting, it was either too sunny or too shady. Oh well, it was what it was. I kept trying to remember the fun! Afterwards I landed up on a street in the center of the city. There was a divider of plant life between my parking spot and the walkway so only people who were really interested interacted with us. It was great because I was able to get lost in my head creating music on a fairly busy city street with tall buildings, warm sun, palm trees all around. We met the guy who does the television commercial for OxiClean with his wife and baby, they got onto the Traveling Piano truck. A woman who sells produce had only two lemons with her and wanted for me to have them. I got to jam with a guy who played the harp (harmonica) in his very stylized way. A few more dogs got onto the top of the piano with Mo. We met lots of good looking people! The band was playing a gig nearby so I sat to enjoy them for a set. Ha, then on the way out I stopped at the local supermarket and again the fun continued. Once I got inside of where I am staying I collapsed into a long nap.
March 29, 2014
St. Petersburg, Florida
It rained hard and strong for most of the day. I organized computer files on my spare computer until I was so bored I couldn't do it anymore. I have a friend who has begun to work a side job just for me and gives me all the money made to help keep the Traveling Piano going. A very interesting thing happened the other day. As I paid out seven hundred dollars for my computer repair and posted that fact onto the website blog I was being sent seven hundred dollars in contribution by my friend. Is that amazing or what? Seven hundred was going out at the very same time seven hundred was coming in... all on its own!!! At night after the rain stopped, I went with Josh, the guy I am staying with and his co-worker to the Blueberry Patch. It is a hippy hangout we visited last time I was in town. There were several bands playing and a piano player from one of them jumped onto the Traveling Piano beforehand. Wow! He was a Hillbilly, Boogie, Raggin' Piano Man and as good as it can get. His group is called the Screaming Js and they are based out of Asheville, North Carolina. He travels with his acoustic piano in a big van!
March 28, 2014
St. Petersburg, Florida
It was one of those days where as soon as I took the truck cover off and got onto the piano seat it began to rain. As soon as I got off the piano and put the tarp back on, the rain stopped. That happened three times in different places until I just played in the rain. It did not help the piano speaker but, it is what it is. I preserved and eventually found myself playing with no rain. Mo and I did a lot of walking. I got up at nine this morning so I wanted to tire myself out and get to bed early so I can get up even earlier tomorrow. From all the walking when I climbed onto the truck I must have twisted something in my hip. Major pain... if I move in the wrong way. I've got pain traveling through my body. It was in my neck big time a few days ago. I did some breathing and yoga that I'm hoping will eventually help. The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg began today. I had been wondering what was going on. For weeks the city has been setting up for it. They are racing Nascars through the streets. The sound all day long was like a constant, tenacious mosquito with a buzz larger than an atom bomb going off. I don't know how the locals can take it. The first place I tried to create some music was at a local beach where I've been before.
We got swarmed with love bugs, little lightweight black flies originally from South America. Not even the birds want to eat them because they taste so bad. Mo proved it by catching one with his mouth. He tried to get rid of the taste for over two minutes. Rain, flies, and buzzing nascar motors, we got outta that area quick. While meandering through the streets of St. Petersburg I'm really surprised and the variety of neighborhoods and environments. There are many cobblestone and brick streets here. I sat in a wealthy neighborhood trying to get comfortable with the idea of having money and being around money again. Every day I am in awe of the birds in Florida. As the day wore on we ended up where we started. It was quieter and without bugs. I think this spot I've found even though the sun sets behind me is as awesome as anywhere I've been. Dusk arriving over the water with shades of blue and gray almost as a mist... parrots swinging into nests deep within palm trees standing tall on the beach, birds of every size and shape feeding from the sand as the tide goes out... it was awe-inspiring for music. My favorite tonight was to watch the Great Blue Herons take off and land at the waters edge. The flow and rhythm was oh so big and smooth. We also interacted with a lot of people!
March 27, 2014
St. Petersburg, Florida
My computer went back to a repair shop today. I'll be without it for about a week. Thank God I'm with friends who will have us stay with them. Its going to cost about $700 when all is said and done. I don't know how much I'm getting ripped off and I had to pay upfront so I can only hope they will follow through. They can't be worse than the Apple store who did nothing or Apple Care who never got back to me after repeated tries. I took Mo and Zion to the dog park and I walked back and forth for about a half hour to get some exercise. I don't know whether I'm chilling out and thats why I have little energy (as in I'm coming down from stress) or I'm in fact stressed over the computer (probably) ...or one of about fifty other reasons that I can create. Bottom line is I am working on a spare computer that I have. Everything takes three times as long to process and I can't really work with any pictures but its better than nothing. Changing the way I do things, changes in general... I've set my life up for constant change to the extreme. Gotta keep it interesting... gotta take the fear with the faith, the joy with the whatever the opposite of that is. Gotta remember to not get complacent. I must think about where I'm going from here, why and when. Yesterday I created a mess in my space. Looking for one thing I had to pull everything apart. First thing this morning I straightened everything out as organization is paramount. Part of me wants to disappear from this blog for a few days to make people wonder, to have people feel the uncertainty of my life. Fuck that, I enjoy checking in for myself with this blog... most of the time.
March 26, 2014
St. Petersburg, Florida
I woke up feeling a bit sick, very tired and I felt it coming on last night. I don't know what is wrong but I do know to take it easy. Airborn, an immune booster works well for me. Later in the day, I'm not sure how it happened, Josh and Courtney and their dog Zion went to a dog park thats close by. Joshed friend Chris showed up, their were neighbors there. A young guy got onto the piano and played his first note of music ever on the piano and his look of awe will be in embedded into my spirit forever. Our time spent at the park kicked out of my system whatever was ailing me.
March 25, 2014
St. Petersburg, Florida
At ten in the morning it was pouring rain. I woke up and went back to sleep. I had a really disturbing dream, I don't remember the details but the feeling stayed with me all day. Computer issues drain me emotionally. I called the computer store, they don't know what they are doing. I called apple phone support and they were not going to charge me because the serial number for my computer was from some school in West Virginia. What the...? The guy said basically lets not question it but... I could not replicated the problem with him... of course. So I'm working with this computer that might crash at any moment and I'll lose the work I was doing in the process. Constantly backing up the data is confusing me. The sun came out. Its kinda of cold outside, and I feel like I'm coming down with a cold. The temperatures going into the forties tonight. I drove with Mo to a dog park and met people. I drove to another place and hung out with people playing music for a little bit... in each spot. I'm feeling out of sorts without any good reason but I do feel good that I took advantage of the day to create music and meet with some people.
March 24, 2014
St. Petersburg, Florida
Today is the first day it has rained all day or even for more than a half hour since entering Florida back in the beginning of February. As a result, I've been out with the truck and with music almost everyday. I woke up today more peaceful than I can remember. Peaceful translates into no thoughts. That was really nice. It feels good to get some computer desktop filing done, emails sent, some organization... I went food shopping with Courtney who along with Josh is sharing their home with Mo and me. Food just keeps getting more and more expensive. She put out eighty bucks, I put out one eighty with gratitude as they they are letting us stay with them. Then the computer went on the blitz again. I'm backing up all over the place and finding work-arounds. What a pain in the ass.
March 23, 2014
St. Petersburg, Florida
Before the rain that is forecast for tomorrow I felt the necessity to use the Traveling Piano today. Everyday I deal with not wanting to waste any time without doing ma' thang. I checked out a spot someone suggested which did not work out. That created meandering. I found the beach spot where music was created last time we were in St. Petersburg but it was too crowded with people and I would have had to park between other cars which never feels good. Then into neighborhoods, I remember writing last month when in Hilton Head South Carolina about the wealth and houses. Today I was reminded there is wealth and poverty everywhere. The wealthiest neighborhoods and houses are everywhere as well as the poorest. I'm always working on my perspective about people and how they manifest money and material wealth. As I drove by massive houses I kept telling myself, "this is what they are into" it is what it is, enjoyable, it gives them a feeling that they want, an image, a persona. I suppose it has something to do with what people used to say to me. The Traveling Piano is what I do, it is not who I am. Thinking about that is always a little confusing to me. All the while driving around I was thinking, "fun, friendship, respect" looking for a place to play on the water which is rare everywhere now as individuals have claimed practically all the nature and land for themselves and have made it impossible to share.
Mo and I ended back at the beach and I was lucky enough to get the parking spot on the end. There were less people as it was the end of the day. Everyone, loved the music. It was more about my music today than people getting onto the piano seat. The sound must have traveled farther than I could have imagined because older people were coming out of high rises in the distance. They would come up and say, "we heard this beautiful music and had to find it walking from window to window in our condominium, then to the lobby, all around outside and finally here to the beach." As part of my mission states that I "use synchronisity and spontaneity to create music for people to discover" God, I love that! The beach with people playing, swimming, kayaking, running, bicycling, walking hand in hand, walking dogs, playing volleyball, socializing, eating, relaxing... it goes on an on... the stimulation for music was awesome. To observe it all through music was amazing. It was like watching a time-lapse video as the day turned into night and the activities slowly diminished. I watched people disappeared from the beach until Mo and I were almost completely alone with music.
March 22, 2014
Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
I went to pick up my computer from the repair shop. They said it was full of gunk and dog hair. They cleaned it and gave it back to me. Now I just have to hope that was the problem. Still, for about an hour afterwards I fought depression. I'm too sensitive to situations that are not perfect, still... after all these years. I reminded myself that life will continue to throw problems at me and they will be larger... especially when the truck dies. I want to use every situation I can get my hands on, to practice for bigger problems when they come. This area I am in has a lot of really good looking people! I mean in shape, groomed, swanky, stylish, young... not so much in the retired people beach areas tho. The stores are more attractive than most of the houses, even the churches.
After leaving the mall I began to meander. I meandered in traffic no more than ten miles an hour just like yesterday... for hours. I drove to Largo, Florida and then followed the ocean south. Many of the towns reminded me of the New Jersey Shore when it is not crowded, very peaceful and quiet, civil, sunny and warm. Finding places to create music... not easy, although I did find a spot in Indian Rocks Beach. I met people there from my old home town up north. I drove back to the neighborhood where I am staying and pulled into a little park I've had my eye on. There are new boat docks there and I created music while people pulled their boats in. That was kind of fun creating boat landing music. A few homeless people hung out with us. I'm very behind in getting people pictures I promised to send. Rest, organization, preparation to move forward, down time... it all takes a seat behind living music in the present moment, sometimes with others.
March 21, 2014
Computer problems... ugh! The screen went to vertical lines and then slid halfway off the desktop and got stuck off kilter. I am using my spare to the bones computer. I almost sold it this year and am glad I did not! While driving at a stop and start speed of ten miles an hour for over twelve miles during rush hour on Friday from St. Petersburg to Tampa to take the computer to the repair store... I coped. With deep breaths of gratitude and allowing myself to feel secure I thought, "Its sunny and warm, I'm on a glorious bridge over water, I have a place to stay, I'm secure, I have the money to pay for a repair, I'll meet new people, thank God I have a GPS or I'd never be able to navigate the highway system, " ...when I got to the place I found a covered garage which was a relief concerning the sun for Mo, a parking space directly up front to the door of the store I walked in and the escalator to the second floor was right there (the equipment I was carrying was super heavy) and, the store was right in front of me at the top of the escalator. What luck! The store was in the biggest mall I've ever seen the Tampa Bay International Mall and I was guided (from above) directly to the spot I needed to be in. Computer repair and dealing with that is a very emotionally draining experience for me. I must trouble shoot, learn how to operate my life in a different way until its fixed, deal with repair people who know practically nothing, wait for the repair and not attach other problems and projected fears to the immediate situation... My friends Josh and Courtney, when I first told them of the problem there was no chance they were going to pander to me or bond with drama! Wow, I was thankful for that. It helped me to get on myself to focus on the process that was needed in order to keep going. My impulse is to simply shut down. I gave up the fear and anything else attached and put one foot in front of the other. I left the computer for overnight service.
March 20, 2014
St. Petersburg, Florida
I'm back with my friends Josh and Courtney. It feels real good. Before leaving the Keys, I got a picture of Charlie the neighborhood Great White Herring. The temperature is in the sixties which feels like winter compared to the Florida Keys, lol. I'm taking it easy. My body is weak from all the driving and the alligator experiences yesterday are as alive as can be with spirit. I got some really itchy bites from bugs while taking pictures of the alligators in the grass. My computer is having failure symptoms and that is always painful. Its as painful as it can get. I spent the majority of the day backing everything up not knowing when it will all end, how I will deal with it, what resources exist, where, how, when, how much, etc... I just have to keep going and doing the best that I can. Most people cannot realize how important my computer is to me. Maybe this online stuff is too important. Its just when it goes I'll need to operate life in a totally different, unknown way which is always a challenge. And when I get it going again sort through so much to keep everything in order... oh God, no need to project. Its happened before, it will happen again. Life is life, I'll deal with it. Mo and my friends dog Zoie and I went to look for a dog park. We found a beautiful setting by the bay with grass and plenty of room to walk and explore. It was sunset and I had to parallel park on a neighborhood street that was not conducive to creating music which was ok by me as I feel exhausted. Never-the-less I found an interested couple and invited them over to the Traveling Piano for a short while and they pulled in another interested guy from Honduras who is a student in the area. Fun... Friendship... Respect... Musical Empowerment and Inspiration. The student was literally stunned that I was not looking for an exchange of some type for our interaction.
March 19, 2014
We headed out from Key Largo for St. Petersburg today. First, I spent some time with my new friend Barbara having some morning coffee and Scott a guy I had met back in 2011 after the hurricane in Joplin, Missouri... he happened to be passing right by the motel where I've stayed, traveling with his wife and kids on the way to Key Largo. We got to meet again! He was in Joplin as I was... as an individual to help. He is also a facebook friend of mine. In August, for the first and last time ever I asked my facebook friends for some emotional support in a financial way to help keep me going. The process was very difficult for me and I still harbor hurt feelings over many friends who did not respond well at all. Scott was someone who I thought would have responded who did not. I brought it up to him today and he was one step ahead of me which really touched my heart. I am still learning that there are literally hundreds of reasons people do not respond to a call for support and none of them really have anything to do with me. Constantly, I work to understand life and my feelings to make it all about joy and nothing else. It felt joyful to see him again and meet his wife and family and for all of them to have a Traveling Piano experience and for him to contribute to my life! I said goodbye to Barb whom I hope will stay active as a friend in my life.
While driving across the state I felt a little disappointed in myself for not having put more effort into seeing an alligator. At a toll booth I asked, "do you know where I can see an alligator?" The woman said to start looking on the side of the road in about forty miles. There was a sign that said "Scenic View Florida Everglades" I thought, "Can anything look less scenic?" It was like driving across Kansas, totally flat with grass instead of corn as high as an elephants eye. The route is called Alligator Alley and it looks like they made a waterway all along it for alligators? Who could see an alligator while driving sixty miles an hour with traffic on your tail? I stopped at a few recreational areas where there was no chance of any alligators but if I had more time I would have definitely created some music. It was total nature, wide open and no people anywhere, these areas are great for me! As I drove, I did begin to look for gators and even shot up a prayer to St. Anthony to help me find my alligator. (he's the saint for lost things and never fails me) After I while I became in tune with the nature I was seeing. The varieties of birds, the colors, the grasses, the water it was all so beautiful... I drove past what looked like a huge rubber tire half out of the water. About a half mile later I wondered if it might have been an alligator. I backed up the entire way on the shoulder of the road and let the passing traffic just deal with it. Sure enough, it was fantastic and I became alligator obsessed. As I drove on, each time I had to back up less and less time. Alligators hanging out together, mouths opening and closing taking in birds and fish while splashing in the water, lurking in the water... luckily I was on the right side of a fence because I would have stepped onto one while looking through my camera lens. I think it was more shocked than I was as it flew into the water. Well, I had my Florida experience with all this today... a shot of pure nature and nothing else (no development) is what I really needed. Wow, what an alligator represents for this earth of ours... they first appeared 37 million years ago and I was able to watch them in the wild today!!! For me it was a exciting as anything can get.
March 18, 2014
Islamorada Key, Florida
Today was meant to be easy as I am leaving tomorrow and want to be clear headed and ready. This morning it rained and when it stopped I sat with coffee in a strong wind on a dock. I hung out on the beach and worked on opening up coconuts with a hammer and screwdriver. Figuring it would take time to figure out a process, well it took a lot of time just to get the shell off because its all fibers. I got one and then the next after about twenty minutes I stabbed the coconut itself and lost all the juice which is what I wanted. After a try on a third I gave up, too much work. Like with crabs... I don't like to work for my food! Ha. Then I cleaned out sand from the truck and truck bed just as people began to arrive. They everyone started to get sand i it again. Oh well, that was worth it. My friend Barbara musically jammed with her neighbor. Barb, Mo and I drove to Ann's beach on Islamorada Key and played music with people until it was almost dark. It was really funny when Barbara heard me explaining to someone how I create music from a stream of consciousness and she says, "wow, I was trying to remember the name of that song or find it out from someone for... four days." She thought I was playing a song, the same one over and over and over. I was playing music... its the song of my spirit. I was treated to dinner again with hamburgers and Barb and I hung out watching tv on her bed while eating and doing online work. Going next door to hang out with a friend two nights in a row is something that does not happen often with life on the road.
March 17, 2014
Key Largo, Florida
The flowers here bloom all year round. A guy told me that many Spanish people who live in Mexico are mistaken for Mexican because the skin you see on them is so dark but that is from the sun. Then he showed me his head under his hat and his legs above his shorts and his skin was in fact whiter than a Mexican's. True Mexicans look more Aztec Indian-ish. I met a couple last night who own the last bingo hall in Miami, its a nonprofit business. I drove around with my friend Barbara today exploring spots to create music, there were none. We did find a park, just a regular "public" park that wanted eight dollars for each person in a car! No way in hell would I pay that. In fact I know a guy that might get me in for free tomorrow but I have no interest in being part of that government scam! I hung out with people and had an Irish dinner while watching television and eating ice cream. There was no music today and that actually felt good because I shouldn't feel like I must create music everyday and work with the Traveling Piano. For over fifty years I've been trying to find a way to remember how to spell the word their. I mean just about every day with this blog alone since 2006 I've been trying to use different associations and tricks to remember "ei." Since I was a child I've had the dyslexic habit of spelling the word thier and correcting it only through a spell checker. Well, about a month ago I attached the word "the" to "their" and have not forgotten the association or spelling since. Its been amazing me, its something that irritated me for most of my life and now finally... problem solved!!!
March 16, 2014
Harry Harris Park, Florida
Today was full of spiritual validation and reassurance. There was a lot of it from different people, the things they said, talked about, how they open themselves up to me about their live's, the non-coincidental things we find in common about each others lives, the similar tools we use for living... it just all amazed me one thing after another. It was all about encouragement. That got me going on the piano. After a short while in the motel parking lot I went to the beach area and asked the people if they would turn off their music for about twenty minutes so I could play. I recorded some and then had interactions of all types. I hung out in my room for the afternoon trying to get "anything" straight in my head ha, no luck there. Before the set set I drove to the park to my favorite spot the only spot in Key Largo. I snuck in without paying and stayed until I was thrown out which is after the sun sets. Mind you it doesn't get dark after the sunsets never the less all parks are closed and there is no place to take a walk on a beach in Key Largo. Isn't that just bad??? We met some really good people where we were and they all told me how they were drawn into the music and could hear how I was creating what I was seeing. Whereas I think most musicians get general thank you and one word or phrases of exclamations about their music... the people who talk to me go into detailed descriptions of their experience how it affects them, how they relate to it and what they will take away from the situation. Its really so wonderful and it just makes me so happy. The consistency of awe, the compliments, it all drives my life.
March 15, 2014
Key Largo, Florida
The chaos today was unreal. I could not tell if it was all in my head or from the people partying everywhere, kids bored, screaming, running around, both spanish and english chatter, parents drinking, spear gun arguments, people checking in and out of rooms or switching them because of the noise (me), televisions blaring all night long, guests walking by my room window while looking in... talking outside my door so loud it sounds like they are sitting next to me, jet skies, boat trailers, boats large and small, monster trucks... I woke up and was feeling mean because I had no sleep, I wanted to stay up all day so I could get to bed early and get up early which never happens but I wanted to try anyway. Two old angry lesbians who own a house on the other side of the fence from the motel decided to take out their frustrations on me and threatened to turn the hose on us if I did not stop creating music and I told them to do it so I could lash out in return and make them crazy all night long and then I growled at them, hahaha! It was another day of mooching food from everyone around me. Thats always fun. At night I met up with some new friends, calmed down and then got to spend a short alone on a dock out in the bay with just Mo, the moon bright as can be, stars, a large egret, some jumping fish with a mild warm breeze and the sound of water lapping... that made "being" worthwhile.
March 14, 2014
Key Largo, Florida
We are going to have to leave here soon. I don't know how thats going to happen. Just pick up and go like last time I guess. My new friend Barb was talking about when this motel gets crowded with like eight people to a room. I was trying to figure out how that can happen. Well, the rooms around mine just filled up and I'm finding out. Its like communal living for sure. This place we've been staying in is very conducive to interacting with people. I didn't even have the opportunity to get out of the parking lot today. Mo's just running around from room to room hanging out with other people while they just all feed him constantly with whatever they are eating. It was awesome creating music today on the beach with the water so crisp and the weather so beautiful. I recorded for about a half hour. Below is some of it.
March 13, 2014
The Florida Keys
There are moments late at night here in the keys where you can hear nothing but nature or when the winds are blowing strong you only hear the water and the trees at the waters edge but usually its construction on houses, highway maintenance, emergency sirens on the road and traffic, people with boom boxes and chatter, planes, boats, etc... My favorite thing about the Florida keys... palms trees with turquoise water no question about it. It is turquoise only when the temperatures are cooler. In the summer the water is blue. Then there is sand, fish, breeze, sunsets, temperature at this time of year, ocean views when you can find them... and development, no trespassing and do not enter signs. I wanted to spend time by the water today before the weekend party crowds arrive and I did that before sunset until workers arrived who are staying at the motel. I took the truck to the beach area and then lots of people came by. I met a guy from Bristol, PA about a mile from my old house. I knew several of his family members from my past and another guy from my old area too.
Evan, who has been cooking for the workers has been sharing food. Tonight she made calamari (squid) mixed with rice, black beans, onions, green peppers, garlic, white wine, cilantro, cayenne pepper and scrambled eggs, and it was mighty yum! Its like one big family party with people going in and out of each others rooms using each others' bowls, eating utensils, glasses, towels, etc... an ethnic mix, different ages, and people from different countries including europe... in the dark I pulled the Traveling Piano truck up close to the building to get enough light for a family picture with Evan and her Cuban family and we were all having fun until a big intimidating looking guy came out of his room and yelled at me to quit the noise! It immediately shut down all the fun. It was only 10:15pm in a resort hotel where the rules say the noise needs to stop at 11:00pm and he could have been more tactful with his approach so as to not put a negative spin on everything. The piano had only going for about five minutes and if he had any patience and waited five minutes more we would have been done. Shit happens...
March 12, 2014
Key Largo, Florida
This morning I woke up angry and tried to analyzes my way out of it. I allowed people into my space to interact with the Traveling Piano; fought off the anger all day long. Maybe it was the sand fleas that bit up my leg all night... or worse. Maybe its because I must move on and into another direction with and about this journey. I drove Barbara the hotel assistant manager to the store to get some supplies and interacted with people in the parking lot while she shopped. We drove around a little bit looking for a rental place. FInding a place is not going to happen but if one came my way I'd settle here for a month. I would have to incessantly search to find something because of this time of year. Not interested enough. While driving around I saw the most asinine example to date of community lacking relational skills. A small beach divided by a fence... one side was for paying neighborhood association members the other side for... "other" people. The "exclusive" beach had a lock and key to enter, about four more palm trees and about fifty feet more width, other than that they were both identical. Neither allowed dogs. This was not in a tourist area by any means.
We visited a friend of Barbara's with the Traveling Piano, we went to a favorite spot on an ocean jetty at sunset. At night I sat on a dock talking to a guy from Germany and also a Russian couple found us for a short time. Everything included music. I'm not getting the pictures of myself in tropical settings as I would like but then again I'm getting past the need for pictures. There are times when I enjoy with pictures and then when pictures interfere with the ability to enjoy. At the end of the night, just Mo and I laid on the dark until the middle of the night along with with the wind and water lapping while watching a rain storm come in with lightening, no thunder. In that peacefulness I made conscious contacts in spirit with people both passed and present, even those I am angry with... to share the experience. That is always a good thing to do.
March 11, 2014
Key Largo, Florida
Cheeess... I'm spending more money than ever staying at this motel which is the least expensive around! Thank God I have it to spend as long as I am thinking in the present moment and not for the future. Thats the idea for this journey, right? Not really, I may be living in the present but I'm always thinking about the future. Where I have been staying is not utopia but it has aspects of utopia and its the best of all possible worlds for now. I'm, definitely suffering from what people call the Keys Disease. The symptoms of that are laziness, not wanting to do or care about anything, lack of energy or ability to... The fish are amazing to see. There are so many varieties and the water is clear and not deep so I got a few great pictures of them. My friend Barbara and I went to hear a friend of her's play music and I wanted to buy her dinner because she treated me last night bigtime. The sunset was unique to other environments I have been in and that was wonderful to experience.
March 10, 2014
First thing, I purposely did not go to my computer. With coffee in one hand and Mo in the other I walked to the beach area. While laying flat out on a lounge chair Mo climbed up to use me as a cushion and spread himself out length wise on-top of me. There was a guy raking the sand, people talking, boats revving and then what sounded like a huge lawn mower starting next door. I shot up a prayer for help to focus on Mo's face in the sun front and center. The fact that I am here on a beach in Key Largo, a friend sent me money to pay for it and it is a glorious day, can it get any better? I dropped the crappy thoughts. Then, the people left, the groundskeeper left, the mower stopped, the boats left and I laid with Mo on top of me in the sun with a bright blue sky, billowing white clouds, a light cool breeze, the sounds of palm trees fluttering, birds singing, water lapping at the edge of the beach, just me in a glorious world.
Later Barbara who manages the motel joined up with me to look for a possible place to rent for a few weeks. Along with it being top tourist season, spring break, people escaping the cold from up north and seven hundred less motel rooms in the area due to hotel renovations... nothing seems to be available. We ended up back in Tavernier on the water. It is an amazing spot to create music in. Of course people began to appear and I'm glad my camera battery went dead, it gave me an excuse to stop. My new short term sugar momma (Barbara) treated me to an all you can eat Stone Crab dinner. She thought it would be forty bucks. It was seventy-five!!! I'm treating her to a burger tomorrow. I kept eating until she told me I had enough because... I just couldn't stop!
March 09, 2014
I was going to sit on a dock and read a book today. Yesterday I was able to lay in a lounge chair for over ten minutes with my shirt off on a beach for the first time in over ten years. The book reading did not happen. After watching people fish (someone caught a really cool blowfish) I connected with a new friend and we went to a local dog beach with my full well knowing I would probably do some Travel Piano-ing. Then I saw this long jetty I could drive onto and out into the sea and it was like... forget about the dog park! People could hear the music a long distance away and I was creating it for all it was worth. Today was Cuban day as in just about everyone I met was Cuban. Few spoke English. It is a different world down in South Florida and the Keys. It feels like a different country. I thought that Miami was very hispanic but the whole area is in fact multi cultural having immigrants from Cuba as well as every other country in South America.
When it comes to speaking another language people simply use what is more convenient for them. Would anyone who speaks English speak another language because its convenient for someone else? Who says English is the American language... the English of course, ha. It was not easy getting out of the park because the day was so beautiful and there were so many interested people. I stopped at a birthday party picnic and the day turned into my being a food whore. From that point on I collected food from everyone having dinner picnics. Man, I got some good ribs today! Ha, back at the motel where I am staying I ate a barracuda caught just two hours before. I've been spending lots of time just hanging out with people and talking. This blog is now up to date after being behind for the last five days. I've been creating more music than I have in the last year and the rest of my time has been sharing the piano an hanging out with people.
March 08, 2014
Key Largo, Florida
A common comment I have been getting from people is, "I've never met anyone quite like you, I just can't figure you out." It may be because I'm smart and good at what I do but what I am doing is usually perceived as being done by people who are not smart and cannot do better, whatever "better" is. I've been having conversations with guys who jump right into strong topics like within the first minute of meeting, "whats your politics" or "what do you think about Muslims." Ha, I love not having to beat around the bush and going directly into a good discussion about whatever with no fear. I was in a supermarket parking lot and a dad with his two son's in their twenties stopped me. They had just goggled my website and saw a picture of the Traveling Piano on Mount Baker in Washington State which is where they were originally from. They now live on a boat in the sea. Did you know that many people live on boats in the sea? There are societies of boat people. I always thought that the boats people live on were moored at docks somewhere. Nope, they come to dock for supplies and other reasons then drift out and drop anchor somewhere. There is no rent to pay except for the expense of the boat. When it gets too hot or stormy they pull up anchor and move over into the path of a breeze or where the weather is better. Where does their poop go? The government supplies poop collector boats that go from boat to boat once a week to pick it up. Where do they shower? They have showers on board, they use a gym on land, facilities at boat docks, etc...
I made two commitments for today that really messed me up because thats not how this journey works. One guy was in a business partnership with another who was having a grand opening. Of course I opened my big mouth and said I would stop by and visit with the Traveling Piano. What the hell did I do that for?!!! Thats work and I'd be doing it for nothing. Luckily, the other partner was not so appreciative of what we had to offer so I left after about a half hour. There were no people there anyway and it was too sunny and hot. Then... there was a big family reunion happening at the motel where I am staying and I told everyone I would visit with the Traveling Piano before the sun set. Again, luckily everyone was off doing different things so I just played for fun with people who were around. At this hotel where I am staying, mostly hispanic people stay here. Did you know that hispanics do not usually use wash clothes when they shower? For that reason none of the rooms have them because they are used as rags by the guests and always destroyed. The motel waits for white people to ask for them, which they always... do. lol
March 07, 2014
Key Largo, Florida
I'm losing my sense of days, nothing new but sometimes I'm more conscious of it. I woke up angry that life is not perfect and then I had coffee, a sandwich and decided to try and chill on the beach where I am staying. As soon as I sat in the lounge chair everything became almost picture perfect and felt like what I always dreamed it would be to have a Florida "chill out." The sun was shining the water turquoise blue with white caps from a strong breeze, the temperature perfect, the setting perfect, everything was perfect. I lasted about five minutes and then felt a need to express it all musically. As I began to walk back to get the truck a woman who greeted me earlier said, "Your quitting so soon?" I just couldn't chill without the Traveling Piano. I had to express it all with music. Then the sharing began. People were in awe. One lady told me it was her birthday, another visiting from Germany, a guy was vacationing for his 23rd year at this motel, everyone had a story. A girl from the place next store said she had sat down on the beach frustrated with agenda working with her iPhone and all of a sudden she felt transported back to past wonderful life experiences. She felt that maybe the "rapture " was happening. Having not been able to get her boyfriend out of bed she new the music would do the trick. She went to him and began whispering in his ear... "Do you hear it nice and gentle?" She enticed him with the music faint and in the distance as it pulled him outside. Ha, so funny and wonderful!
The interactions continued until I couldn't take it anymore. At night I was treated by the couple staying next door to me to the most tasteful Cuban dinner I could ever imagined. Black beans and rice, ropa vieja (shredded beef) and yucca both fried and boiled. (like potato but tastier) At night I went back to create music with the moon and stars. There were large green flood lights sunk deep into the bay that lit up the water and lights flickered in the distance from boats flowing in the waves. It was cold enough that I had to use a windbreaker for the first time in Florida. After about ten minutes a wave of people began to swarm around the Traveling Piano from behind. A huge family reunion from Miami were arriving for the weekend and while unpacking they began to hear the music and all at once everyone started to run towards it. I'm really tuning into the environment. There is so much joy in creating music for the first time in a tropical environment. There are no ocean waves because there is an ocean reef that is anywhere from four to seven miles out before it drops into the ocean. That means the water is mostly less than five feet deep the entire way out.
March 06, 2014
Marathon Key, Florida
I was so exhausted last night I didn't even bring in my computer from the truck. Immediately I feel into bed and immediately I fell to sleep. Unfortunately, I can't stay at this motel. It would have been perfect with a nice beach, shady palm trees for the truck to drive under with hammocks... I woke up to sun shinning on palm tree leaves shimmering in a light breeze. The place had one cancellation for the night that had not been filled and all the rooms are booked solid for the next two months. As a drove looking for a place to stay, people I met along the way would say really strange things to me, words and phrases out of context from our conversations that were supportive and encouraging things like... "you know the road has a way of taking care of you," "your living in the moment I can see it." It felt like encouraging words from God or the spiritual world coming through people for me.
I met a customer at one motel where the office was closed who offered me the spare bed in his room. Another person suggested a motel saying I should call the number on the door even though it was closed and see if the guy would wake up to give me a room. I went to that hotel and knocked on the door, nobody answered so I turned around to walk away and then the door opened. The owner was a musician and the room was $140. I said it was only for a few hours would he take a hundred. He said cash and I said, "deal." I have really been pushing myself and it feels good. I am in a constant dilemma concerning whether I should push myself or not. Before leaving Marathon Key I had some Traveling Piano interactions and that felt good. A huge rain storm passed and the trucks defogger began to squeal. Then it stopped, "keep the drama out of potential trouble" I told myself. A visitors place found the cheapest place for me to stay anywhere... $132.00 a night. Thats the most I ever paid for a room in all nine years!
March 05, 2014
Key West, Florida
Todays blog is being written on the 9th, thats how far behind I am so I've forgotten allot. I left Miami and drove straight to Key West and found all the hotel rooms booked or prices through the roof. I refused to spend $350 for a fleabag hotel room. Also, once again all the beach areas are developed so there was no place to create music without being intrusive and looking like a street musician which I am not. I found a patio park area that I could drive onto for a quick picture shot and then asked an artist sitting on a corner to take the picture for me. He did that but also the instant he heard my music was transformed into a state of awe and then offered to take me to dinner. That was a good thing because it was a catalyst to stay around even though I had no place to stay. I drove through the streets a little and wow, Key West is a really nice and interesting, totally tourist town. I could have had fun playing on the street for a day or two and could without question have made some money but... that would confuse my journeys mission. I don't care what anyone says or thinks about that, trust me I've heard all the thoughts concerning money thousands, not hundreds of times.
So this artist guy had a construction business years ago and dropped it all to sell his artwork on the street seven days a week. He works half a day on Sunday and on Wednesdays treats himself to karaoke (Kenny Rogers style) and a dinner at a local restaurant. There I met a few of his friends and a mom and daughter visiting from South Carolina who coincidentally knows a friend of mine very well. Another guy who works across the street from the artist was with us and is down from Sandy Hook Connecticut where the Traveling Piano visited after the school massacre a few years ago. I created music for a short while at the artist's stand on the street and a guy from Brooklyn, New York came up almost freaking out with excitement asking if he could jam with me. He went and got his electric guitar that had an amp and speaker he could wear around his waist. Never saw that before, it was super cool. The kids was super fun. I drove by a catholic church promoting "ashes to go" from an outside tent because it is ash wednesday and I guess people did not want to take the time to go inside to get them? The day was exhausting but I took off to drive back up north looking for a place to stay and it wasn't till after 11pm that I found one. Sleeping in the truck had become an option which I am very glad I did not have to do.
March 04, 2014
So... moving on once again to where I know not except I'm going to try and make it to the most southern point of the US in Key West, Florida. Paying top dollar in tourist season for a room if I can find one is not an uplifting thought. With little energy today I just decided to hit a beach. There are many here in and around Miami. At first I wasn't even going to take the cover off the piano but then I did. I found a spot in the sand and used Mo's piano rug to lay on. (smelly) I zoned out completely for like ten minutes even with the highway traffic going on behind me off the beach area. After that I felt like playing music just for myself and I did that while filming was being done for skateboarders nearby. Two of the guys with the crew came over and we interacted with music. One guy looked quite gnarly. I really enjoyed him. He was a totally tattooed, intelligent, dreadlocked, kid in his twenties. Other people found us. I became somewhat energized. Then as I was driving away, the Miami Skyline was so delicious I had to stop and create music while watching the city lights come on as the sky went dark. Another film crew happened by. And then, one more stop... in the trees on the bay with the skyline in front of me... just Mo and I and music until I had enough.
March 03, 2014
Miami Beach, Florida
We will be leaving Miami on Thursday. It will be the end of another major part of this journey. I'm heading for the Florida keys simply because we are almost there anyway. We've been to the top of America, the most east in Newfoundland, the most west in Alaska, might as well hit the bottom, Florida! Ha... whatever that means. The sun was strong. I was beach hunting today. First, we were on Key Biscayne and a great family took pictures of me on the truck with the sand, ocean and a palm tree, needed to get that done. Then there was money wasted on another state park where Mo could not go on the beach which was a far walk from the parking lot. I laid around in the shade on a park picnic table and then created music for a short while before heading to Miami Beach where... there was no place to play beach-wise. There was lots of traffic and we had a synchronistic meeting with another really great family who was just totally pumped up with spirit having finished a weekend seminar with Tony Robbins at the convention center. Their energy was fantastic! I finished the day driving and looking, driving and looking a little lost in my head and working on not worrying about the future by staying present... sort of.
March 02, 2014
Liberty City District, Miami Florida
I'm feeling very fulfilled today having hung out in yet another destination that I have been thinking about for years. We spent the day in Liberty City. Thats an area I've been told is more dangerous than Overtown where we were a few days ago. Three young girls were shot in the neighborhood last week from a drive by shooting. The way people disrespectfully describe run down neighborhoods and the people who live in them bugs the shit out of me, it always has. So of course I like hanging out in areas like this. I think I already mentioned in a past writing that I find it easier to connect with the soul of human spirit in places like the hood, ghettos, poorer areas, etc... verses in areas where people are hiding with protective coverings of domestication and earthly riches. (not thats there's anything wrong with earthly riches) So I was driving around rows and rows of barrack style project buildings looking for a shade tree to pull up under. I found one on a corner but some guy was parked there. I asked him if he would move so I could pull my truck under the tree. In order to do that the truck behind him had to also move back. The first guy found the other guy but the truck wouldn't start so I pushed it back with him, then the fist guy moved back and I had my spot. Some people around just could not get what I'm about. They watched me like a hawk trying to find my agenda. (or so I was told) They'd talk with me, even get onto the piano but when it came to having their picture taken... not a chance. That was fine because pictures are not my first priority. Fun, Friendship and Respect comes first.
As the day wore on kids began to appear and I just let them bang away while I talked mostly with a seventy-seven year old guy who admittedly used me as a sounding board for all is "cracker" frustration. The cracker name is the white man equivalent to nigger for many. For some the word contains a sense of pride. Anyway, we talked about politics, religion, history, people... we had some good Sunday afternoon banter back and forth. I was told how everyone was dumbfound that a white man would get out of his car in Liberty City. Apparently, I was a celebrity of sorts before I arrived because two guys said they already knew about me and what I'm doing most likely from when I was in Overtown a few days ago. I asked where most of the kids in the area would be and they pointed in the direction while saying its the most dangerous area but has a lot of kids so when I was done where I was... you know thats where I headed. Before I drove away I noticed a guy brought out a guitar and began to play diagonally across the street from where I was parked. From experience his purpose was most likely to establish turf with some counter music but hey, I got music other than my own out and into the street! There was no clash. In the next area I could find no shade but there was a park where a few kids were hanging out so I just pulled onto the grass with no fear of getting thrown out by police because few people care about neighborhoods like this. Before I began to create music I said if anyone wanted to get on the piano to play as it was open territory. There was no wasting time, everyone was interested and then other kids began to appear. I think in the hour I was there I played myself about three minutes just to get a picture with some of the kids.
At one point there were about twelve kids all over the truck musically banging away with me, jamming. They were a tough crowd and quite rambunctious. As time progressed they were getting more difficult to control but I managed to get just about everyone onto the piano have their own moment just by themselves with music. Without question more than one of these little muchkins expressed the most creativity I have experienced in all my years with over 50,000 different people having been on the piano seat. Half a block away there were about fifty teenagers playing basketball on a court. They helped me to stay very aware of my surroundings and what was going on. Two of the little kids had money in their hands, one had like twenty bucks which was really, really weird but later on I learned they were probably ready to buy or sell me some drugs... I mean like six year old kids! I gave away my very last cassettes from my career years. The last of them were saved last specifically for Liberty City. I tell everyone (because very few people still have a cassette player) that with tape on the back of the box they serve as pre-framed picture for a wall. I also tell them that they played piano on the truck in the picture. Over the last nine years of this journey I gave away what was left of my past inventory. I used to sell performance merchandise and started giving away what was left when I stopped making money in 2006... 1000's of cd's, cassettes and posters. It feels very gratifying to have given all that away, it feels very gratifying to have made it to Florida (now all four corners of the US as well as Alaska, Canada and Mexico, it feels gratifying to hang out with people in places where musicians rarely go and for people have never had the opportunity to play on a piano or see a piano man play.
March 01, 2014
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Seeing that is was a beautiful day I thought I would check out the beaches of Fort Lauderdale. Yikes! From one in the afternoon until nine at night when I got back... all but about forty five minutes was spent in gridlock beach traffic and manic highway driving. Imagine driving in rush hour traffic where all the vehicles are moving between fifty-five and eighty-five miles an hour all at the same time in different intervals, weaving in and out of each other, constantly braking and excelling without warning. Then at the beach, not only the five minutes red lights here in Florida, I must have hit every ferry bridge opening in existence. Wow, the super-yachts and cruise ships, megatons them. The traffic moved slower than people walk. With all the said, Fort Lauderdale is really a place I'd like to spend time in... off season. It is now the height of tourist season and even more loaded from people up north simply trying to get away from a really, really cold winter for a short spell. The beaches were wall to wall people as were the streets, sidewalks and cafes. I gave up trying to find a spot to create music after about three and a half hours of moving a foot a minute in traffic. There were no places where I could pull up to the beach and play anyway, its all developed.
As I headed back onto the highway I saw a sign for a state park and figured that would not be crowded and in a large area. The route took me back into the gridlock and when I got to the park they charged me four bucks even though the park was closing in forty five minutes. Inside, I found a space with no one around and began to play and... began to get eaten alive from so many noseeums (biting midges) that I could see um. Bug repellant was not working so I drove to the waters edge hoping it would be better... not. I forced myself to create at least about fifteen minutes of music while being literally totally tortured by the bugs. A couple blade skaters stopped by and I got a picture of them. Whew! Feeling good to be back to where I am staying and that I got little more used to crazy urban driving, once again.