I finally got myself a guitar amp, specifically the Roland Microcube
. $125 at Guitar Center. Has a buttload of built-in effects and amp models, runs for 20 hours off of 6 AA batteries (or indefinitely off the supplied AC adaptor), and is both louder and better-sounding than the huge stupid Kustom bass amp I had back in New Mexico while also being only a couple pounds and fitting in my backpack. Neat.
I got it with the intent of doing performances and donating whatever proceeds I get to various homeless support charities. (I just wanna perform. I already have a perfectly good paying job.) Though it looks like doing it in a subway is more trouble than it's worth, so instead I'll probably just do it in/around Union Square. (Central Park has a blanket ban on amplified devices, unfortunately.)