Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The New Year Beckons With Open Arms

Part Two

Sunny day at the river 12/30/08
Wow! Another year has gone by, and what a year it was. I am much happier and my out look is healthier since I followed the light to Redding. Since I have been living here, I have shed a few old habits and grown into a lighter, brighter, me. I love it.

Another bridge across the Sacramento River 12/30/08
Sandi suggested I go on down the road past her house, where there are some photogenic places to see. I did, and she was right. I am still editing the 50 or so pictures I took. When I am done I will upload them to my Picasa photo albums so you can see for yourself. In the meantime, here are a couple of river shots to whet your whistle.

Along the Sacramento River

Roll Out The Piano

How cool is this? It's a keyboard that rolls out when you want to play. The headphone jack allows you to plug in to a sound system and it sounds powerfully good. It has most of the regular piano, organ, marimba, horns, strings, and stuff you expect to find in a keyboard these days, plus it can record your song ideas while you are out in the woods, or wherever you go to write music.
I hope to have recorded a song and video using this, by the time I post this page in my blog.
I got it at Rite Aide, on sale, for $15.

Bass-$50, Piano-$15, hours of fun-Priceless.

Whew! I did it. I just about wore out my old equipment getting this done on time, but I think I managed to write, record, and upload a video in a matter of a few hours. This is fun. I am learning new stuff, step by step. It just gets better and better.
Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Step By Step By Step -Me

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Part 1 of Ringing Out The Old Year

Out With The Old ?

A diamond is forever, since 1948
De Beers diamond company hired the ad agency N.W. Ayer & Son in 1939. They launched the, "Diamonds Are Forever", campaign to promote diamond engagement rings. In 1999, De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer confessed, "Diamonds are intrinsically worthless, except for the deep psychological need they fill.”

I am always amazed that this story appears about every 10 years, like it's news. Then I remember that most people have to be reminded every day to eat at Mac Donalds.

Nothing is Safe From Humans

Star gazing in Death Valley is getting washed out.

Chrissy and I used to love to camp out in Death Valley.

The night sky was spectacular.

We were a fortunate couple.

Viva Las Vegas

(Tip; Click on the spade)

Strange Structures

(From my neighbor, Jo Anna)

Mammy's Cupboard Natchez, Mississippi

Solar Furnace Odeillo, France

Some Colorful Pictures
(From my Sister, Sue.)

Horses in the snow

Yo ho ho Matey

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Ride Captain Ride - Blues Image

"If my ship sails from sight, it doesn't mean my journey ends, it simply means the river bends."
John Enoch Powell

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where Would We Be Without Love?

Snow Woman

122 foot tall snow woman in Bethel, Maine.
They call her, "Olympia", after the governor of Maine. They have had a record snow fall this year, and what do you do with all that snow? Build a snow man/woman. The arms are 26 foot trees. My thanks to Jo Anna for sending me this in an e-mail today.

Those eyelashes are ski's!

From my dictionary widget

For the past few days I have been dissatisfied with some things. I kept having the feeling I could have done better, or been more sensitive to the world in which I live, and the people in it. I keep feeling like I forgot something or left something uncompleted. I have found myself being critical and condescending of others. Mildly irritated, like having a toothache. (Hmmm, I do have a toothache!)

I have heard many people talking about the holidays and depression, and I agree that this time of year can be very hard on some people. We even have meetings 24 hours a day at the club to provide a place of safety and comfort for those who need support.

This time of year puts a lot of pressure on some people.

This is from the same widget.

I woke up this morning with the idea that I may be experiencing depression.
How can that be?
I am happy, relatively healthy, and I have practically everything I need.
Why would I feel uncomfortable?
Maybe the answer will be revealed if I write about it.

What is it?

For me,
when it used to be obvious, it was like a gray veil of fear and emptiness, inside of which I lived. When it had a hold on me, the world was a colorless place, dull and uninspiring. Knowing, that in a day or two, it would pass, did nothing to alleviate it.

I asked some of the people around me. Many of them were taking pills of some kind for depression. I wasn't particularly encouraged by their results. They seemed to have made the treatment of their mental state into a second career or lifestyle.

Drinking and drugs could provide a temporary diversion, but in the end only compounded my problem with depression.

The times of emptiness and disillusionment reinforced my pessimistic view of the world.

I think what saved me from complete madness were the two greatest things on earth; Music and Love.

I put them in that order because I found them in that order. From the very beginning, music put me in touch with God, (as I have come to know and understand God). Some musicians know what I am talking about. There are times when singing and playing, I touch God.

A woman I know, who experiences the same thing, described it to me as being covered in warm honey and filled with the bright light of divine existence. It doesn't always happen, but it echos through all performances until the next time it happens.

For me it's like I am plugged into everything that is, was, and will be anywhere in every way, all at once. The energy that comes through me feels, looks, and sounds like all the souls, in all the universes, alive in every note. I am humbled and enriched every time I am given that hand up to Gods place while I am playing and singing here on earth. Talk about awesome!

It doesn't happen all the time, but the feeling lingers until another glorious moment of contact.

The other thing that saved me from complete insanity is Love.

I never felt love for another human being until my second wife. Emotion and affection were discouraged in the Seymour household. I managed to exist without feeling, other than my own mental and physical pain, until I was 25.

With Kathy, nature stepped in and flipped my switch for biological love. Wow! The sun would shine, birds would sing, flowers would bloom and people could see and feel the love radiating from the two of us. Love songs poured out of me. I was filled with endorphins and happiness. "So this is what all the fuss is about", I said to myself. "This is it!" No more blues songs for me.

The scientific study on, "biological love", would not be published for another 20 years, so I was not prepared for the inevitable day when the bloom was off the rose. It seems that when we meet with an ideal mate in natures view, we fall head over heels in joyous, blissful lust for 4 years. If after four years this pairing has not produced offspring, nature turns off the joy and encourages us to move on to other unions. I wish I had known. I thought Kathy just wanted to tear out my heart and run over it with our car. I wrote a lot of blues songs.

For the next few years I was a little restrained when love would come my way, but Vicky was irresistible and love was sparking off of us like bolts of lightning. Living inside that electric field was reason enough to abandon my reticence, wind chimes chimed and the world entertained us with displays of beauty and wonder. I was writing love songs again. "This is it!" This is why I was put on this earth, nothing can stop this wonderful coupling. (The scientific study had not yet been completed.)

You would think by now I would be prepared for divorce. I wrote some more blues songs.

What I learned in this 20 year course on love, was how to love and be loved. How to laugh and cry. How to be moved by another human being and to feel their joy and pain. How to give and receive comfort. How to open my heart. It was now, July 1989. (to be continued)

After I wrote away my depression. 9:30 PM 12/27/08

I guess just the thought of Music and Love is enough to fill my heart with happiness.

Sunrise Friday. 12/26/08

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Good Day Sunshine
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. -Helen Keller

Friday, December 26, 2008

Many Happy Returns

After Christmas Specials

German Amusement Park

Männerspielplatz (literally "men's playground")
For 219 euros (about $280), patrons can spend the day operating 29-ton Liebherr backhoes and 32-ton Komatsu front-end loaders, off-roading through the woods in a Mercedes-built Unimog, peeling out in a Suzuki SUV, and slinging some mud on quad bikes.

Refrigerator Magnets

These retro humor magnets are from
It has been a wonderful Christmas
for me, here in Redding.

Happy Phil on Christmas day 12/25/08
In addition to figuring out how to make acceptable videos with the equipment I have, I discovered a way to use my external hard drive as the destination for the giant files that are part of the movie making process. That is a great gift, thank you.

I hope you had a ball this Christmas

I had dinner with Sandi, Stu,
and family.
It was delicious.

Stu's traditional Christmas prime rib roast

'Tis the seasoning

After dinner, Austin and Jordan,(the grand-kid's), joined me for a few seasonal songs.
A good time was had by all.
I must admit that it feels good to have celebrated Christmas knowing that I didn't cause embarrassment, offense, or discomfort for myself or anyone else. This sobriety thing really works for me.

Sunset for Christmas 2008
Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
The Orioles
What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

Monday, December 22, 2008

"What? Christmas Already?

"Tis The Season"

Bavarian chapel from e-mail my sister Sue sent

Sydney Summer Santas

Speedboat Santa's in Sydney's Summer Season

$1,800,000.00 Piggy Back Ride

Shuttle rides on 747 across the Mohave dessert

Santa Baby

Find the song and story below ↓
The song and story Santa Baby

'Star Trek' Scanner
Made From Cell Phone

Blood analyzer made from cell phone

Scientists Hack Cellphone

to Analyze Blood, Detect Disease,

Help Developing Nations

It's like the scanners that the, "away team", would use on Star Trek.
Great stuff.
Good news for third world countries like Somalia and Kentucky.

Using only an LED, plastic light filter and some wires, scientists at UCLA have molded a cellphone into a portable blood tester capable of detecting HIV, malaria and other illnesses.

We could use this in our own country.
How long did you have to wait for your last blood test?
How much did it cost?
Read the whole story, HERE .

Shoe Throw Success Story
Dozens of Video Games
Millions of People
Throw Shoes At Bush, CLICK HERE

One of the many shoe throwing games on the internet.

The Adventures of Bat Girl

Bat Girl and Maya at the Sundial Bridge 12/20/08
Bat Girl and Maya stopped by Redding on their journey to discover America. I had a chance to show them the top attractions here in Redding. I took them to the Sundial Bridge and explained that, in the daytime, it's actually a sundial. The Harvest Natural foods store was a must see, and, the icing on the cake...the 99¢ store. I love this town.

View from the rivers edge, (photo by Maya). 12/20/08

Our Mister Sun

Is there nothing new under the sun?

Scientists previously believed that when sun's magnetic field was aligned with Earth's, the planet was safely cocooned within its protective bubble. Not so, report researchers at this week's American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
It is expected that the next peak solar storm will cause extensive satellite communication disruptions and overloads in the electrical power grids. The electromagnetic field that normally protects us, will instead, provide openings through which the charged plasma will freely pass.
The sun has an 11-year cycle, which is next expected to peak in 2011 or 2012.
It seems amusing, or mildly curious, that, "scientists", now are discovering what scientists have been saying for the last 40 years. In addition to the start of a new Mayan calendar on 12/21/2012, intense solar storms have been expected to occur around this time as the sun begins a new 11 year cycle.

I am beginning to realize that it's not just the un-enlightened masses that ignore historical records, but the graduates of our institutions of higher learning don't seem to take the time to find out if the wheel has already been invented, before they announce, to the world, their astounding new discoveries.

The 2012 enthusiasts, have been announcing all manner of wonderous events that will take place on, or around, 12/21/2012 for decades.

These events include a giant asteroid, the new world order, the age of Aquarius, naked people floating up to Jesus, alien visitors, and all sorts of fun and mayhem. I hope I am still around to see this, it sounds very entertaining.

For lot's of stuff about 2012, just Google, 2012 and you will find hundreds of thousands of websites promoting every crackpot theory ever imagined. (There are even a few actual compilations of historical records and scolarly examinations of ancient artifacts that relate to 2012.)

If you type 2012 in this blogs search field, you will find some posts where I discuss this in depth, with links, pictures and some of my own speculation.

"The world is getting to be such a dangerous place,
a man is lucky to get out of it alive."

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
It Aint Necessarily So -Sammy Davis, Jr.
Happy Wassailing

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This Is My 101st Post On Phil's Place

Jumping Jupiter

Jupiter and Ganymede in newly released image.

Ganymede is the largest of Jupiter's four moons, with a diameter of about 3,270 miles (5,262 km).
Jupiter is so big that only part of its southern hemisphere can be seen in the Hubble image.

Flinging Stars

The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, M83
The blue and pink pinwheel in the center is the galaxy's main stellar disk.
The galaxy's farthest-flung clusters of young stars are up to 140,000 light-years from its center.
The gaseous hydrogen atoms, or raw ingredients for stars, make up the arms.
Astronomers are excited that the clusters of baby stars match up with the extended arms

Sock and Awe

Throw Shoes at Bush Video Game. Play for Free. Fun.
This is Funny. TRY IT

Video Here At Last
You may have noticed a new addition to Phil's Place. The video player. One of the features of my new digital camera is that it will record videos. I have been experimenting with uploading, and what type of video file works best.

is the un-edited file from the camera. I did an edited version, but the sound was messed up like the little blues santa. The microphone in the camera is surprisingly good. Look for more raw sounds in the future.

When I uploaded the dancin' blues singing santa, I tried a couple of export file types from iMovie. The sound didn't come out too good, so tonight I recorded a new sound track.
I hope to put it on in place of the crummy one.
It could take some time.
Maybe by tomorrow.

Recording bass for, "Santa's Comin' To Your House".
I noticed that the little blues Santa guy was playing a 3 string bass, so I wrote a blues song for 3 string bass and vocal. We shall see and hear how it works out. If it's okay, then I can use the editing features of iMovie for the picture, and record and enhance the sound track in a different program, and add it somewhere along the line.
Steamed Stir Fry

I love vegetables and they love me.
I tried another brand of veggies in a bag that you can cook in the microwave for 4 minutes and they are steamed. So far, both were tasty and tender without being limp or soggy. What a great idea.

I am not very likely to be eating at the Food Court in the mall, but I saw this article that you might find interesting.


Large Tuna Melt Club with cheese and dressing
1,820 calories
147 g fat (27 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
2,020 mg sodium
85 g carbs

12 Taco Bell Fresco Style Beef Tacos!
Read more about mall food HERE

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
No Spinach
Shirley Temple, Jack Haley, Alice Fay


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One Carbon Molecule At A Time

Santa Uses Fullerenes

Space Age Santa
Larry Silverberg, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University, said his research has established that Santa does not, as commonly thought, carry enough presents for each child in his sleigh.

"We believe that he uses nanotechnology to grow the presents under the tree with soot, candy, other types of natural materials. He puts them under the tree and actually grows the presents, wrapping and all."

So...Even Santa is ahead of America in Fullerene manufacturing technology!

I keep sending e-mails to Researchers and the Obama transition team. So far, my fullerene suggestions have reached the level of "Intense Debate", in the public forum. I guess that's something.

The Obama-Biden transition team has invited me to organize a local, healthcare, community discussion group, but I am not getting through to the commerce/economy/environment people, yet. Maybe I can get further attention if I do this healthcare thing. We shall see.

To read my posts about Fullerenes, type "fullerene" in the blog search box.

What a Difference a Day Made

A dusting of snow at Shasta Dam. 12/15/08

Dusting of snow along Dam road. 12/15/08
Winter is trying to make it's way to Redding. The surrounding hills and mountains are beginning to accumulate snow, and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Wow, that's quite a light display!
What? You didn't click on the little snowman?
If you do, you will see just the oppposite of this...

"Yes dear, I put up the decorations."

Down The Hillside

Berry bushes and snow help hide the trailer trash, trash.
While taking pictures of the berry bushes along the dam road I found the spoor of the agressive ignorant anti-environmentalists.
"Build it, and they will throw it away."

Virgin Spaceport in New Mexico

Spaceport America approved by FAA

New Mexico's Spaceport America, the anticipated home base for Virgin Galactic's suborbital space tourism operation.
The 16,600-acre stretch of ranchland is located 40 miles north of Las Cruces, N.M., and 30 miles southeast of Truth or Consequences, in Sierra County.
I have fond memories of Las Cruces. Between 1960 and 1975, I must have traveled through that town at least 50 times. It's on the well worn path between Texas and California. Dad had a new tire put on there once, and the wheel fell off about 5 miles out of town. I guess the trainee at the tire store hadn't got to the tighten the lug nuts lesson, yet.

Great Snakes Alive!

Bright green pit/viper

BANGKOK (AFP) – Scientists have discovered more than 1,000 species in Southeast Asia's Greater Mekong region in the past decade, including a spider as big as a dinner plate, the World Wildlife Fund said Monday.

The species were all found in the rainforests and wetlands along the Mekong River.

Todays Relatively Appropriate Song;
The Snake -Al Wilson

"It's not what you look at that matters,
it's what you see."