Friday, October 30, 2009

And.......I'm Back

Ta Dah!

Sunset, 10/24/09

The Band In The Garage

John and Mark
We did some recording and rehearsing on Wednesday.

The band plays on. 10/28/09

Waiting For UPS

It seems like a foolish pastime, to wait for anything. It's as though I have decided to waste my moment in the here and now. I have some diversions that I use when I go to the doctor, or DMV, or anywhere that usually will include a wait.

My main weapon against idle moments in a chair, waiting for my “turn”, is a book. I have a book I keep in the car for just such moments. It usually is a paperback adventure/mystery of some sort. I only read it when I am having to wait. Sometimes the book is a page turner, and it only lasts for a few waiting spells. I like that kind. The book has my full attention. My “turn” seems like an interruption.

Sometimes my “waiting” book is dull. In a way that's a good thing, because I would never read it if I had some thing better to do, or another book handy. The dull book will last a long time. Scott Turow, or Pat Conroy come to mind when I think of dull writing. I read their books because they have interesting topics. They just write them dull.

As many of you know, I love to read. I often read 3 or 4 books at the same time. This way I am reading one very interesting book. I am not surprised, anymore, that the books usually cross paths geographically, historically, philosophically, occupationally, or have one or more similar characters.

I don't pick out my books with this in mind. I let them pick me. I may no longer be surprised by this, it has always been this way, but I am thrilled and excited when this synchronicity stuff happens.

Another way with which I erase the frustration of waiting is using the time to figure out the chords, words, or arrangement of the music that plays in my head. If it's a song that I have written, I try different phrasing, or combination of instruments, or work on the background vocal parts, (background vocals are particularly fun because you get to change the people singing and the harmonies are affected by the qualities of each different singers' voice). If it's a song that I have heard by someone else, I can just listen and enjoy, or I can change the key and the style to hear how it would sound when I sing and play it.

Sometimes, the time to wait, will be somewhere that cries out to be photographed. I consider these times to be a gift. I always keep a camera with me, just in case.

Today I am waiting for the UPS truck to see if my modem has arrived, I hear him now. I shall go see.

Yep, sure enough, my modem is here. When I went to the mailboxes to get it, I was reminded by the group of ladies out front, that we are having a Halloween party today. I said I would come and sing a couple of songs.

I got the package, addressed to “Phillip”. It reminded me of other places where mail would find me. I used to get mail addressed to “Phil”, with just the city I lived in. No street, zip code, or state! I may not be surprised by this, but I am thrilled and excited when it happens.

Now, if I can tear myself away from this exercise in productive and entertaining use of waiting, I will hook up the new modem and get back on line.

New Modem

No problem, so far...

So far, so good

Now to follow the next step...

A quick phone call should put me in touch with someone in India, who will help me get this all properly configured.

After a few robot
voices, I reached someone named Ian, who was very helpful.


Back in the high speed internet world. 10/30/09

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Back In The Saddle Again - Gene Autry


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

WI-FI Hot Spot

Modem Shmodem

Spooky moon, and not even Halloween, yet.

The high speed DSL modem
went out on me last night. I tried to resuscitate the thing, but it couldn't stay on line. I called ATT services this morning and spoke to a nice lady who was very helpful in assisting with the diagnostic process. While I was holding the reset button for 30 seconds, I found out that in her country they have rock and roll, her favorite band is Aerosmith, and her 10 year old daughter is learning to play the guitar.

She helped me attempt
to resurrect the Gateway 2-wire, but it was no use. She very nicely introduced me to another nice lady who made arrangements to send me a new replacement modem, for free. ( $12.50 shipping and handling charge will appear on my next bill.) She said it is coming on UPS, and should be here within 3 days.

This brings me to
where I am now; The Redding Library.

On the sunny side of the library. 10/27/09

I can see the Alano club from here. This is a really nice library. I have written about it many times, but this is the first time I have used the WI-FI service. It's free, and what's more, I just noticed that there are multiple outlets on the floor by each table. Next time, probably tomorrow, I will bring the power cord for my MacBook.

New Band Stuff

New business card with Johns Violin Shop phone #.

I have a tendency to give away my music, and this is not good business sense. I have been referring people who want to book the band to John Harrison, (Lead guitar and businessman). I tell them he is in charge of the calendar and booking.

You may notice that the band now has it's own email address. We also have YouTube, and MySpace sites under our name. I put one video up on YouTube, but will wait until we decide what songs to put on myspace. Oh yeah, we have a Twitter account, too.

Wednesday we plan
to record in Marks garage, with an ear toward demo songs for booking and promotion.
John and Mark in authentic garage band, garage.

The idea is to have sites that are specifically for the band. The way it is now, the band has been sharing space with my other projects, and it might appear less than professional. I will be adding a couple more sites, like a blog and a .com, after I get the new modem.

So there you have it, the latest info, sent to you by way of the Redding library WI-FI. I love this stuff.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Sweet Talkin' Woman - ELO


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Am Not...UR2

UR Lyre

The Lyre of Ur recreated from pieces found in 1929
in the Pennsylvania Museum (unplayable).
It is approximately 4,750 years old and predates the
construction of the Great Pyramid by 750 years!

Early Dynastic funerals depicted in drawings and sculpture often include musicians playing lyres or harps, instruments that were found in several of the royal tombs. Some of these lyres held inlays of feasting scenes. One of the bodies buried in the Great Death Pit near Queen Puabi was draped over a lyre like this one, the bones of her hands placed where what would have been the strings. Music seems to have been extremely important to Early Dynastic Mesopotamia: many of the graves in the Royal Cemetery contained musical instruments, and quite possibly the musicians that played them.

Modern Playable Copy

In April 2003 Mr Andy Lowings formed a group to remake an authentic, but playable version of the famous Gold Lyre of Ur , damaged in Baghdad during the conflict.
Inspiration for this came from stone carvings on view in the Chicago Oriental museum that show the earliest stringed instruments ever.
This had never been done before, authentically, using the correct original adhesives, Sumerian region wood and correct gold quality and thickness.

Extract from the Standard of Ur…
Lyre Player and Singer, Ur 4750 BC.
Scene showing The Bull Lyre being played.
(Discovered separately at Ur in 1929).
British Museum London

Neuschwanstein Castle

Photo by Pilar Azaña

I was doing some research
into digital SLR cameras, and one of the sites about the Canon Rebel EOS had examples posted on Flicker. I went to see and found this one that had been uploaded on October 22. I would like to think that this is a current view with a fresh dusting of snow. You can see this picture on Flicker, HERE.

I have a Flicker account, but I don't use it very often. I think it's, Happy Phil . Let me know if it works. I've got 4 pictures there.

Still Changing

The Treehouse tree, still changing. 10/24/09

Pieces Of Art

"What a cut-up" - George Bleich

I want to thank
my friend George Bleich for keeping me up to date with his latest creations and experiments. You can visit George HERE.


The Banjo Player, an 1856 painting by William Sydney Mount.

When many of us think of banjo players, we tend to picture a dull witted, slack jaw, inbred, redneck, backwoods bumpkin, picking one melody, endlessly, in the key of G or D. That would pretty much describe most of the people that seem to keep playing "Turkey In The Straw" and calling it different names, but, historically the banjo came to our shores with the people our white ancestors bought from the Dutch and the Arabs. You know, the slaves.

In our long tradition
of exploiting anyone and anything, American white people attempted to imitate the African banjo players and it sounded awful. We named it bluegrass and have been assaulting peoples musical sensibilities with "Hoe Downs", ever since. In recent years, descendants of the slaves are getting even with Rap and Hip Hop.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Seikilos Epithaph - Ancient Greek Music


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Where Ever or When Ever

New Stuff

Saturn on August 11, 2009

Close up of Saturn. NASA/JPL

Today's public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can't read them either.
- Gore Vidal

Aries I-X

Big. Really Big. The Aries I-X rocket is scheduled for launch on Tuesday. It is taller than the Statue of Liberty. Look at the little bitty fuel truck just in front of the tractor that is carrying the rocket. This rocket is taller than the ones that took astronauts to the moon. It should be fun to watch the test. You can watch it, and lots of other NASA videos, HERE.

New Place For Video

I found this new place to upload my videos when I was reading an email from Playing For Change. It's called, Vimeo. Let me know what you think.

Give The World For X-mas

I thought this was neat, until I saw it cost $19.95!

Page Turner

I couldn't stop reading this last night.

Rough Country - John Sandford

If you have read
any of the, "Virgil Flowers", books, you know what I mean when I say; "Once you pick it up and start reading, you cant put it down."

If you haven't read
John Sandford novels before, this book will whet your appetite for more.

I found this at

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Soldier Boy - The Shirelles

Peace For God's Sake

Friday, October 23, 2009

Today We Are Having...


You can find this and more like it, HERE

I was wandering around
, following links, like a quantum leaper popping in an out of different universes, and found a few places I would like to share with you.

I remember experiencing this. From

Autumn Leaves

Changing leaves on a Treehouse Apartments tree.

The first of the trees
are changing colors here in Redding. Like a flock of phoenix, the deciduous trees set themselves on fire each Fall, to be reborn in the spring. It is quite the Kodak time of year around here, and I am prepared to snap away at natures' brightly colored displays as they appear.

Water Wars

What is the best way to save our rivers?

There are a number
of debates, plans, and proposals regarding California's water resources and how best to use them. Since these plans and schemes are put forth by people, they tend to put people first and nature second. This is, of course, the reason we are in a water crisis, in the first place. Somewhere, (the Bible), we got the insane idea that we could use the natural resources anyway we wanted, to suit ourselves. This is an ill-conceived idea.

Here, in Northern California, where most of the states water comes from, we are experiencing the effects of water wasting activities, first hand. No Salmon!

Where Does It Go?

If we are to secure
our future water supply and save our fish in California, we have to move the livestock business to a state with a wetter climate.

Big Universe
Everything Is Important

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How Much?

Go Figure

80 cents worth of raspberries, 15 cents worth of banana.

If there are 30 raspberries
in a 2.99 package, thats 10 cents per berry! I hadn't thought to look at my breakfast in that way before. From now on I will savor each berry with a new appreciation of it's worth.

Going Batty

Caribbean fruit bat

Ready for a cute closeup.

This bat looks
about as cute to me, as most little yappy dogs. Whats not to love? According to Animal Of The Day, these cute little creatures smell like soap.

Typically, the animal
of the day people have a crummy little picture to illustrate their article, so I went to Google images and got a better look. While I was looking at bat pictures, I found an informative and comprehensive website, dedicated to bats. HERE. The site by Scott Pedersen, is the the best bat site I have seen, so far.

Stirring Up The Loonies

One lump or two? "Don't tax the rich!" ????????

Cable "news", and "Talk Radio"
, hosts have devolved into manipulative media. They compete for control of the illiterate and under-educated masses by appealing to their visceral nature.

CNN uses fear.

Fox News Corporation* uses anger.

Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck use childish behavior.

I imagine they compete
to see what crazy stunt they can get people to do next.

I think they should be ashamed
of themselves for taking advantage of the weak minded.

*When Fox was challenged for misrepresenting facts in the news, a spokesman insisted that they were not a news organization, but simply commenting on the news.

Go Facetiousness

The humor here was lost on the, "Fox Faithful".

Here In Redding

The Phil Seymour Band At Shasta Mall 10/17/09

These are screenshots from the video of us playing yesterday at the mall. Dennis played the drums for our second show, but I don't have any pictures of him. I think I will have to get someone to take pictures, video, and monitor the audio recording when we play. I am getting real good at knowing what needs to be done, and what will work best, but I sometimes forget my optimum technical set up and recording techniques when I am preparing to perform. Once I am playing, the audio/video/photography stuff is not what I am thinking of.

We shared the stage with the Doug Godwin Band and he provided the sound equipment. He had one of those new hand size digital recorders, so I didn't record from the PA line out to the MacBook like I had planned. I should have stuck with the plan and combined the 2 different recordings. The sound on the video camera is distorted like I expected, and I failed to set the Olympus digital voice recorder far enough from the stage to overcome its sensitive auto level/compressor feature, so it too sounds strange.

I guess I will take the extra time to set up all my recording equipment in the future.
Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Heaven's Door - The Phil Seymour Band

Happy To Be Here

Friday, October 16, 2009

Muddling Along

Muddy River

At the Keswick dam. 10/16/09

Mark dropped by today
and we went to the superfund site to see if that was the source of the brown color of the Sacramento river. I took the Vivitar HD video camera, the Sanyo 10 megapixel camera, and the little Olympus digital voice recorder. Mark helped me take plenty of pictures and video.

We learned some new things about the river.

Mark's binoculars.

Spring Creek arm of the Keswick lake. 10/16/09

There are a few hours worth of video, audio, and photographs to edit and make a short, informative movie about the brown river-water after the recent rainstorm. We got a firsthand view, and information from a Fish and Game guy, as well as observations from a cyclist on the path.

This, and other information on the state of the Sacramento river will be useful when Mark goes to the state capital for a meeting about the proposed river recovery plan, next week. I have been helping with the research, and it is a very complicated issue. Mark has a salmon fishing guide service, and is one of those people affected by the fishing ban on the river.

More on this toxic story
, after I edit the movie.

The Cone Nebula

Resembling a beast from a nightmare rearing its head from a crimson sea, this celestial object is just a pillar of gas and dust. Called the Cone Nebula (in NGC 2264) because in ground-based images it has a conical shape this monstrous pillar resides in a turbulent star-forming region. This picture, taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard the ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the upper 2.5 light-years of the Cone, a height equal to 23 million round trips to the Moon. The entire pillar is seven light-years long.

See NGC 2264, and more, at ESA

Fresh Beans Anyone?

Medium roasted Columbian beans. 10/16/09

A tip I found at;
To check if your beans are fresh, scoop 1/2 cup into a zipper-lock bag and press out all the air, then seal the bag and leave it overnight. If the beans are within seven to 10 days of roasting, they will make the bag puff up from the carbon dioxide that they release. If the bag remains flat, then the beans are not producing gas—a sign they've passed the point of peak freshness. FULL STORY

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Java Jive - The King Sisters

Here And Now

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It Looks Like


Local weather information.

We had some rain yesterday and today.

The TV weather guys went nuts.

I remember when
we used to get rain. Now, every drop is a weather event requiring constant bulletins and storm watches.

I found a really good site
for weather. It is entertaining and very precise. It will give hourly forecasts, days in advance, for specific locations. I know that when I play and sing at 10AM on Saturday, it will be cloudy, 20% chance of precipitation, 70 degrees, and the wind will be from the north east at 2mph. By 11AM, when I am finished performing, the wind will be 4 mph.

These are moot points
because I am playing in the Shasta Mall, but it's good to know in case I get a chance to go to the Benton Airpark to see the experimental aircraft at noon.

Remote Mic Solution

HD video cam and digital voice recorder used in test.

I continue to test the new camera and how I can apply it to my communicative arts and endeavors. I did an experiment with audio that stays with me as I move around at different distances from the camera. It worked, and I put it on YouTube. Remote Mic Test

Since my new videos
are attempting to be HD, I am very critical of the posted video experience. To assist me in examining the quality of my published videos, I sometimes upload to BlipTV to compare results. Here is the video at BlipTV. Mic Test Video.

I can see and hear a difference. Do you?

Halloween Pet Costumes

These dogs look like they just love Halloween.

I found this...

...and many more cartoons at

Today's Relatively Appropriate Video;

Domino Theory