Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Spend A Lot Of Time

Looking Closely

Eye've been editing images for a few hours. 2/23/10

I really enjoy this Lumix TZ1 camera that I got through E-Bay. I have been taking every kind of picture that presents itself, and the camera has responded with exceptionally satisfying images. I think I will keep it.

It certainly has
given me inspiration to try hundreds of different angles, lighting conditions, distances, camera settings, and of course editing techniques. So many of the shots I snap turn out good with this camera, that I find myself carefully editing each image. One days worth of pictures often totals over 100. Out of that 100, 90 are worth editing and examining closely.

Look Down

Look Up

Look In John's Shop

John prepares one half of Viola top for gluing.

John Harrison has
a few instruments at varying stages of creation that I am documenting, every step of the way. Tomorrow, he plans to string up the violin you see in the pictures below, (If you look closely, that violin is on the workbench behind him). He will be testing the sound and determining what adjustments to make to bring the instrument to it's full potential. I will try to capture that process with pictures, audio, and video to be used in the upcoming e-book, "From Kindling To The Concert Hall".

Fingerboard glued and clamped to new violin.

Back of new violin.

Really close look at head of new violin.

Yogurt And Eggplant Cutlets

I do enjoy looking in the freezer sections at Trader Joe's. One never knows what tasty treats are lurking there in the cold. I got these baked eggplant cutlets a couple of weeks ago, and just got around to seeing what was in the box. These delightful and microwavable breaded slices can be used in many recipes. I chose to put a few on a plate, nuked 'em for 3 min. and added a couple plops of Nancy's Organic low fat yogurt. I liked it. I have enough left in the freezer for 2 more delicious dinners.

Imsey's Coffin Comes Home

The coffin likely belongs to
pharaoh Ames
of the 21st Dynasty,
which ruled over Egypt
from 1070-945 B.C.

Customs agents in Miami
confiscated the coffin in
2008. Egypt asked for it
back in 2009.

It was first smuggled out
of Egypt in 1884.

"I stopped coffin when I quit smoking".

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Homeward Bound - Simon & Garfunkel

Expanding Horizons

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Early To Rise


Andromeda Galaxy

I was
at the NASA/WISE site last night, and the pictures were astonishing.
Each click brought me deeper into the galaxy and exposed millions more stars.
Well worth the visit.
See the big picture, HERE.


Bright new day at the Treehouse Apartments. 2/21/10

Bands of sunlight
laid golden across my blue bedspread this morning. Once again, I knew there could be no, 'sleeping in', as I peered at the stripes of light from my space within the comforting cloud that is my bed. "This looks like another great day, here in Redding", I thought to myself with a smile. There are priceless images awaiting the journey through the Leica 10x optical zoom lens, wake up and make some coffee to smell.

Daily Bird

There was even a crow waiting to be in a picture.

Puffy white clouds
were forming from the moist air left over from last nights rainstorm. They made beautiful pictures against the backdrop of clear blue sky.

Coffee, a bowl of organic, Heritage Ancient Grain Cereal with banana slices and blueberries, and it was time to check email, do a little reading, and await further inspiration.

Interesting book about factory farming our meat and fish.

One of the books I am currently reading is titled, "Eating Animals". It's an interesting subject, and once the author gets through apologizing for every word he writes, I am sure there will be some new and enlightening information I can bring to you, on my blog.

The day beckoned
and I cooperated by creating a few justifiable reasons to be out burning fuel.
A stop at the bank ATM for a little cash and a check of my balance, then a short drive to some free entertainment.

Hidden pond behind Turtle Bay Museum.

There were even
more people out and about today than there were yesterday.

Why not? It was gorgeous outside.

At Turtle Bay
I first stopped at the echo chamber/Aggregate plant to see if I might record some echoey background voices for a couple of songs I am working on, but there was a tour group learning the history of the making of Shasta Dam. I moved on to Sundial bridge to take some pictures with designer clouds in the background. First, I took some Lumix TZ1 pictures of the hidden pond. It is the 4th camera I have used on that subject and I look forward to side by side comparisons of the pictures.

Sundial Bridge 2/21/10

The place was teaming with people, but I managed to get this one shot with just a bicyclist and a few walkers in the distance. Minutes later there were dozens of people along the rails, cyclists, strollers, and lot's of dogs on leashes, on the timepiece that spans the Sacramento river. A good time was had by all who were there.

The view west from midspan.

There were
fishermen fishing, dogs a fetching, and snow capped mountains in the distance.

Dorothy's Garden Awakens

First Lumix pictures of Dorothy's flowers. 2/21/10

When I got back from my photo adventure, I noticed some flowers had popped up behind building A. I just happened to have the new/used camera with me, so I took a few shots.
They look great. I will put them up on my Picasa Web Albums site once I have had a chance to edit and play with them awhile.

That's all I have for you, today. I was going to write about the new law that allows concealed firearms in National Parks and Recreation Areas, and how weird and wrong that is on so many levels, but it has been too nice of a day.

Still, I wonder
about the sanity of people who are so filled with fear, that they have to have a concealed weapon to go for a hike!

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

That's All - Ricky Nelson

Comfort And Joy

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Altogether It Was Great

Day Sun - Night Showers

9:00 AM 2/20/10

It was
a flexible plan anyway. 'Sleeping in' on a rainy Saturday morning seemed like such a delightful forecast, until the sun striping the room through the blinds, signaled the beginning of a beautiful day.

I got dressed
in summery duds and stepped out onto the balcony to check on the visibility of Mount Lassen on the distant eastern horizon. It was still shrouded in clouds and a haze was working it's way up from the valley to the south. Turning my eyes to the west was another story. The sky was a clear and brilliant blue over the bare branches of the large oak tree that stands above the rose bushes along the driveway leading to the Treehouse apartments.

Here was a chance for me to test a sunlit shot of the bare oak tree branches with the Lumix TZ1. I have several back-lit photos that I really like, but I am rarely out of bed early enough to get morning shots of that tree.

Low and behold
, if the opportunity didn't present itself to test the 10x optical zoom on a finch in one of the trees just below the balcony.

Book This Band

6:00 PM 2/20/10, finish promo pack for trio.

I wanted to complete my promo pack project over the weekend, and this sunny, cheerful day turned out to be the perfect motivator. I began with the card/table tent. I don't have the Mac iWork software suite to do my graphics, but I do have NeoOffice. It's a free Mac version of Open Office that has most of the features I need for labels, cards, etc. The only drawback is that it uses the counterintuitive methods of doing things that are part of programs that originated on Microsoft Windows, so it takes more time to create and print good quality graphics than iWork. Still, I managed to make an attractive promo package that is sure to have the band booked solid for awhile, (at least that's the plan).

I decided to try the precut Avery business cards, so I took time out to drive to Office Max for a package of the 'white, clean edge, 2 side printable business card stock'. Normally I would go to Office Depot, (I have some sort of rewards program with them), but the streets were teaming with cars of determined shoppers and the Office Depot is next to Walmart, so I decided to avoid the melee, and chose the store next to Borders where, here in Redding, there is always parking.

The cards worked out great, the CD sounds good, and the package is ready for presentation.

You can hear
the trio songs, HERE.

4:30 PM 2/20/10, clouds moving in. Ultralight flies by.

Just as I pulled into the Treehouse apartments after going to Office Max, I heard an ultralight flying nearby. Luckily I had my camera with me so I could test the 10x optical zoom on a moving object in the sky.

Rain At The Treehouse

8:30 PM 2/20/10, the rain is here.

What a terrific day.
Warm 70 degree sunshine day.
Cool 44 degree rainy night.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

When The Sun Comes Out - Barbara Striesand
I saw this on Ed Sullivan in 1963. It's still great.

It Feels Good To Feel

Friday, February 19, 2010

Going With The Flow


Mark, Phil, and John at the Violin Shop. (photo - Dave Jacobs)

We have made adjustments to fit the shrinking economy.
We now have different versions of the band to fit any venue and budget.
We enjoy the way we play as a trio.
We wear matching shirts.
We shall see.

The Jam At Lulu's

Stacia Jacobs with the Phil Seymour Band. photo-Dave Jacobs

One of the great things about the Shasta Blues Society Thursday night jam, is the welcome reception given to new performers. Last night was Stacia's first time singing with a band in front of an audience. She was delightfully good. The crowd loved her rendition of Summertime and the band helped make her first appearance a positive event.

Shaping The Viola Back


The process from kindling to concert hall continues for the violins and viola that I am following in photos at John Harrison's violin shop.

Violin In Tanning Booth

John examines finish against woodpile.

I am fortunate
to be able to capture the creation of these beautiful instruments with photographs and even some video. John's shop is only a couple of blocks from my apartment, so I have a really short drive to catch the latest step in the making. I guess I could walk there if I had to, but the walk back would be iffy. If I am careful, I probably won't need a scooter or wheelchair anytime soon, but if I am reckless or excessive in my physical activity, I could lose what mobility I enjoy now. So I drive the Buick to the Violin shop.

My Brother, Jerry

Jerry in Iraq. (photo from 2009)

Jerry is still enjoying beautiful Iraq, the "garden spot" of Mesapotamia.
He sent me an email today that contained the following story;

King Ozymandias
of Assyria was running low on cash after years of war with
The Hittites. His last great possession was the Star of
the Euphrates, the most valuable diamond in the ancient world.
Desperate, he went to Croesus, the pawnbroker, to ask for a loan.
Croesus said, "I'll give you 100,000 dinars for
it". "But I paid a million dinars for it," the King
protested. "Don't you know who I am? I am the king!"
Croesus replied, "When you wish to pawn a Star, makes
no difference who
you are."

Here In Redding

Mount Shasta. 2/17/10

Mount Shasta. 2/17/10

What beautiful days we have had. And for me, what a wonderful time to play with my new/used toy; the Panasonic Lumix TZ1. I really feel blessed to be able to enjoy all the bountiful, beautiful, gifts that are here to be enjoyed.

According to
the weatherman, I will be taking pictures of the rain soon. That's good, too.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Good Day Sunshine - Beatles (remastered)

Life Is Good

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Picture Show

Good Days

Just for fun, a picture of my reflection.

In the screen of the MacBook while it's off.

Front Yard Fountain

I found this fountain while sightseeing the other day.

Cream Puffs

Mini cream puffs from Sunset Market Bakery.

Organic coffee from Costa Rica

I tried a different brand of coffee from Sunset Market.


Picture of coffee dripping taken with Lumix TZ1.

The Trio Playing "My Girl"
I added "vibes" later, just for fun.
My Girl w/Vibes by Phil Seymour

Here In Redding

Playing Bose's Martin by the river. (Photo - Bose Branham)

Also Here In Redding

Shasta sunset, dam, lake, mountain. 2/16/10

I have much more to share from today, the 17th, but it can wait for the next post. In the meantime...

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Dear Prudence - Beatles

Now Is Good

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Spending This Valentines Day


Happy Cow

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that livestock raised for organic milk or meat must graze pastures at least four months of the year.

Previously, animals were only required to have access to pastures, but were not required to utilize them.

Experts say the loose requirements allowed some feed lots to be certified organic, while never allowing animals to graze.

was one of many government agencies that was co-opted by former Monsanto employees during the Bush years, and like the EPA, was rendered ineffective when it came to regulating corporate interests.

It's good to see
these regulatory agencies becoming active again.

J. C. Boyle Dam

One of the dams on the Klamath river. (Photo - Jeff Barnard)

has tentatively agreed to remove this, and three other dams on the Klamath river. Ostensibly, this is to help restore what once was the third largest salmon run on the west coast. Some skeptics point to the owners, having been given notice that these dams are out of compliance with safety and health regulations, found it was cheaper to remove them than fix them. The cost savings for PacifiCorp became especially attractive when they found that if they allied themselves with saving the salmon, the EPA would lift the expense of regulations and fines for ecological damage while dismantling the dams.

What about the salmon?
The river, where the dams are located, is not condusive to salmon spawning, and the removal of these dams most likely will not affect the salmon run, one way or the other.

Childish Behavior

Many people have
the childish concept that humans are more important than other life on the planet.

This myopic view
of the world prevents them from understanding ecology.

It seems like an impossible task to get them to open their minds.

There is so much to be learned before they will be capable of seeing the bigger picture.

How can
we get them to realize that all lifeforms are interconnected, and that our continued existence depends upon controlling our avaricious destruction of natural resources?

You can
try to reason with them, but like children, they haven't developed the mental prowess to comprehend a world beyond their personal needs.

They will
embrace anything that opposes what they cant understand.

Do you
have any ideas on how to talk to childish adults?

Dick Francis

(AP Photo/Jim Cooper, File)

Dick Francis
, the best-selling British thriller writer and former champion jockey, died on Sunday in his home in the Cayman Islands. He was 89.
I have been
enjoying his racetrack related mysteries for years.
In recent years Francis wrote novels jointly with son Felix, including "Silks" (2008) and "Even Money" (2009).
I have read these recent books, too, and it is a wonderful legacy, that his son has the artistic scope to maintain the style and substance of the delightful Dick Francis novels.

Valentines Day

The best story I could find about valentines day comes from the Angola Press.

Luanda – The Valentine’s Day, February 14, is celebrated Sunday in several countries of the World as the lover’s Day.

On this day, it is celebrates the loving union between couples, with the main reference being the exchange of gifts, postcards and greeting cards, or expressions of affection and appreciation for the elevation of love, peace and friendship.

The history of Valentine’s Day dates back to emperor Claudius II. In the second half of the third century, the Roman Empire was involved in several military campaigns considered too bloody, leading to difficulties in recruiting new soldiers for the legions .

The men of the empire did not want to enlist with the army because they had their wives and their children and did not want to part from them. In order to resolve this problem, the emperor ordered that young men were not allowed to mate and marry.

Against this determination, Valentine, bishop of Terni, went on celebrating marriages for young lovers. He was of the opinion that men had no right to separate such beautiful feelings like love.

Yours Truly

In the act of writing today's post. 2/14/10

I feel fortunate
to be able to just relax and enjoy this day.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Happy Valentines Day - AutumnBrooke

Love Is Eternal

Friday, February 12, 2010

Melting Pot Meal

Italian Eggplant
Nutritious frozen microwavable dinner. 2/12/10

Many of you
already know that I put a great deal of thought into what I put into me. What I read, view, listen to, contemplate, or allow into my body and soul through any of my senses, is generally carefully selected to enrich this wonderful experience called life. What I eat, has a lot to do with everything, so I try to choose food wisely.

Ethiopian Coffee

Shade grown, organic, fair trade, fresh ground coffee.

Some of you know
that I was a gourmet, vegetarian cook for many years. I am not able to stand and prepare those meals anymore, and I can no longer call myself a vegetarian, but most of what I eat does not include meat.

Russian Novel

The book is a Russian spy novel by Brent Ghelfi.

One of the greatest freedoms
we have in America, is to be able to choose from an incredible variety of things to eat. One of the great tragedies is the vast numbers of people who limit themselves to junk food. With all the nutritious, fresh, and frozen food that is available, the people of our country are gorging themselves on fast food, and becoming obese while their bodies are starved of essential nutrients.

I was reading
where First Lady, Michelle Obama was part of an effort to provide healthier food in our schools. This article was in the local Redding paper, so there were a bunch of comments complaining that she was wasting taxpayers money. Clearly these people were examples of the relationship between poor nutrition and diminished brain development, so for the benefit of the reporter, I added further information to her story.

  • February 12, 2010
  • 10:49 a.m.
Written on North state programs complement first lady's childhood obesity campaign:

Some more information to digest;

A recent study discovered that children born to mothers who are obese during pregnancy, become genetically predisposed to develop Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, in addition to obesity related health issues.

It is traditional for America's First Lady to promote causes that improve our country. I applaud this effort to improve the quality of our children's eating habits.

It seems the old saying is abundantly true, "We are what we eat".

Sweet Dreams

Sandi made up my bed in shades of blue, Thursday.

I am so fortunate
to have food, a warm, dry place to call home, and a bed to sleep in.

Recently I changed the orientation of my bed to see how it feels. I am glad to report that it feels good. My dreams are pleasant and the outside sounds are more muted from this spot. So much so, that I had to take down my wall clock/weather station because I could hear the battery driven mechanism laboring to lift the sweep second hand from 6 o'clock to 12. It should be fun looking for a replacement clock that I cant hear.

American Viola

John uses a 500 year old method to glue and clamp.

I continue to photograph the making of John Harrison violins, and a viola. The images are beginning to graphically tell the story for the e-book, "From Kindling To Concert Hall". This weekend I hope to have time to edit some of the pictures in the trial version of Aperture 3, an image editing program for Mac users. I am impressed with some of my early efforts, and it may offer me better tools than the ones that are so time consuming, and frustratingly complex in photoshop. We shall see, graphically.

The front and back, (Top and bottom?), of viola in the making.

The viola is being created from a wide leaf maple tree that was cut high in the cascade mountains of Oregon. John has made instruments from this batch of wood before, and really likes how it performs.


Still shot from video filmed in John's violin shop.

The downsized Phil Seymour Band
did some recording last Wednesday at John's shop. Playing as a trio is really helping us listen and respond to each other while we play. The music has become more intricate when playing without a drummer or keyboard. You can hear for yourself.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Losing Hand (Trio) by Phil Seymour

Music Is Delicious