Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When Formulating A Repair Strategy,

I Stay Home

Strange plants make good pictures. 6/28/10

These things are interesting life forms. 6/26/10

I am cleaning out the car this morning in preparation for whatever solution awaits the transmission condition. It's strange what I keep in the car in case I need it. Evidently, some of the stuff hasn't been needed for years, and in the case of a spare tire, (or at least one of several flashlights I had stashed in various compartments), some things we keep handy, but we are glad they haven't been needed.

The center console tends to become a catchall for everything from receipts to used AA batteries. I had seven dollars and twelve cents in there. I put the stuff in a paper bag and brought it upstairs to sort through later. The center console now contains reading glasses, sun glasses, and a hair brush that doesn't work on my hair.

I organized
the glove box last summer, so it didn't accumulate too much extra stuff.

Sandi helped me tidy up the contents of the trunk a few months ago, so it's just a matter of bringing the stuff upstairs.

One of the
maintenance guys was kind enough to lift my amplifier out of the trunk and I have a little cart to pull it along to the elevator, so the heaviest item is out of the car and in the apartment. He kept saying; "You gotta have a roadie". I wonder if he was applying for the job?

The flowers hatch from pods. 6/28/10

So...now that the car is cleaned out, should I need to leave it somewhere to be repaired, I will have my stuff here at home in case I have to wear an extra sweater or something. Maybe I will create some sort of art work with the flashlight collection I have accumulated.

Mystical Gladiola

Light, shadow, depth of field, and color = Magic. 6/26/10

See more of these late June flowers, HERE.

I love this place.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
The LMP Trio


Sunday, June 27, 2010

To Richmond

And Back

Trusty Buick. 6/26/10

Wednesday afternoon I drove down to Marian's house in Richmond. The drive from Redding was a breeze. It's interstate all the way so, with the exception of occasional clots of traffic, one needs only to set the cruise control and enjoy the ride.

The plan was to visit, and while I was there, record some songs for our 17th CD.

Phil, Marian, and Leona. 6/25/10

We recorded 36 songs during my stay. I have started editing them, and so far, they sound really good.

I used
a different method of mixing, (of course), and the results are an improved dynamic spectrum with no clipping. This means I only have to fix a couple of notes here and there. I get to use the effects patches just as enhancements, instead of using them to repair technical shortcomings in the recordings.

After dinner scrabble was entertaining. 6/23/10

It's always a pleasure to play with Leona and Marian. The LMP Trio is very different from the blues band, but at the core it's the same wonderful world of playing music.

Chard, pork chops, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Yum.

In between the music and scrabble games, I enjoyed the home cooked meals that Marian and Leona prepared at breakfast, lunch and dinner time.

It was a warm, comfortable visit and recording session.

Back Here In Redding

The road back to Redding was the same 200 miles as the road to Richmond. It was a pleasant drive and the Buick ran smooth and true.

I went out today, (Saturday), to get some pictures of the volcanoes and Shasta Bally.

Shasta from the carwash on Hilltop Drive. 6/26/10

Shasta Bally from the carwash on Hilltop Drive. 6/26/10

The temperature
was about 101 when I first started my photo excursion, and it wasn't until the top of my head felt hot that I realized I had forgotten to wear a hat. Since I was at the top of Hilltop taking pictures, I drove on down to the bottom of Hilltop to Big 5 Sporting Goods to see if they had a hat on sale.

New Hat

My new hat with a string for windy days. 6/26/10

Now that
I had a new hat, I decided to head out to Whiskeytown Lake to get some closer pictures of Shasta Bally before the snow all melts away. I took the back roads looking for photo opportunities. When I got on 299 and started up the hill, the transmission could not find 2nd, 3rd or Drive. It would stay in 1st until it was time to shift to 2nd and then the engine would just start spinning. Luckily I was 'up' on 299 so I could get up some speed coasting downhill to get back home.

Lassen from 299 west of Redding. 6/26/10

I used my slow speed as an opportunity to stop and take a picture of Lassen from one of my favorite Lassen picture spots on highway 299.

There was a shady parking spot at Sunset Marketplace, so I pulled in there to check the transmission fluid. It was a litlle low, so I went in the market to see if they had they right kind of fluid. I didn't find Transmission fluid there, but they had my favorite mini cream puffs at the bakery, and some delicious organic Mexican medium roasted coffee beans, so it was a pleasant stop. When I got ready to leave, (remember, first gear was working), I discovered that I didn't have reverse gear either.

Some young guys who had pulled in next to me were kind enough to give me a push backward out of the shady parking space.

I made it back home by coasting when I could and not exceeding 33mph when I went uphill. I even stopped at Ace Hardware and got some fluid, but it didn't help. The dipstick read normal operating range after about a half pint.

I got back to the Treehouse and used the slight incline of the parking lot to roll backward into my usual space. Maybe it's something simple like a loose part that needs to be refastened. I will look it over in the morning.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Drive Drive Drive - Pat Cusick

Going Forward

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Still Ringing

Fathers Day Notes

The trio played at the Hilltop Estates on Father's Day.

Mark and John get their instruments ready. 6/20/10

We had fun playing for the nice people at Hilltop Estates last Sunday afternoon. This was the third time we have entertained there, and the people treat us wonderfully. Some of the people even have favorite songs they remember from our 2 previous appearances, including one of my own tunes. I really like that.

Shasta Last Sunday

There is still plenty of snow on Mount Shasta, but that isn't deterring would be climbers. Sheriffs rescue teams have been busy plucking injured and stranded people by the helicopter load, every day for the past couple of weeks. Conditions on the mountain are not good for typical mountain climbing. The ice and snow are not any one consistent firmness so an ice axe, (if you carry one), wont function as a braking tool should you slip and start sliding down a steep slope.

Most of the climbers who are being rescued are not properly equipped, or experienced.

Lassen from the Treehouse parking lot. 6/20/10

I took the pictures of the volcanoes, on my way back home from the Fathers Day gig. Lassen, at just 10,462 feet, also has plenty of snow at this time and much of the park facilities and roads are still under as much as 30 feet of snow.

What I Wore At The Gig

I am wearing the standard PSTrio outfit. 6/20/10

We didn't have a photographer at the Hilltop Estates, but I wanted to show you the look we use for the trio, so I took this picture when I got home. I forgot to let Mark know we were wearing the turtlenecks, but his Hawaiian shirt was colorful, and with him standing in the middle we made a nice picture, (if there had been a photographer).

Solstice Sunrise

Sunrise at Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice 2010.

Today, Tuesday, seems like its about 37 seconds shorter than yesterday.

Cup Of Coffee?

From lowered cancer risks
to a sharper memory, more studies are showing that coffee is good for you.
Read the story, HERE.

The Phil Seymour Band rehearsed earlier this evening in preparation for a concert appearance at Lake Redding Park on July the 3rd. We have worked up some nice arrangements for some really fun blues, rock, Motown, and oldies that we will be playing at the dedication of the new, permanent outdoor stage that didn't get built yet. We will be one of 3 bands from the Shasta Blues Society who will be performing in the park that Saturday afternoon.

Last Year

John, Mark, and Phil on Marks portable stage. 6/6/09

Mark will bring
his portable stage that we used last year for the Blues Society rummage sale/concert, and John decided that this year we should provide the sound system as well. This is good news for me because our band has probably the best PA system in Redding, and I really enjoy singing through it. I am sure the other bands will be pleased with the sound, too.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
I Don't Miss You - Phil Seymour Band (2009)

Life Is Good

Saturday, June 19, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

We're Off, Too... See?

Watch out for torrential rainstorms.

I couldn't resist
. The resemblance to a character from the movie was too obvious. I am sure she is acting like she has a few loose screws, just so I could make this graphic. Thank you crazy governor lady.

It Was Too Oblique!

Thank you, L. Frank Baum.

New Version

More to the point?

Further explanation, HERE.

In Other News

These daisies in Dottie's garden caught my eye. 6/18/10

I stopped by John's violin shop and showed him some of the test shots I took.

The Viola

These were taken with just the light coming in from the window.

The different colors
of the cloth background influence the image sensors in the camera.

I am so glad to be doing this viola book project.


Nice glasses.

I got another
bunch of books from the library, yesterday. In that bunch of books was one that I had seen on the 'new books' shelf for a week or so. No one was checking it out. I figured that if I was thinking about that book not being read, that I was supposed to read it. I added it to my pile of books and brought it home. I am glad I did.

The author, Bill McKibben, had written a book 20 years ago about the greenhouse effect for the general populace who had somehow missed the previous 20 years of data and warnings about the level of CO2 in our earths atmosphere.

40 years ago, people knowingly chose industry over nature.

20 years ago
, the warnings went out again, but the industries persuaded people that global warming was a hoax.

Now, according to Bill McKibben, the Earth we knew 40 years ago no longer exists. The book documents the world of today and the permanent changes that have occurred in just the past few years. Changes like the loss of glaciers on our highest mountains, the continuous melting of the Arctic ice cap, the expanded tropics, and the extreme weather that is here to stay.

The book points out that we may never get back to the earth of the 50's and 60's, but if we all pitch in, we might be able to keep it from getting too much worse.

His website 350.org is an uplifting experience to visit. (350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—measured in "Parts Per Million" in our atmosphere. 350 PPM—it's the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.)

I am encouraged by the numbers of influential people who are part of this organized effort to stop runaway climate change by reducing human caused CO2 emissions. Go HERE and see for yourself.

Just because
some of us can drive to Safeway and buy whatever we would like to eat and drink, does not mean there are no shortages of food and water in the rest of the world.

Todays Relatively Appropriate Song;

Cool It

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Everywhere I Look

More To See And Do

Mount Lassen with editing by me. 6/16/10

Mount Lassen with editing by iPhoto enhance feature.

I like the built in enhance function of the iPhoto editor, and sometimes I don't. The two pictures of Mount Lassen, (above), are a good example.

I spent some time developing the different color tones and detail development for the mountains, the valley vegetation, and sky.

The enhanced
image is bright and colorful.

that's a good thing.

Sometimes the image needs very little massaging. This lily, (below), is a good example of a magic moment when all the elements are in sync.

This is like what I saw in the camera display. 6/15/10

Yo Ho Ho

I found this ad and just had to share. 6/16/10

I just finished
reading a Michael Crichton book called, 'Pirate Latitudes'. It was about Port Royal and the Caribbean pirate days. The completed manuscript for this book was found in Michael Crichton's files, after his death in 2008.

my delight when I saw the advertisement for a pirate ship kite, today. Indonesian pirates are the source of the tales about the boogey man. Excerpt from Phil's Place, July 12, 2008;

It seems there were some 14th century pirates who lived in Ujung Pandang, on the Kalimantan Kumai River, who were called the Bugis. The were so frightening and savage when they would attack British ships, the sailors that survived would come back to England with scary stories of the Bogy's, or Bogy Men. What we now call, "Boogie Men." (Post)

So, on Fathers Day, you can tell your kid that if he wrecks your $20 Indonesian pirate kite, the boogie man is going to get him.

It does look like a neat kite. I wonder how well it flies?

View From A Bridge

Looking west from the Diestelhorst bridge. 6/17/10

Looking east from the Diestelhorst bridge. 6/17/10

To see these, and other pictures from the bridge, go HERE.

Every so often, I go out to the middle of the Diestelhorst bridge, and take a few pictures. I am never disappointed by the ever changing views.

Returning from the middle of the bridge. 6/17/10

Last night, I was given the gift of awakening at 3:00 AM, and feeling the need to hear a particular song. I got out of bed, padded into the living room, feeling the carpet massaging the soles of my bare feet as I felt my way to the bag by the desk where I remembered placing the headphones earlier in the evening. I suppose I could have turned on the light, but I didn't see the need to disturb my relaxed eyeballs.

I got back
into bed, plugged the headphones into the MacBook, went to YouTube and typed in the song and artist I was thinking about, and, well you can listen for yourself.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Stella By Starlight - Ray Charles

Harmonious Living

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Through The Perspectivescope

Looking Down

I am always amazed at the wonderful images that can be produced with high tech scientific instruments. This view of the Villarrica volcano from Nasa's Earth Observatory satellite is just fantastic. You can see a high resolution version, HERE.

Closer view of the town seen in the above image.

Weather Report

My brother, Jerry, emailed a picture and note from Iraq.

"Don't anyone complain that it is hot when it gets over 90. That would
feel like a "blue norther" right about now. The photo was taken this
afternoon when I was driving to the south side of the base with no A/C.
It is kind of like a convection oven with the wind blowing on your face
since the windows are down. In Texas they say it is about a two beer
drive home. Today it was a two liter of water drive back to the office."


(Today, June 15th, is only 95 degrees at 5:00p, here in Redding.)

Dances With Moon

9:00p Moon and jet plane

9:30p Moon and Venus

I took many pictures of the moon and Venus Monday night with the Lumix TZ1, trying to capture the wonder and mystery that I felt while gazing at the western sky. The jet plane was a surprise when I was editing. I hadn't noticed it when I was taking pictures. I just love this stuff.

10:00p Moon 6/14/10

White Rice And Diabetes
(More scientific evidence that you really are what you eat)

A new study
published in Scientific American shows an increased prevalence of type II diabetes among people who regularly eat white rice.

Turning brown
rice white entails removing a rice grain's bran and germ, which uncovers the white endosperm. The process also raises the grain's glycemic index (a measure of a carbohydrate's ability to raise blood sugar) and strips away vitamins, fiber, magnesium and other components that might help keep diabetes at bay.


Shasta taken with the Lumix TZ1 at 10x optical zoom.

The little second hand camera that could, did, and continues to do. I got the Panasonic Lumix TZ1 primarily to take pictures of Mount Shasta, and the other majestic mountains around here. Since I got it, I have discovered that it works great with many more subjects, (from flowers to fiddles, and rivers to real people), but the pictures I got of Mount Shasta last Sunday, are the main reason I got it.

I love this place.

Along the Sacramento River. 6/13/10

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
The Webby Awards

Life Is Good

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Order Please

Fixed Chaos
(Finding order in a chaotic universe)

Google images - chaos theory

Once I stopped
trying to make everything behave like I thought it should, things seemed to go more smoothly.

How many times
have we heard the example about trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. The illustration generally used, is that of a child's toy where one fits pegs, (dowels, rectangular, triangular and square blocks, etc.), into precut holes on a wooden device. This is combined with an image of a similar toy that combines a hammer and pegs in a wooden toy where the objective is to pound the pegs all down to the surface, then turn it over and do it again from the other side.

When we
demand that the universe behave in our concept of an orderly manner, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration. We all do this to some degree; "If only 'they' would, ________ , this wouldn't happen."

The nature
of the universe is orderly chaos. Behind seemingly random behavior is thoughtfully designed arrangement. Observe the chaotic jumble of leaves on a tree. If you take into account their purpose, you can see that those leaves are all posistioned so that each one can collect as much sunlight as possible from it's place in the overall structure. The leaves that shake in the slightest breeze are actually redistributing light to increase production.

For a long time
, and even now to some extent, I felt helpless and inneffectual because I couldn't get others to understand the things I had learned. If only, 'they' could see that, _____ , is just going to result in, _____ , they would, _______ , and we would be, _____ . I spent many frustrating years in foolish attempts to change the world to the way that I thought it should be, only to suffer bitter disappointment. I sought solace in self defeating enterprise and destructive behavior. Soon it became a habit that became a character trait that became a crushing weight that I carried around in some delusion of justification. What a dope!

Luckily for me
, and those who love me, like a leaf down inside the tree, the light can reach me too. The leaves are designed that way, so that their shape, position, or movement in the wind allows the light past them to the inner leaves. Even in my darkest moments, I would have moments of lucidity, during which I would feed the tree.

Like a security guard
, or a historian, I have always felt my 'mission' is to, "Observe and report". Of course I would ponder and wonder, "Who", I was supposed to report to, and "What" exactly was I supposed to observe?

To take the tree analogy a bit further - Because I, as an inner leaf, only had to perform the function of photosynthesis part time, I could do other things with the rest of my alloted lifespan. I actually have had the time to observe, and having done so, feel the need to report what I have seen. Surely this information would be important and useful to the outer leaves, or the bark. What about the roots? Do the other trees know what I just learned? Does it matter if they do? Are there inner leaves like me, observing and reporting, too? What's that sound? Is that a chain saw?

Where I sometimes err
is when I feel certain that I have uncovered all the bits of information on a subject and think that that is an exact and complete description. Then it gets even more erroneous when I draw a conclusion based upon these facts, and answer with absolute certainty that I know what I am talking about. I could not be farther from, or closer to, the truth than I am with each new discovery and informed insight. This can be both disappointing and enlightening at the same time. The glass half full, or half empty as usual.

Relatively Full

It will be fully charged in 23 min.

I recently
was made aware of the different ways I can observe the condition of the battery in this MacBook. It can tell me whether the battery is half full, or half empty.

I had it set
to show the percentage of available battery power, but for now I like this feature that tells me how much useful time I have left in my batteries with whatever applications I am running. Some things like editing and producing a movie use a lot of processing power and can drain the battery faster than reading or writing email, (or blogging).

I have 5hrs and 19min of battery.

The computer
calculates how much time one has left, based on the activity one is doing, and reports in the toolbar. Since I am writing this in Google Apps, on line, and don't have any other applications running, the MacBook estimates that I could continue doing this for another 5hrs and 19min before I would need to plug in the power cord.

Fussing Over Fonts

The New Yorker magazine gets a facelift.

The average
person doesn't know just how much time and creative energy goes into something so seemingly simple as the name of a magazine on it's cover, but they do know that they recognize and identify with that publication by just one glance at the cover. The masthead, logo, trademark, or 'graphic' that identifies a product, has been created, massaged, and produced by graphic designers.

I know a little about this subject having begun a 'sometime' graphic design career path as far back as junior high. Like many things in my life, I only used this bit of talent when needed, but I know how effective a little font change can be.

I was
explaining to someone, the how and why it was so exciting to locate just the perfect fonts to use for the viola e-book for iPad. It took a lot of combinations of various styles and type faces to balance with the tone of the subject matter. To enhance the feeling of old Italian masters being revisited through a present day master maker as he creates on each page. To support a story about a viola that embraces the Stradivarius attention to all aspects of a concert quality instrument.

I chose two fonts that would represent this modern creation of a classic design. The result is an effect that illustrates the message in the words while balancing with the tone and substance of the images. I finally chose a couple of Apple fonts that produced the desired effect;

Apple Gothic

Apple LiSung

Using a sanserif
font for the headlines and attention getting effect is a tried and true design standard, as is using a serifed font for big blocks of text. The most often used combination is Helvetica and Times. Usually this will suffice in a general way for all projects, and it's a safe, if overused, graphic design technique, but I like to use all the tools at my disposal to best illustrate the nature of the material. In the case of viola book, I looked for a combination that felt to me, like a classic viola that is born in 2010. I got what I wanted.

Don't Forget

Venus with Lumix TZ1 at 10x optical zoom. 6/12/10

Monday night
is expected to be a splendid display of the crescent moon and Venus together on the western horizon. I hope to capture a few images with all my cameras, just so I don't miss anything.

Beautiful Day, Today

I guess I don't need a jacket. 6/13/10

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Cuando Calienta El Sol - Trini Lopez

Warm Thoughts