Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Band Played On

At Gray Pine Farm

We had fun, and so did the people who saw, and heard us play. I am hoping that I will find some pictures of us playing, but in the meantime I took a few pictures while we were setting up, so I stuck me in one of them.

Gray Pine Farm is a beautiful venue and I look forward to playing there again. I noticed that to one side of the stage there is a Heavy Metal Mariachi band, so I took their picture.

The next time I see someone from Gray Pine Farm, I will ask who the sculptor was who created the Heavy Metal Mariachis. Maybe he, or she, will like my interpretive image.

I was able to take a few pictures of Kenji Kato and his band, Brown Shoe. They entertained the rib dinner diners with some nice jazz covers of Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock. Kenji left his drums set up for our drummer to play when we performed later.

I took a couple of pictures on the drive to Oak Run. A lot of the drive reminded me of upper Carmel Valley with oak trees and pasture along the way.

It was a pretty day for a country drive to the event. I had hoped to take some pictures on the way back, but I didn’t see a good place to pull over where I could capture the star filled sky over the lights of Redding. You will just have to take my word that it was magically spectacular.

Is Illiteracy To Blame?

People that watch Fox news and constantly listen to talk radio rather than read reports, or books, newspapers and magazines, tend to be the ones who support the Tea Party and blame everything on Obama and the Democrats.

The people I know that are libertarian, and or, subscribe to conspiracy theories, and are willing to take the word of someone on You Tube, rather than reading any background information, or scientific analysis, feel compelled to send me links to YouTube videos, or forward unsubstantiated email claims.

I hope one day to figure out a way to inspire the information-ally challenged to read beyond the headline and the catchy title of a video, and actually learn some facts before repeating the misinformation.

It’s not necessary for me to specify any particular incident or foolish denial craze, because if you are reading this, you already know what I am referring to.

My current action, when a friend sends me an email that is clearly erroneous, is to write a civil correction, accompanied by verified source material and links. If I get a response that is loaded with right wing talking points, I just figure that person prefers to remain ignorant, and I cease to correspond on that subject.

The pictures on today’s blog have all been taken with the Panasonic Lumix TZ3, and unless otherwise specified, are taken in and around the Treehouse Senior Apartments.

We still have a lot of colorful blooms to enjoy before the sizzling summer sun turns them to dust. Even then, I find beauty in their forms and bleached colors.

Today’s relatively Appropriate Song;

Cool Blue Water

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reality Is Enormous

Sometimes, It’s Hard To Comprehend

Yes you can see San Francisco from what is now called Battery Spencer.

The spelling world of reality is showing me that I should have saved the original art work so I could correct the spelling of,  ‘Spencer’.  Luckily the mistake is not all that enormous. Really.

This is a  screen shot from a Panoramic View of Battery Spencer.

In 1984, there was a tree and a flat space a little below where these people are standing. It was there at sunrise in February of that year, that I got married for the third time. It was quite spectacular as the clouds lifted in the east, allowing the rising sun to shine through and cast it’s light across the bay to illuminate the city, the bridge, and the happy faces of the wedding party on the hillside.

That happiness lasted 4 years, the marriage lasted 5. I hadn’t met, “The One”, yet.

Speaking Of Sunshine

While I was shooting some video for a Treehouse Senior Apartments project today, (Wednesday), the sun lit up a sunflower behind the dining room and made it irresistible to ignore the colors, intricacy, and fantastic shapes that blend to make the familiar flower.

More Colorful Reality

This flower, (above),  grows on the north side of the property, opposite from where the sunflower grows. The design grabbed my attention earlier in the day as the sun lit this flower that dazzled me with it’s bright colors. I don’t know what kind of flower it is.

Wednesday Music

I enjoy singing the old songs with ‘memorable melodies’ on Wednesday afternoons, here at the Treehouse. I can experience the joy of being a smooth crooner. It also warms up my voice for the Thursday Night Shasta Blues Society Jam where I use a more powerful rhythm and blues style of singing. I am so lucky that I am able to sing and play music.

Some of the seniors who were there to enjoy the music, were worried about how they will survive when the Government stops sending social security checks. I suggested that they stop watching the fear-mongering cable news and get the real story from other sources like the New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Daily Show, The BBC, Al Jazeera, or . They need to know what is actually going on in the real world without the 24 hour a day histrionics from Fox and CNN that has them so upset.

Beauty In Hand

Along the driveway there is this one small rose bush who’s flowers are turned downward, facing the ground. They have such beautiful colors that I can’t resist turning them around to gaze upon their faces. This one felt as good in my hand as it looks. (No harm was done, the stem stayed attached, and is threaded through my fingers.)

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

Really Big World

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lucky To Be Alive

And Happy About It

Once again, I get to start my day with a bowl of organic cereal and fresh fruit, and for that I am  grateful. I am grateful that I have food to eat, kept fresh in a refrigerator to preserve as much of it’s nutritional benefits, and that organic and natural foods are readily available.

I am grateful that I live in an area that has hydro and wind powered power generation, so that I can feel like I am not thoughtlessly using up future peoples resources.

I am grateful that I am allowed to enjoy and photograph all the splendid, colorful, and interesting flowers that grow within my sphere of awareness. I even have the perfect camera for me to take the pictures with. I have much to be happy about.

Can you see the ants, and identify this plant?

Some of the people with whom I chat a minute or two each day, express their fears and exasperation with the government doing, (or not doing), something or another, and they ask my opinion. I ask them if they have been watching cable news, (easy guess), and suggest that they tune in to something more pleasant than programs that are designed to get people all stirred up.

I explain that Fox news, and the others like them, are treating elections and government business like a game show, and it is important to keep the pot boiling or people will change the channel.

It is good to stay informed, but one is not likely to get a comprehensive overview from the likes of cable news. If one must get news from the TV, it’s more informative to watch BBC, PBS, and ones favorite local stations.

I am grateful that I have a computer and internet. This allows me to read several newspapers, magazines, blogs, and reports from around the world each day.

There are programs that one can use to present all the sources of news and current events that suit ones taste. They are sometimes referred to as, “Readers”. Some are free, like Google reader, and I have selected sites, sources, and things of interest to me that are all there in one spot.

The topics, headlines, and a brief synopsis of the stories are displayed in ways that allow me to scan a large amount of information at a glance. If I wish to know more, I just open that story of interest and read until I am satisfied. I am so lucky to be living in this time when so much wonderful information is at my fingertips.

I went outside and walked around the Treehouse this afternoon to capture all these fascinating images of colorful plant life. It sure beats watching bloviators and bimbos
relentlessly disrespecting the our president.

So, if you find yourself getting anxious about the budget battles, or fear that Pancho Villa is bringing his army to take away your jobs as lettuce pickers, or the government might regulate derivatives, and you think that CFL’s are gonna kill you, you really need to change the channel.

I am happy that I don’t have cable TV, don’t listen to talk radio, and only read the National Review after I have fully digested meals. I am grateful that I have this little flyspeck in the blogosphere, and that you take the time to read it and enjoy the images of natures wonders that I am able to share with you.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

Still Learning

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Finding The Ladybug

The Puzzle Picture

Yesterday, I wondered if you could find the ladybug. I didn’t notice it when I was taking the picture, nor did I notice the little bugs inside the flower until I was editing the pictures on the computer. So if you still cant see the ladybug, don’t worry, I have a clue in this next image.

The ladybug had the perfect coloring to blend in while hunting for food on this plant.

While I am on the subject of blending in, I watched the movie, ‘Rango’, last night. I liked it. Johnny Depp brought the lizard character to life with his vivid range of voices. The story, music, and graphics complimented each other to make this one of the best animated films I have ever seen.

I really enjoy photographing and scrutinizing the closeup images of flowers. I am discovering more flowers inside the flowers, like in the sunflower pictures above. These closer looks, combined with the new appreciation of the Fibanocci sequence, have really enhanced my comprehension and relationship with botanical lifeforms.

When I saw the picture of me for this blog, I realized that it was rather bland compared to the brilliant colors that the flowers brought to this page, so I played around a bit to make it a bit more interesting;

I just have to figure a way to get that page curl to come out of the frame. Some other time, perhaps.

Back to Reality

Or at least an image of what reality looked like to me when I snapped a picture of this pretty pink rose. No effects required.

I have such a large backlog of images that I have yet to show you that I have taken of the beautiful lifeforms that grace my immediate surroundings, that I decided to make a slide show of just the good ones taken from July 11 through July 24.

But how? Well I tried a different slide show setting and made a little movie. I apologize for not using my own music, I used some of the music that Apple provides for slide shows. However, there is some copyright stuff that keeps it off the video. Enjoy the pictures and hum whatever song comes to mind.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Video

Silence Is Golden

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Easier Than I Thought

And I Am Glad

Only 100° at the time of this picture. Hat tied down in the wind.

Yesterday I was compelled to write something to remind me that I am qualified to tackle many different things. I think the purpose was to prepare me to confidently proceed with replacing the Macbook hard drive. (Hard Drive Replacement Story)

It was also a means of diverting my attention from an encounter with a person who’s obsession with wanting to be like the ultra-rich, has made logic and reason run away from him in horrified shame. It was a test of tolerance to politely stand and listen to him as he extolled the Anti-American virtues of being rich enough to send money to off shore bank accounts.

Can you see the lady bug?

“The problem with our country is big government and taxes”, he states with the conviction of a true believer, forgetting that he would have nothing were it not for unions, government regulations, pension plans, fair wages, 40 hour work weeks, overtime, sick days, medical and dental coverage, paid vacations, and all the rest of the gifts he received, thanks to Americans who payed their taxes.

You can bet it’s not 100° on Mt. Shasta. Bring a jacket.

I told him it was nice to meet him, and though I disagreed with what he said, I found the discussion interesting. (Maybe he was just pretending to be stupid.)

I get a kick out of these things on the fence.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

Heaven Is All Around Us

Friday, July 22, 2011

Why I Went To School

And Other Surprises

When I was around 4 years old, I was very excited about being able to go to school.

This was because I believed that schools were the place where one went to learn things, to find answers, to access the vaults of wisdom, to expand and satisfy the hunger of intellectual inquisitiveness.

I was a child.

I didn’t know then that most people were in school because it was a requirement.

The answers that I sought were not being served up in the classrooms of the public school system, but when I was 7 I got my first library card and found some information was stored in the books that they had there. I devoured the books in the kids section which quickly earned me an adult card, and free run of the library. It was paradise for my hungry, growing mind.

Each step of the way through grade school, the kids and teachers would tell me how much harder it would be in the next grade. Imagine my disappointment as the the next grade would be no more intellectually satisfying than the one I just completed.

There were a few kids that were real smart in mathematics, but didn’t seem to use their intellect on anything else, so I didn’t spend much time with them.

I was filled with hopeful anticipation as the prospect of junior high was just around the corner and it was advertised as being much, much harder, requiring increased studying and hard work.

Nope! Same stuff, different school.

Here is your textbook. We will spend the entire school year, going through the contents at an excruciatingly slow, mind numbing pace, and giving tests to see if you have memorized the answers we give you.

“Well, you may think that junior high school is easy, but just wait; High school is a whole new level of hard stuff to learn.”

I sincerely hoped that they were right.

I guess I am an incurable optimist, because it took going to 3 different colleges to convince me that I was not going to find the scholarly answers I sought by spending additional time in traditional academic institutions. I am glad that things turned out the way they have.

This path has brought me to a place in my life where I have some wonderful, unique, supportive, understanding, and wise people as friends and associates.

Life Is Amazing. Here is a spectacularly beautiful place on this earth we live upon.
Take A Look.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

So Many Exciting Things To Learn