Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beautiful Day

I Even Put Up The Umbrella

I took this picture of the trees in front of my apartment around 4 PM. It was about 72°, with blue skies and a happy Phil.

Looking down from my balcony, one can see the happy Buick that started every time I turned the key today. The moisture problem in the computer relay box, in my opinion, is the result of someone not putting the cover on correctly. And because it wasn’t aligned properly you can see where they broke the little mounting point where the screws go on. I will try to fix that later this week.

The twinkling lights are part of the Christmas decorations in the dining room.

There are flowers and trees in every shape and color imaginable. As long as I have my camera with me, I can easily capture the beauty in images to show you here.

Of course having post production editing applications to play with makes it even more fun.

Like this next picture where I had a chance to see what I would look like with my dad’s color of eyes.

Or, in the following picture of three of the ladies that live here playing Scrabble on Thanksgiving night, waiting for the turkey to be done. With effects software, I had a chance to try and get the image to speak more clearly.

So today was a beautiful day and is certainly took my mind off of the silliness of the politics that are going on in Washington DC. I’m not sure what the RNC is trying to accomplish by presenting presidential candidates that don’t even know the names of the 50 states. They keep having debates and these candidates don’t even bother being prepared. It’s embarrassing and frightening. I am glad I am planning to help re-elect President Obama.

On a lighter note, here is a video showing how CGI and green screens help to create Hollywood magic.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

A Heavenly Day

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dry Components

Make Better Connections

Today, the Buick started every time I turned the key. This is primarily because it hasn’t rained, and the moisture that was causing a disruption of the electron flow inside the computer relay box, just beneath the windshield wipers, has evaporated.

This gave me the opportunity to return to Lake Shasta and take some pictures of Mount Shasta in the sunlight. It was a beautiful, sunny, 70° at the Lake.

It was another good day for pictures. It was also a good day to go to the library. I had received an e-mail that said I should renew my library card so I went there and asked the librarian to do so.

While I was talking to her I suggested that they make a program in their computer that would remind me if I had checked out a book already.

The librarian said she didn’t know about a program like that but that they did have a program that would allow me to access a list of the books I have checked out, even from my home computer. I could then print up that list and take it with me and compare the books that I am checking out, against that list.

I told her, “fine sign me up for the list”, but I really would prefer a little voice, or speech balloon, or something, that would come up on the computer screen at the library, that would say, “Hey, you checked this book out six months ago, do you really want to check it out again?”

Fall is still in full swing around the Treehouse and the colors are brilliant. I had a chance to take pictures of a few flowers and trees before the Monday afternoon song fest.

We recorded some new tunes, but I haven’t listened to the tracks yet. If there is a good rendition of something, when I do listen, I will put together a mix to share with you.

The flowers along the driveway gave me some real outstanding colors. Particularly one red rose that kept my attention through several post production treatments.

I also had a lot of fun with one of the pink beauties growing along the driveway.

I hope you enjoyed today’s pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them, (and playing with the images later). There are so many good things in life that bring me joy and happiness, that I feel blessed and grateful on a daily basis. Life is good.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

Applied String Theory

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Turkey Sandwich

Makes It Official

Ready or not, the season is upon us. I had my first turkey sandwich of leftovers from Thanksgiving and it is going to be turkeys and pumpkin pies for the next month, or so. I like it.

The recent rains have left the mountains with fresh coats of snow.I took this picture of Lassen from the driveway while my neighbor, Charlie, helped me jumpstart the Buick.

The rainy weather finds its way into the computer relay box underneath the windshield wipers. This causes some sort of short that drains the battery. I will have to look into that soon, but it only happens when it rains three or four days in a row, so I keep forgetting  about it when the sun is shining.

Today’s flowers gave me even more variety of color, depth of shadow, and variety of light than the day before. How delightful.

After we got the car started, I took a little trip up to the dam to see how Mt. Shasta looked today.

As if to provide a theme for this day, when I got to the dam to take pictures, I discovered that the battery on my camera was running low and I was only able to get two pictures. Mount Shasta was obscured by mist, fog, and light clouds to make it a hazy, ghostly, looming, white giant. With a little help in post production, I think I have captured some of that image.

Tomorrow, I’ll try out a couple of new tunes with Peggy at the Treehouse Monday music fest. Some of these songs I have done on guitar when playing with the LMP Trio.
I found that I can go back to the songs that we’ve recorded and listen to Leona playing alto sax on songs I’m not too familiar with singing, and I can get a pretty good idea on how I will do the vocal. Thank you Leona.

I am still looking for the perfect way to show the red in some of the roses that I take pictures of. Changing the background to blue seems to direct the eye into the folds of this rose where it’s really deep red in color.

I have just about consumed all the food that people have given me this Thanksgiving, and I expect that all across the country, people are enjoying turkey soup, turkey tetrazzini, Turkey cacciatore, and of course, turkey sandwiches.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

Bon Appetit

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Seeing The Signs

All around me

My friend Michael Dillon, dropped by last night. It was good to see him, he had been out on the road discovering America and discovering himself in the process. We talked about many things, and one of the things we talked about was, “What would a sign have to be, to convince us that God is taking an active interest in our lives?”.

We spoke of the signs that accompany great changes in our circumstances and the world as we see it.

How can we know the signs are real?

It doesn’t really matter in the overall scheme of things in this big, wide, world that we live in, whether we feel the signs are real or not.

Happiness can be found in accepting that they are real, and there for us to notice. It’s similar to looking at a cloud and seeing a puppy, or just a cloud. It will be a cloud either way, but it’s more memorable to see a puppy in the sky.

I feel that the signs are there all the time and it’s up to us to notice them. In other words, once I accepted that there are signs in my life that help direct me towards the higher path, I began to see that they are all around me.

Today, when I went out to start the Buick, the battery was too low to make it go.

I accepted that to be a sign. Sure I knew the battery was low after driving in the the rain, using the windshield wipers and headlights the same time for three or four days in a row, but I took it to mean that my time would be better spent right here at home.

Of course this sign wasn’t a life and death directive, but it’s my observation that not all signs are there just for dire circumstances. Sometimes it’s as simple as, “The light is shining on these flowers, take some pictures, you will be glad you did”.

I didn’t have to stay home. Some of my neighbors would have been happy to give me a jump start. But I considered this to be a sign and I think that was a really good choice, considering the quality of these pictures.

I haven’t decided about tomorrow yet. But then again that’s tomorrow and I don’t have to decide tonight. These are the kind of things that I’m learning as I get older and don’t feel compelled to constantly have to go somewhere. I’m right where I belong.

Yesterday, just before sunset, the clouds that had obscured Mt Lassen, dissipated and the sun shown on the snow. One of my new neighbors saw me pointing the Lumix and observed that the fall colors in the leaves were beautiful. I agreed, and added that I was using them as a frame for pictures of Mt Lassen. I think she will ‘get the picture’ when she sees this image;

Thursday, some of us residents had a ‘family’ Thanksgiving in the Treehouse dining room. Peggy Richardson and I provided some music while the Turkey finished being roasted. It was a good thing we did. The Turkey didn’t get finished on schedule, so we entertained for a couple of hours to keep the natives from getting restless.

Peggy suggested a Scrabble game to pass the time after we ran out of songs we had worked out, so the hungry neighbors stayed busy while I packed up the music stuff.

Hungry ‘natives’ await the feast.

The turkey was judged to be ready to eat just in time to prevent an uprising, and everyone enjoyed their favorite thanksgiving delicacies.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

The Only Planet We’ve Got

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks To All

I Am What I Am

Well, it has been a week of food. The first Thanksgiving dinner was last Thursday here at the Treehouse, and it seems like it’s been Thanksgiving ever since.

I’m not complaining, I haven’t had to cook dinner for four or five days now, and there’s still more Thanksgiving dinners planned.

On Tuesday, my neighbor Linda brought me this sandwich and apple turnovers, or pastries.

The barbecue sandwich was delicious and big. The other half is in the refrigerator. The Apple dabbles were too tasty to save one for later, so I ate them both.

It has been raining for the past few days. You would think this would make for difficulty when taking pictures of flowers, but that’s not the case.

I’ve been trying something new. I’ve been using the flash on the camera, (something I’ve been reluctant to do). I had a preconceived notion that the warmth in Lumix images was somehow lost when using a flash. This turns out to be not true.

But never mind that, let’s get back to the food. Tonight was dinner at the Taylor household. It was very good and Stuart made a delicious turkey as usual.

Thank you, Sandy and Stuart.

Hanging from the light over the dinner table, the string to turn the light on and off has a fob on it in the shape of a bird house. I couldn’t resist playing around with that concept.

One nice thing this rain has done for me is to keep me here in the house testing out new applications. Some of them are just for fun. Others have more practical graphical purposes. I think they are all amazing. I love this stuff.

This year I’ve been doing some more research about Thanksgiving and I found some interesting tidbits at National Geographic. Like the following;

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday in 1863. He was probably swayed in part by magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale—the author of the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb"—who had suggested Thanksgiving become a holiday, historians say.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

Giving Thanks

Monday, November 21, 2011


And Common Sense

I started to write letters to the editor when I was around 14 years old. I would be motivated to agree, disagree, or pose a question when I would read an article, or opinion on a topic about which I was concerned, or had some personal experience to add to the story.

With the advent of the internet, people can post their opinions, anecdotes, and, (occasionally), wisdom in the comment section, at the end of stories and articles.

I like this feature. I take to it like a fish to water. I am a regular commenter on Scientific American, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Wired Magazine, and our own local Redding Record Searchlight site, Redding.com.

There is a certain satisfaction that I get when I can respond, in writing, my feelings and/or suggestions concerning a topic that I just read.

This feeling is amplified when I can respond immediately and join in a discussion with others who are interested in the subject too.

Many of the people exhibit intelligence and common sense and some knowledge of the subject in their responses.

There are some whose responses are simply parroting something they heard on Rush Limbaugh, or Fox news, earlier that day.

This becomes obvious when the same set of words shows up from several different people.

They hear a talking point that resonates with the way they feel and simply repeat it on the comments section. It doesn’t really matter if it has anything to do with the subject at hand they just feel the need to repeat what they heard.

This makes them feel good, too. I think the comment section is just grand.

I took these pictures that you see here today down by the rodeo grounds. The colors were just so vibrant I couldn’t resist.

Fall is in the air and the mountains are getting snow and life is good here in Redding.

Today’s relatively appropriate song;

Getting Along

Sunday, November 20, 2011


And Improvements

One of the neat things that I found recently is this program called Dragon Express.

It writes in this little box when I talk.

I’ve been using it for the past couple of blogs instead of typing. The more I use it the more it knows what kind of words I use, and how I pronounce them.

At first it would come up with some real oddball words. But now that it knows my voice, it seems to do just about any word I wish to speak.

I estimate that it has saved me at least an hours time in producing each blog post.

Not only would I have to hunt and peck for every word, but then by the time I typed it, I would decide I wanted another word instead.

This speech to text program is truly a remarkable innovation. I am really glad I got it.

I found another interesting program called Fun Booth. As you can probably tell, I’ve used it for these, (I hope), funny pictures.

Well, I guess that’s all the comedy I’ve got for you tonight. Luckily I found an old Stan Freberg comedy routine, (a record that I possibly wore out when I was a kid), and it’s Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

Better Not Pout