Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bright Ideas

Beautiful Day

It was a day of inspiration, and action.

Yesterday’s breakfast

I have been researching possible solutions to a shortcoming that occasionally crops up when I am recording live music. The method that I have been using, sometimes needs an additional microphone, or 2, from a different vantage point.

I could get a mixer with more channels that would produce more live tracks, but that would be a major expense for a part time need. I could get a small, portable digital recorder at an affordable price, but I had the feeling that there was a more elegant solution.

For a few dollars more than a dedicated portable recorder, I could get a full featured device that supports the same recording software that I use with the MacBook. And it is designed to integrate with my other Apple devices. I got an iPod Touch.

The iPod Touch does everything an iPhone does, but without the phone bill. It surfs the internet, does email, takes pictures and HD movies, takes advantage of the 400,000 App selection to do just about everything one could imagine, does messaging, phone calls, and video conferencing, etc.

The real deal maker happened right after I got it home and downloaded GarageBand so it became a full featured digital recorder. Like most things Apple, it is designed to do the things it does, effortlessly, pleasingly, and reliably. Let the magic begin.

Today’s Somewhat Relative Video;


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Singing Love Songs

Not Just For The Birds

I was thinking about the universe as a big giant lump of Jell-O substance that had ever-changing viscosity, when I ran across this article about mice.

Article About Crooning Mice

The researchers evidently sought to record the sounds of the mice with ultrasonic capable capturing microphones, and to their surprise they discovered that the male mice were singing love songs to the females.

They found a lot of similarities to bird songs, which are used for the same purpose of wooing a potential mate. The singers that sang the best songs were the most likely to be chosen by the females. That’s no surprise to me.

Meanwhile back to the viscosity of the universe. I had combined the theories of quantum/holographic/and Einsteinian universes into one viscous glob of stuff in which all things were suspended. I think I was seeing a piece of the puzzling picture of existence.

It had actually started out as an explanation for another theory I had about pockets of gases in the cosmos through which our solar system passes.That theory had to do with the presence, or absence, of substances through which we are passing that would affect our mental capabilities, in some way explaining why we as a species could go thousands of years without any advancement and then around the turn of the-20th century the world exploded with inventors and inventions.

I felt I was really getting somewhere, the lightbulb over my head was brightly lit, I was using Dragon Express to do the typing, speaking quickly and excitedly as my thoughts began to coalesce.

Then the refrigerator cycled on, bringing my picture of the universe crashing down into a pile of gibberish and disjointed thoughts like Humpty Dumpty after the great fall.

The speech to text program could no longer understand what I was saying, and I could no longer hear what I was thinking during the rattle and roar of the refrigerator compression cycle.

I suppose this latest event was to remind me to ask the apartment manager for a new refrigerator. The eardrum rattling noises that this one makes are the antithesis of love songs.

In Other News;

The new backup drive is working just fine and I look forward to at least three years of backups until I need another one.

I am reading the new book, Revelation, by C. J. Sansom. This is the third book of his that I’ve enjoyed reading. They are set around the time of Henry VIII, and the hero is a humpbacked lawyer/detective who describes the people, politics, religion, economy, and environment, while solving the mysteries.

The moon and Sirius are appearing on the eastern horizon for a limited engagement just after sunset. This is provided that there are cloudless skies and less than Beijing levels of pollution.

Today’s Somewhat Appropriate Video;


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Backup Plan

Workin’ On It

One of the nice things about having a stable living situation, is that a person can think in terms of a backup plan.


This little bitty sunflower that I’ve been following for about a month, has a backup plan. I can see the structures in this plant that might produce at least six or seven sunflower seeds.


The point is that whether or not this sunflower plant survives long enough, it is preparing for the future.

I too, live in a world of possibilities.

I have a backup plan for my computer, but it recently got full.

With some much appreciated financial assistance, I was able to get a bigger external hard drive to accommodate the large volumes of data that I accumulate with audio, video, and graphic design production.

Two of my happy philodendron housemates

I use a backup program called Time Machine that is designed for Apple products. It uses a little more space than just directly storing data, because it has a wonderful magical graphical interface that allows you to flow back through the various days, months, and years that you have been using your computer.

I enjoy the luxury of going back in time through my hard drive until I find the file, picture, or application I’m looking for. I can then highlight it, click restore, and it flows back through time and lands right on my desktop where I am at in the present time.

The drawback with Time Machine is that the magic takes a little bit of extra space on the external backup hard drive, and the 1 TB hard drive that I got last year is full.

So today I got this 3 TB hard drive that should last for at least three years, depending on how busy I get with data intensive projects.

Today’s Somewhat Relative Video;

Sunny Weekend Ahead

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Solar Winds

Dazzling Lights

One of the nice things about the Internet is how quickly one can see events that are happening around the world. This video from Lapland was taken just yesterday, and today I’m able to watch some wonderful stop motion images of people observing the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis.

I sometimes put my movies and videos on Vimeo. I generally try to put my very best work there because the other videos on that site are about as good as you can get.

Speaking of as good as you can get, life here at the Treehouse remains interesting, inspiring, and the natural world around here is constantly entertaining.

The little sunflower I have been following, is still alive, and the handful of other flowers that dot the landscape are growing bigger and getting more beautiful everyday.

Today, Linda brought her iPad over, and I got to see my iBook about the Viola, previewed  on the iPad. It really looks good, and the features work flawlessly. There are only a few more things to complete and it will be ready to publish probably in about two weeks.

It’s very tempting to want to go back and shoot all new pictures for certain sections, but that would be better as another book that I can make as a follow-up, should there be a need for a follow-up.

I’ve had recent requests to record some songs with just me playing my guitar and singing, (without my bands), for a live audience. I look forward to doing that soon, somehow, somewhere, and there is even the probability that I will film while I’m playing, so I can produce a song or two and put them on Vimeo to share with you.

I sure enjoy the flowers, birds, and sites around the Treehouse. There is always something interesting that captures my photographers eye.

Today I saw the occasional bee buzzing about, but is nothing like those last few weeks when the bees were having a banquet of flowers to pollinate. Now there’s just a few flowers and accordingly there’s just a few hungry bees. The bulk of the bees have buzzed off to bigger and more bountiful food sources.

I got an early start this morning when the local CHP helicopter was circling around the neighborhood. They certainly aren’t those silent black helicopters that one hears about from the tinfoil hat people.

I was happy to get this picture of it, even though my morning cup of coffee hadn’t had time to fully open my eyes.

We have been enjoying some much needed rain here in Redding. I hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying something much needed, too.

Today’s video can take your breath away. It is one of the high quality presentations you can find on Vimeo. The accompanying song is a wonderful example of a poetic folk song that explains the nature of the universe in 800 words and one chord. The combination of thought provoking imagery from the visuals and words awakens the infinite that lives within our souls.

Today’s Somewhat Appropriate Video;

It’s A Beautiful Universe

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Little Rain

Music To My Ears

It sure was nice during the stormy nights, hearing the rain on the roof, with windblown drops beating against the windows at times.

The storms left snow on the mountains and even as low as the dam road where I went to take pictures of the snow on Mount Shasta on Monday.

It was kind of funny, because after I had been up taking the pictures, I stopped into Trader Joe’s and was talking with the girl at the check out counter about taking pictures up by the dam road.

She asked tentatively, “Where exactly is that road?”

I said, “The one by Shasta dam and Lake.”

“Oh, the dam road”, she exclaimed with relief.

I embed-ed a slide show on here from Flickr of some of the pictures from the last 2 days, including a couple of nice shots of the snow on Mt. Shasta.

Around the Treehouse there were still some flowers looking mighty pretty that I took pictures of, and I’m happy to post them here.

Pres. Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, and I am reminded that he’s a very good president under the circumstances.

He continues to patiently try to work with the racist and obstructionist Congress without being drawn into their name-calling and negativity.

He is a more dignified statesman than any other elected official in our present government.

What a great year for the San Francisco 49ers. It’s been a long time since they’ve had such a good team and gone as far as they did. I look forward to more exciting football next season. Go Niners!

The two bands, here in Redding are sounding good and they are well received by their respective audiences. The one band is blues, and the other band is more melody oriented. I like singing in both.

The third band, in Richmond with Marion and Leona, The LMP Trio, was possibly going to play this January, but things change. I think next month, or March, I may go down to Richmond to record some more songs for an additional CD, if we can fit it into our schedules.

I am certainly happy to have so many wonderful things to do that interest and inspire me.

The Viola iBook for the iPad should be complete in the next couple of weeks or so, and we’ll see how that is welcomed by the Apple store when it’s published.

That’s a project that I’ve been working on for three years and I still find it exciting.

I hope you’re enjoying these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking, and editing them to make them as interesting as possible. Life is good.

Today’s Somewhat Appropriate Video;

Sunny Disposition

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Break Between Storms

Sunshine, Too

The, ‘wet puppy in the rain’ rose is now the colorful rose in the sun with clouds and blue sky.

I wonder if the rain will help this sunflower pump up its petals once again? I will keep an eye on it and photograph its progress.

Shasta Bally, got a nice dusting of snow from Friday’s storm.

This flower, (pictured yesterday as a bedraggled, wet, soggy, yellow and red thing), was basking in the sun today.

Some of the flowers look even brighter and more cheerful since the rain. There are not a lot of roses left unless one looks carefully, deep in the bush, to find one or two still hiding from the rose pickers.

Snow On The Volcano

Just before sunset one of my neighbors came by to let me know that the clouds had lifted off of Mt. Shasta and that I might want to take a picture. I did.

I snapped a lot of pictures today and many of them were sufficiently interesting to want to share them with you. So today’s blog is less talk, more images.

I took this picture, (above), of the Treehouse Apartments building ‘A’, from Northpoint Drive, about a half mile away.

As I was putting on my slippers in the morning, I happened to notice that there is a lot of blue and brown in my world. Most of the things I have, just came to me when I needed them, so I didn’t really have much say in the color scheme. I really like these colors. Once again, I am thankful for my remarkably good fortune.

One last beautiful, colorful, character filled, yellow rose that escaped the stem choppers.

So, there you have a few pictures of the beauty that surrounds me here at the treehouse Apartments in Redding.

Now it’s time for me to get back to rewriting the iBook for the iPad about the John Harrison Viola. I made a lot of progress on it last night, once I figured out how to eliminate the backgrounds and shapes they have for the design templates in the iBook authoring program. With the dull and uninspiring frameworks removed, I could replace them with my own designs.

I designed a couple of my own templates for iBook pages to use for the viola book, and after I put together a few more I hope to try it out on an iPad to see what it looks like before doing the entire book.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;