Sunday, April 29, 2012

Getting Ready For

May Day

May Day has been a traditional day of festivities throughout the centuries. May Day is most associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility and revelry with village fetes and community gatherings. Since the reform of the Catholic Calendar, May 1st is the Feast of St Philip & St James, they became the patron saints of workers. Seeding has been completed by this date and it was convenient to give farm labourers a day off. Perhaps the most significant of the traditions is the Maypole, around which traditional dancers circle with ribbons. (Source; Wikipedia)

Wait, what? Saint Philip is the patron saint of workers? And there is a feast? Why haven’t I heard of this before now? I guess I shall look up some information about this saint named Philip.

According to some new testament stories, Philip was evangelizing in the city of Hierapolis and managed to convert the city proconsuls wife. The jealous proconsul had Philip and Bartholomew crucified upside down. Philip starts preaching from this precarious position and the townspeople decide to take them down.

Bartholomew is released, but Philip tells them to leave him be. He’s not done with his upside down sermonizing. So they left him there till he died.

Am I named after this lunatic evangelist?

Or, am I named after the Philip that died from a beheading in another town?

Luckily, I am named after my great uncle Philip and my aunt Phyllis. I can pick from several bible stories which Saint Philip I want to be the Catholic saint. (One of the original Christian church rules states that you must name your kids after saints)

Apparently there are St Philip’s churches, colleges, and organizations all over the world that train and provide workers for various jobs and industries. No wonder I side with Democrats, the party of working men and women, (who work in the factories and skyscrapers owned by faithless barbarian Republican overlords), they named me after the patron saint of workers.

That was all very interesting background about May Day and Saint Philip, but I hope to be somewhere on May first where I can take pictures of people dancing around a Maypole.

I shall do more research. In the meantime...

Today’s Somehow Related Video;

Workers Day Off

Friday, April 27, 2012

Musical Expression

And Dancing Flowers

The forecast for rain today was not fulfilled. This meant I was out taking pictures for most of the day. I would come in looking at the pictures that I took, think that there might be better light in an hour, go back out shoot the same shot again looking for what was missing in the previous image. Repeat.

It was windy. The flowers were dancing. Now that I think of it, I probably should’ve set up a video camera, but I think at that time my mind was more focused on being ready on time for the band to play at eight.

I kept being drawn outside to watch the flowers. To experience their altered states as the wind, shadows and light became their dancing partners.

Wild or domesticated, they were bursting with colorful, vibrant joy. Whether I was looking at the tiniest spots of color on the ground or the blazing bright roses on the bushes, I was mesmerized by the life surrounding me on this breezy, beautiful day.

I took many pictures of this iris, (above), as it was tossed about by the gusting wind. I got a few that I thought were particularly good and it was hard deciding which ones to post here.

I didn’t record my band when we played tonight, and that turned out to be exactly right for me because I played for the moment and not the recording. I love to experience that immersion into the now. Letting go of all concerns except the joy of being the music. There were no clunkers played by anybody in the band on any of the songs we played, (well maybe one or two), and all who were there seemed to enjoy the harmonious interaction.

I didn’t hand my camera to anyone to take our pictures as we played, but that turned out to be the right thing. I didn’t play to the camera and the pictures it might be taking. I played and sang to experience the joy of the music.

I did notice a lot of cameras and the occasional iPad taking pictures and video of us, but it wasn’t a distraction because I didn’t think about what the results might look like later, on my computer.

I was real happy with the way the music turned out. We had two guitars, keyboard, tenor sax, bass and drums. The sax player, Darrell, sounded the best I think I’ve ever heard him play. Keyboard player, Rick Larsen seem to be sharing my experience and contributed to the overall sound with precision and feeling.

Sarah Pappenheim was our drummer for the whole show. Initially I was just going to feature her on 5 songs, but the other drummer couldn’t make it, and I asked her if she could play for an hour. She did really well and the crowd was pleased by her solid beat and interaction with the other musicians.

Jacob Rabinowitz is becoming an awesome, and entertaining bass player. He seemed locked into the way I wanted the music to go, and naturally added support when I would put additional energy into the singing.

John played some well thought out guitar solos that added a lot to the homogenous sound that we all were crafting together. I think everyone in the band and in the room were aware of participating in a very special musical moment. It was a lot of fun.

Today’s Video;

Tuned In

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Might Rain


Today the skies are dark, damp, and cool. Those are good indicators that the forecasters are getting their groove back.

I don’t mind these circumstances that make shelter and the comforts of home very attractive. One of the nice things is being able to catch up on posting images of some of the amazing flowers that have been popping up around the Treehouse.

These images today, are a few from the hundreds of pictures I have taken over that last few days of sunshine powered blooming going on around here. I selected a few, and developed them into greeting cards, last night.

It is a wonderful feeling when the muse comes to point out specific images and what can be done to bring out their inner beauty. I take those suggestions as inspiration and ride the tide of creativity with excitement and a grin from ear to ear.

The hours fly by while the muse enthralls and massages my creativity. What a wondrous feeling. I just had to share  some of the results with you.

I think you can see why I was drawn outside time and time again during the sunny days to catch the moments when the sun would illuminate each flower in such a way as to hit all the right notes in the Lumix sensors so that the digital images would sing.

And sing, they do. I hope you enjoy the music of these reproductions. The cards themselves are the master mix, and, of course, these flowers are appearing ‘live’ here, around the Treehouse.

Today, A Cosmic Video;

Looking In And Out

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2012

I Almost Missed It

If I had to rely on the newspapers, television, or apparently most regular media, I wouldn’t have known that today was Earth Day.

Even the LA Times only had an article about a $60 lightbulb for Earth Day on their front page. People in the comment sections picked up on this $60 lightbulb story and used it as their argument against saving energy. If they had read the story, (and some of the other comments), they would’ve found that that $60 lightbulb only costs $10 at Home Depot.

The flowers around the Treehouse celebrated Earth Day with new blooms of riotous color.

I saw some of the Washington DC Earth Day celebration on the computer. There was a website that was streaming the event live. I could see that the weather was not cooperating but a few people were brave enough to stand in the driving rain to see performances by Dave Mason, Cheap Trick, several other performers, activists, and politicians that showed up to lend their support to Earth Day.

I think they should have the national Earth Day event take place in California where the weather is more inviting for people to go outdoors and celebrate.

There were a couple of Earth day gatherings here in Redding today. There was one at the Win River Casino parking lot with vendors, music, and exhibitions. That started at 8 AM and ended at 2 PM.

2 PM is about the time I get going out of the house, so I didn’t get over there to see that.

Instead I wandered around the Treehouse and enjoyed this place where I live on this magical planet we call Earth.

Today’s Relative Video;

There’s No Place Like Home

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Sundial Bridge

A Quick Look Around

Yesterday it was my good fortune to have a sunshiny day and the ability to go see some of the sites around Redding. It was especially pretty at the Sundial Bridge around 3:30 in the afternoon.

I set up the iPod Touch on the tripod, (using the stand that John Harrison made), and selected the timelapse app.

There were lots of people out in the sunshine enjoying this beautiful place on the Sacramento River. I looked forward to seeing them all moving about very quickly in the time lapse video.

Robert Ward, pedicab driver.

While I was standing around letting the iPod Touch do it’s thing, a guy rode by, pedaling a pedicab. He parked his rig to the side, and I walked over to find out what I could about the Sundial Pedicab business.

The pedaler’s name is Robert Ward. We got to talking, and I decided to go for a ride as soon as my time lapse video seemed to collected enough images of people coming and going on the bridge. A few minutes later, I climbed onto the backseat and we took off down the pathway to see the eagles.

It was really a great way to get around, especially for me since my walking distances are limited. I snapped a few pictures with the Lumix TZ3, and asked him how he came to be pedaling a pedicab.

He said he came up from Chico, where he had gone to college and earned a Masters degree in mechanical engineering. He discovered he has a lot more fun pedaling a bicycle than being part of the corporate workforce.

We agreed that being able to do the things that you love and enjoy, is priceless.

We soon rolled up to the viewing area for the eagles nest, and as luck would have it there was one of the famous eagles in the nest.

I tried a couple of pictures through the viewing device to see how that worked, and then realized I could probably make a nice time lapse of traveling on the trail in a pedicab.

I wasn’t sure whether to hand-hold the iPod Touch, or to use a tripod. Later I found out that setting the tripod on the, “floor”, of the pedicab worked really well, and next time I will do that for a timelapse of the entire journey.

There were plenty of people on the bridge and Robert suggested that he take me across the bridge and back. It sounded like a good idea to me.

I kept the video time lapse going, and it was on the bridge coming back that I set the tripod down on the ‘floor’ so that I could get my still camera out and take some pictures of the river and Shasta Bally.

I found out, after viewing the video later, that was the best way to get a really smooth time lapse effect from the pedicab.

It was a very productive day. Now I know I can call, or e-mail, Sundial Pedicab to make arrangements for the next time I want to ride around in comfort. In the sunshine. Over the Sundial Bridge, and along the Sacramento river at Turtle Bay.

Later that Saturday, (yesterday), I went up to the Lake Shasta dam and took more timelapse video, but that’s another story, (coming soon).

Today’s Illustrative Video;

Pleasant Times

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Rain, Rain, Went Away

At Least For A Day

It was sunny and pleasant today, Saturday, here in Redding. I went out to a couple of very photogenic locations and took many pictures. I also did several time-lapse videos, but since they aren’t edited and I haven’t written or recorded music tracks for them, I shall present pictures of Friday’s wet flowers that I prepared yesterday.

I am reading Bill Clinton’s latest book; Back To Work. As usual, he puts forth intelligent, realistic solutions to the mess we find ourselves in today. I recommend it to all who yearn for some sane action in government policy and a look at what can be accomplished by putting America back on track.

I am really glad that I am not in politics. I remember spending time in a hunting cabin with some of the leaders of Mississippi’s state government in 1967. They invited me to bring my guitar and sing some songs about peace, love, and freedom.

At the time, I had very long hair and wore jeans and calf high lace-up moccasins. I had just come to Jackson, Mississippi from California, and the summer of love. I had a job as head of the art department for a printing company that did all the state publications, so it was through the owner that I became part of the governors duck hunting retreat.

I found out that these weren’t the bad guys that I had always imagined were lurking in the hallowed halls of corrupt southern state governments. They just needed to behave and act certain ways to exist in the morally corrupt world of higher office.

A couple of them told me that they envied me, and the freedom of thought, expression, and choices that I represented. They couldn’t untangle themselves from the trappings of the lives that they led, because it would mean giving up power.

We never met again, but I think that time in the cabin expanded the perspectives of all of us. I know it did mine. I am really glad that I am not in politics.

So now I have posted the wet flower pictures from Friday, that I think turned out well, and I can begin playing with the images from this sunny Saturday.

Today’s Relative Video;

Free To Dream

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Saving Planet Earth

One Village At A Time

This is the second article I have found, in as many days, that tells the story of a village that said no to mining corporations that wanted to give them money in exchange for ruining their land. This video about the little village in India was very nicely done.

The only problem with it is the embed is in flash. I suppose I could have downloaded it and converted it to a more modern media format, but instead, if it doesn’t play for you, I have added the link to it, below the embedded video.

Weather is the topical subject today. Specifically precipitation.

The sun managed to peek between the clouds a few times around midday, but for the most part it was rain, (and hail, but I’ll get to that later).

I took a stroll along Dorothy’s garden when I went to get the mail between showers. Rain showers, that is.

It’s always fun to get pictures of the flowers wearing their raindrop jewelry.

The different varieties of plants wore their glistening jewels in different ways.

At first I mistook these yellow flowers, (above), for tiny daffodils, but on closer inspection, their pistils and stamens are more like those of a day lily.

The little bitty purple flowers that seem to be everywhere, (once you spot one of them), seemed to handle the rain and cloud bursts with ease.

The rosebuds are ready for a couple of sunny days. That will get them pumping moisture into the petals so they can burst forth in colorful roses.

About 1:30 or 2:00pm, while I was eating breakfast, there were several volleys of lightning and thunder that announced the arrival of hail. I took pictures and video. The video inspired a song, and became the video for today.

Here is a hailstone that bounced inside onto the carpet.

You will see this stone appearing in today’s feature.

Today’s Related Video;

Precipitous Possibilities