Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Awakenings

At The Crack Of Noon

While reading a movie review by Lewis Wallace, I was impressed by his view on trying to pigeon hole a piece of art into an established category;

“Trying to dump the film into one of Hollywood’s traditional buckets (sci-fi, romance, comedy) simply doesn’t work: To do so would be like trying to pound a square peg into a unicorn’s empty eye socket.”

I sometimes encounter situations where I am asked, “What kind of music do you play?”.

I am expected to name a familiar category like Blues, Rock, Country, Standards, Jazz, or maybe, Dance. Something like that would be misleading and untrue, but it’s a familiar answer for a person, or standardized form that I might be filling out.

Now, I am inspired to combine mythical creatures with idiomatic expressions in an effort to create an appropriate metaphor to illustrate my musical capabilities.

Campaign Contributions

During the last elections, I gave a few dollars to the Obama campaign and the Democratic party. I felt like it helped to let our leaders know that there were some of us in the less than gazillionaire 98%, who could collectively raise significant amounts of money.

We won. I thought the fundraising was done. Silly me.

I unsubscribed to most of the sites that kept asking for more, but I like to get the DCCC updates, so I allow that email to get to my inbox. In the past, I have written to at least one of these fundraising groups to explain why they would not be getting donations from me, unless they changed their strategies.

Today I replied to a DCCC fundraising email from Steve Israel to try to get him to understand;

Dear Steve,

Although I have donated money before, I hesitate to do so anymore.

Let me tell you why, and how we can change that;

I don't want my money going into the republican war chests, and spending money to buy television and radio time on republican owned stations will do that.

Every dollar we spend to buy time on republican owned media, including newspapers and magazines, goes to the 'other team'. That is not smart campaign strategy.

We need to spend our money on promotion methods that put the money into our own businesses.

Printing well designed, simple descriptions of our objectives and goals, and mailing them to our base will be more effective. Use union printers and the U. S. Postal Service and we will divert millions of dollars away from  republican campaigns. In case you haven't figured it out, yet, every dollar we spend in the media is the dollar they will use to outspend us.

If we can get all the registered democrats to vote, we can win every race. They will vote if we reach out to them through the mail, the internet, democratic radio stations, and independent newspapers.

If we spend the money on network TV, Syndicated radio, cable news stations, and right wing owned print media, we are giving the republicans that money to hire the better spin doctors to undo our campaign messages. I can't donate money that affects our party negatively.

I will be glad to donate to a strategy that works for us.

Phil Seymour

Just as I finished sending that email, I got another appeal for donations from Russ Feingold at Progressives United. I sent him a copy of the email I sent to Steve.

I think I clearly illustrated the flaw in their campaign spending practices, but we will see.

I used about an hour of my Easter Sunday watching TED Talks. I find some of them to be fascinating. Especially the ones that I can relate to directly. Like this version of the encyclopedia game that I would like to include as …

Today’s Educational Video;


Friday, March 29, 2013

A Feast For The Senses

Another Day On Earth

The plants, bushes, animals, trees, mountains and skies, all sing the sprightly songs of spring. It makes one feel alive. (Actually, being alive makes me feel alive, but spring is busting out all over and hard to miss).

I think I collected a few, (200 or so), great images on this beautiful spring day in Redding. I thought I might share a few with you. This is meant to raise your spirits if you are living someplace where spring is buried beneath the snow, or some other reason that you may be unable to get outside to enjoy a quintessential example of seasonal rebirth.

For readers on the other side of the equator, I know you are experiencing the opposite seasonal change, but I think you will enjoy the pictures, anyway.

I went up to Shasta Lake to enjoy the combination of human and natural constructs. I like to feel the energy they contain and radiate.  Plenty of good photo material here, too.

I would like to say I had time to edit some of the video I shot, to write and record a soundtrack, and to upload it to Vimeo, YouTube, or Blip TV, but I didn’t. I frittered away the day, simply enjoying the gift of being aware and conscious in this world teeming with life.

Today’s Human Artifact Video;

Set A Spell

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Unsettled Weather

Good For Photography

A little rain, a little sun, an occasional patch of blue sky. Sometimes on the cool side, or sometimes feeling warm. Whatever it is, it sure beats living with the blizzards that swept most of North America the past few days, (although, for some people, the snowy adventure makes life worth living where they live).

The different levels of light, and the variety of shadows that came with the changing conditions, made for some interesting images. It was hard to put down the camera and tend to the other items on my agenda, (I have an agenda?), with the sun playing peekaboo spotlight making flowers flash their brilliant colors from within the profusion of greenery that came with the spring.

Today’s travels, led me to 984 Twin View Blvd, where I stopped at “North State Niffty Thrifty”. There I met Dawn Kinkade, the thrift store owner. She was arranging a daunting heap of inventory into attractive displays.

From bargain bins of clothes, to dishes set on tables as though expecting company for dinner, her store provides a pleasant, browser friendly experience. I found a couple of books I had been looking for.

Pictures were hung by the windows with care, and knick knacks filled cabinets to let one see how some of the overflowing array of second hand stuff might look should you buy it and take it home. Be sure to stop in and take a look the next time you are out that way.

Meanwhile, Back At The Treehouse;

One of the fun things about digital photography, is loading the images into the computer where I can scrutinize every pixel. I often find critters making cameo appearances, that I didn’t notice at the time I took the picture. Spring is the time of rebirth for plant and animal species of all sizes.

And of course, while photographing the plants and animals in the springtime, there is love in the air, (or just about everywhere, it seems).

Like the song sez, “It’s still the same old story...”

Among other things, I made some inquiries into locating a new Primary Care Provider, took my guitar over to John’s Violin Shop and wrote part of a couple of new songs with John, and started editing some music tracks that I recorded over the last few days.

Life is good. Oh yeah, I made a little video of the moon and clouds and for a soundtrack, added part of a song from the list Marian and I were going through before we played with Leona, when I was down in Richmond.

Today’s Short Video;

Being Part Of The Solution

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mixed Messages

Mostly Happy And Uplifting

“Who are these people, and where are Dr. McCallum and Kelly Mercer?”, I kept wondering as I once again stood at the receptionist window at the office of my primary care physician.

Instead of the bustling crowd of cheerful patients, chatting with each other and being greeted by the friendly, personable doctors, nurse practitioners, and office staff, there were what looked like the same 2, glum looking people, sprawled on the waiting room furniture, who were there 2 weeks ago.

The waiting room was dingy and messy. It was as if no one was doing any cleaning. The receptionist room had a few folders strewn about, and most of the file cabinets, printers, and other office equipment was gone. I didn’t see, or hear, any patients, doctors, or nurses coming and going to the examination rooms. It seemed odd, and felt a bit disquieting.

Some of you may recall the bizarre encounter I wrote about the last time I went there for an appointment with the new nurse practitioner that was assigned to me after Dr. McCallum moved from her Court Street offices, to her new location on California Street.

During that visit, I never got past the receptionist who began behaving strangely when I explained that I had lost my Medicare card, but it would be quite easy to verify at the Medicare website. I was astonished at her stubborn and belligerent attitude. She insisted that my appointment could not proceed unless I produced a Medicare card that she could copy.

Later that week, I got on the MacBook and applied for a replacement card. It arrived in Monday’s mail. I returned to the doctors office on Tuesday morning, card in hand, with the intention of scheduling an appointment.

At the office, I encountered the same person as last time. I think she may be mentally disabled, or psychopathic. She informed me that Stephanie, the nurse practitioner assigned to me, was discharging me as a patient, and there would be no appointment.

I asked to speak to Dr. McCallum, but the disturbed receptionist said the doctor was with a patient. I said I would wait. She said she would call the police if I did.

I was flabbergasted, and out of ways to attempt communicating with this foolish, obstinate, thing that was posing as a receptionist, so I left and went to the library.

There I found a couple of new books I haven’t read, yet. That restored my equilibrium and cheerful manner. I enjoy finding new reading material.

There were nice pictures to be taken around town, and back at the Treehouse, so I directed my energy in a pleasant and rewarding way. I guess I must proceed with finding a new PCP, so the pharmacist can fill my prescription for the medication I need to stay relatively pain free.

I wonder if Dr. McCallum is okay?

Today’s Video;

Light Traffic On The Bridge

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Back In The Swing Of Things

On The Right Course

Mount Lassen from The Treehouse

It seems to take a little longer for me to get back on schedule, (I didn’t know I had one until I took a look at what I normally do with my time), these days. I feel like a slacker if I don’t keep up with my journal, let alone keeping the various websites up to date.

Anyway, the past few days have been filled with music and warm friendships. The LMP Trio played in Millbrae on the first day of spring. That gave me a chance to visit and play with Marian and Leona in Richmond. I also got to see Marian’s friend and neighbor, Jim Rampoldi, and he was kind enough to take some pictures of the LMP Trio in action.

Leona, Marian, and Phil - The LMP Trio

Going to play in Millbrae gave me a chance to sightsee, while Marian drove us there and back.

Some things have changed, and some remain the same, since I last visited the Bay Area.

From the Yerba Buena tunnel on the Bay Bridge

I had a pleasant trip to and from Marian’s. The Buick ran smooth and effortlessly as I set the cruise control and enjoyed the ride.

Mount Shasta could be seen for miles, driving north on I-5, Thursday. I took a picture or two through the windshield. This one was between Corning and Red Bluff;

I took some pictures and time lapse movies of the trip to, during, and from Marian’s that I envision in an entertaining video. Today, I have other projects on my ‘schedule’, but perhaps I can begin preparing the film clips and stills tomorrow before I go play at the Jefferson State Blues Society Sunday Jam.

The moon has been appearing in the afternoons, so I take advantage of daylight compositions and colors wherever I can. This image, above, was taken from the ShopKo parking lot today.

Each day brings more colorful, pretty flowers. I have been taking a slew of photos that are contenders for greeting cards. I enjoy balancing the shapes and colors of a pretty flower image into an expressive graphic design and printing it on just the right stock.

Today’s Shipbuilding Video;


On A True Course

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St Paddy's Day

Happy Days Are Good

The Moon and Jupiter, this evening;

It was a great evening to be looking up at the sky. As the sky darkened, more celestial objects began appearing in that same area of the heavens as the Moon and Jupiter.

(In case you missed the last post with the link to information about what all those objects are; Story with more information.)

I didn’t have the appropriate equipment that would point nearly straight up and still be able to look through the viewfinder, or I would still be outside taking pictures of all the objects that shown faint and bright in the night sky.

St Patrick's day breakfast

In past St Patricks day posts here at Phil’s Place, I found some reputable sources that said the origin of the the name, “Corned Beef”, had to do with the peppercorns, but that may not be correct.

You can read this extensively researched article that reveals a different explanation for calling the beef, “corned”;

History Of Corned Beef

Now you know.

Mt Lassen on St Paddy’s Day

Another book of interest that I recently found at the library is called, “The Tinkerers”, by Alec Foege. The author explores the powerful effect that tinkerers had in the creation of the United States. He explains how and why it is the tinkerers ideas, machines, and science that make America great.

Today I noticed the first purple iris in Dorothy’s garden.

It’s like the first day of spring is only a couple of days away.

What astonishing opportunities we are given with our time on earth. I love this place.

Today’s Illuminating Video;

BBC Knowledge Explainer DNA from Territory on">Vimeo

Good To Know