Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It Rained That Day


Poinsettia, happy in the kitchen

Tonight's title is a short story just waiting to be written. Those five words are enough to inspire 1000 pages of story.

Busy bee on a cloudy Tuesday

We had some clouds today. That means that in about a week, the East Coast will have another storm with frigid vortexes, and who knows what. For here, it means we watch another sky of clouds, laden with moisture, heading eastward to dump rain and snow on the other side of the Continental divide.

Quiet study and studio space

With my big chair and myself in my bedroom, I can use the talk to text feature of the MacBook Pro and write this without having to make all my usual typing mistakes. It's a real timesaver.

In the living room, the computer can’t hear me over the roar of the refrigerator, so it makes a lot of mistakes trying to figure out what I am saying.

Nice and quiet in here,

Little blue flowers

The Phil Seymour Band played on Sunday. We will be playing on the 21st, next month at the Post Office Saloon and Grill. This group of musicians really works well together.

EJ, Phil, John, and Mark, on Sunday

Bill, not pictured, plays the keyboard to make five of us. Bill can be found in the pictures that I've posted on Picasa-Web Albums. You can see them HERE.

Dancing stars?

Tonight was Pres. Obama's State of the Union address. The only thing that I found blatantly misleading, was the part about natural gas. He tried to sell us on the idea that our new natural gas wells would make us energy independent. They won't because our natural gas is being sold on the world market to the highest bidder.

Pine needle magnolia blossom

For the most part he did a good job. He talked about climate change and that we had to do some things about that, (although extracting, transporting, and burning natural gas is not one of those things we should be doing prevent climate change).

John and I began writing a new song this afternoon. Maybe I'll use those five words; “It Rained That Day, Remember?”. Now that I think about it, that's exactly what the song is going to be about.

Today’s Viola Video;


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Look Closely

Develop Clarity Of Vision


It's fun to have a camera that allows me to open up the big wide world of tiny things.

Designed for a long tongue

This bee’s tongue fits perfectly into this flower’s attractively decorated nectar dispenser.

Colorfully decorated bug’s delicatessen

If you look carefully, you'll see that there's a bug enjoying a meal of tinier bugs in this colorful weed clump café.

Setting Saturday Sun Shines On Shasta

When I lift my gaze from the tiny things on the ground and look out to the horizon I can see a very large magical mountain. This certainly engages one’s sense of perspective.


Turning my focus back to the bee, I can see that it's moving on to stick its tongue in the next flower. There is sensuality in the interactions of all matter in the universe.

3 of the many different birds in this tree

The moon, planets, and stars dance gracefully across the immensely deep night sky. A dance that takes many nights, centuries, and sometimes billions of years to complete. But we can see some of the steps.

A weed embraces the earth

I guess I have developed a love affair with this planet that gives us everything. My circumstances are giving me the ability to see the heart swelling beauty of life.

Saturday evening magnolia blossoms

If this all sounds much more flowery and far out than you are accustomed to contemplating, I sincerely hope that, after having read today’s post, you will at least observe and treasure a tiny bit more of this world the next time your cognitive powers are activated.

Today’s Video;

Purpose In All Things

Provocations And Dissappointments

Can Broaden One’s Perceptions

Robin hears the auto focus lens

Like the birds, and other animals that I photograph, I can hear the sound coming from inside the camera lens as it changes focus. It tips them off as to when I am pointing the big eye of the camera at them. They stop what they are doing and look my way.

It’s a tiny little sound that most people don’t notice, but the birds can hear it from 50 feet away. That’s okay, I can hear them scratching in the grass at that distance, too. I try to synchronize my focusing with the noises they make, so it will cover the sound of the camera and I can get a candid picture.

Robin retreats to oak tree

The robin fled to an oak tree about 50 yards from me after he heard the sound of the camera. It was great to get his moment of awareness in the first image, and to also get him looking warily at the camera, after he found safety in the ‘distant’ tree. Happy to get the sequence.

Magnolias blooming in January

Some people are beginning to figure out that the climate scientists throughout the world may be right about this global warming thing. Not because TV, radio, or print media has been reporting climate facts, but because the world around them is changing relentlessly.

The arctic hasn’t been this warm for thousands of years. In spite of efforts to deny the data, carbon dating of newly exposed moss reveals that it had been covered in ice for at least 5,000 years. This is happening in the arctic as a result of our pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere than the planet is capable of absorbing. Here is one of several articles about the arctic moss.

It will take a lot more than reports of our warming planet to undo the climate denial propaganda effect on some people, but enough people are realizing that we have to stop extracting and burning fossil fuels, all over the world, so there is still a chance we can effect a livable future. 

Bee visits Magnolia blossom

Meanwhile, Refrigerator Follies, Continue;

The maintenance guy came by today to listen to the refrigerator. I explained that it had just finished it’s cycle, but would likely fire up again in 15 or 20 minutes. I also explained that turning the temperature adjustment to force it to start would not result in it making the same sounds as when it starts on it’s own. I stated, once more, it is best to wait.

House hunting bird checks for occupants

Being the impatient type, he turned the temp adjustment to get it to run. No surprise, (though it was plenty loud), it wasn’t as loud as it is lately.

This guy, who operates weed whackers, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers and lawn mowers, didn’t think it was very loud. But, he did offer to swap my refrigerator with one he just took out of another apartment.

Friday’s sunset

Of course It makes no sense to replace one unwanted, used appliance with another unwanted, used appliance. So, the refrigerator distraction is going to need a more intelligent solution. 

I have the weekend to come up with a plan that will produce a satisfactory outcome. Suggestions are welcome.

I am thinking that the only thing I need refrigeration for is dairy and eggs. I may just unplug it and use it to store vegetables, or grow mushrooms.

Today’s Fair TV Video;

Infinite Possibilities

Friday, January 24, 2014

Learning New Skills

At Least I Think They Are New

Balcony plant in the afternoon sun

One of the benefits of using this Google program to write Phil’s Place, is the search feature. I can search for all the posts I have written that contain the words “Noisy + Refrigerator”.

Wednesday sunset and magnolia blossoms

I have written about ‘refrigerator noise’ in posts going back to 2009. That was the year that  the refrigerator ramped up the noise from bothersome to intolerable. So I wrote about it, and my subsequent requests to management for a new refrigerator.

Late afternoon sun on Lassen

Over the years, some of you readers may have noticed the refrigerator has been a regular feature here, (making two or three appearances each year). Usually I mention it because the intrusive racket has stripped my mind clear of thought and thematic flow, while I am in the process of writing.

But tonight, there are two forces at work that are motivating me to take more assertive action.

Colorful magnolia blossoms

The first motivator is money. More precisely, the waste of money and energy that are now clearly expressed in my electricity bill.

The noisy, obnoxious, grinding, rumbling rattletrap that is unevenly cooling my food, has been cycling on and off, 3 or 4 times in an hour. It is not only grating to the nerves, but it is keeping my REU bill robust, even though I haven’t needed to turn on the A/C, or heat, for a couple of months.

Backlit robin

The second motivating push comes from one of my neighbors, (and Phil’s Place reader), who asked me yesterday, “You mean you haven’t got a new refrigerator, yet?”

I replied, “No”.

She shook her head and said, “You don’t know how to complain”.

Another look at the balcony plant

So, now I see this refrigerator business as a challenge.

I have to create a complaint campaign that will put an end to 5 years of aural torment, (It has already cycled on and off 6 times since I began writing tonights post).

Mount Shasta hiding behind a tree

In all fairness, I will request a new refrigerator, again, tomorrow.

That way, maybe I won’t have to become adept in the ancient art of complain-kwon-do.

A piece of pie #14 and ice cream

When I am not wasting time battling with the unwelcome, unruly, tone deaf, and obnoxiously loud appliance that fills my apartment with bone jarring, thought shattering, clatter and basso profundo 60 cycle harmonics, I have been enjoying playing music with Peggy Richardson on Monday’s when our P&P duo plays here at the Treehouse in the diningroom, and, playing music with John Harrison, as well as with the other players in the Phil Seymour Band on Sundays for the Jefferson State Blues Society.

The latest John Harrison violin during the finish process

My life is filled with so many joyful activities, that I am reminded constantly of how very fortunate I am to be who I am. Of course, I can’t be anyone else, so it’s a good thing that I am thankful just being me.

In other news, my mentor, LMP Trio piano player, close friend, and mother-in-law, got back from a four day 94th birthday celebration at Disneyland, (and other Orange county hot spots), this week.

It was good to hear from her. Her computer is being refurbished, so we have been resorting to phone calls and the postal service to stay in touch. It is a quaint way to stay in touch, but it will be nicer when communication with Marian returns to 21st century capabilities.

Today’s SuperBowl Video;

Joyful Expectations

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kindness Is Powwrful

Soft And Warm, Too

Sunrise, Jan 21

Something woke me early this morning, so I took the opportunity to go out to the kitchen for a glass of water. It was then that I noticed the sky was light and colorful in the east.

I quickly stuffed my limbs into some clothes, grabbed a camera, and stepped out on the balcony to greet the new day.

Morning bird speaking to me

The birds were busy getting worms and greeting each other with good morning chatter. The sun was just peaking over the edge of the mountains, and I was glad to be a part of this harmony filled moment.

Looking out on the Treehouse parking lot, I saw Brandi taking Jo Anna for a morning stroll. That’s a good thing.

I took all these wonderful experiences and warm feelings back to bed with me where I went back to sleep until a reasonable hour. That’s a good thing.

Typical, happy breakfast

Some memorably nice things happened on MLK Day, that added more treasures to the joy of my existence.

Sandi was here on Monday to cook breakfast, tidy up the place, do laundry, and brighten up my morning. That’s a good thing.

Monoprice - large diaphragm, condenser microphone

I spotted the UPS truck parking in front of the mail room, so I put on some shoes and went down to let him in. This being a holiday, no one was in the office, so residents must use their magic wands to open that door, (write your own jokes).

I asked the UPS guy if he had a microphone for me. He did. Another good thing.

Balcony shamrock plant

Monoprice is an online company that sells audio/video/computer cables and adapters. I have been a happy customer for several years. In the last year, or so, they have added some professional audio equipment to their catalogue.

I bought some last spring, including a large condenser microphone. Something was rattling around in the sensor cage, but it worked okay at first. Two months ago I stopped using it because it was distorting on the bass tones, even with the roll off switch engaged.

Monday evening sky (about 5:30pm)

I considered it a loss and used one of my other microphones in it’s place to record P&P or The Phil Seymour Band.

Then, one day I wrote an email to Monoprice regarding my difficulties in using their review process.

After midnight tonight

I explained that I wanted to post some reviews because I really like their products, I was having problems getting their review pages to work and I suggested they allow reviews to be posted on the page that shows what I have purchased.

Moon and Mars (tiny little dot ↑)

In the same email, I asked if anyone else had experienced the rattling in the sensor cage and if so, what can I do to fix it. They emailed back requesting a couple of numbers associated with my purchase. I sent them the numbers. They sent me a UPS mailing label to print. I stuck it on a box with the mic inside and took it to the UPS drop off.

Moon from RAW image

Tonight I wrote them a thank you email, saying that the new replacement microphone works wonderfully, and I included the picture that you see on this post, (I took that picture when testing the mic as soon as I opened the box). That’s a good thing.

Tonight’s Video;

Be Kind To Everything