Thursday, July 30, 2015

I Had A Dream

And We Were All In It

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Mount Lassen - Tuesday eve

Woke up this morning thinking about the certainty of state and national electrical grid failures due to heat related incidents. (Cheerful way to start the day, eh?)

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Tuesday Moon

During an electrical blackout there are no functioning gas stations. No restaurants, no Raley’s or other markets that are electrical grid dependent.

No businesses…no TV, computers, cell phones, no lights, no refrigeration, no air conditioning (not even a swamp cooler will operate without electricity)

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Tuesday dinner

Oh yeah, and electric water pumps for wells and municipal water won’t be operating while the grid is down.

If people had been adequately informed that this was coming, everything electric would already be solar and wind powered. If the privatized for profit utilities have wanted to keep us in the dark, their wishes are about to become reality.

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Wednesday scrub jay

Maybe that is why we haven’t been told the increasing temperatures are causing problems in the national electrical grid. Cracking insulators, ‘sagging until they snap’ power lines, overheated transformers and other extreme weather caused weaknesses.

Profits have been made by neglecting maintenance and improvement costs, and privatized utilities are all about profits.

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Wednesday moon above Treehouse

I recently sent an email to Don Stump, (the president of Christian Church Homes), to let him know that I finally have a powerful narrative for the next Treehouse promotional video.

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Wednesday almost blue moon

Several people, including Don, have been asking when I am going to make another video like “I’ve Got A Place”.  I have been saying, “I am waiting for the inspiration, the muse, the spark”, (or something like that).

I wrote to him that the working title for the new video is “I Feel Secure” based on CCH getting solar power installed at the Treehouse Senior Apartments. We would be the vanguard facility for all the CCH installations across the country.

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Closer look at Wednesday moon

Seniors with breathing machines, powered wheelchairs and other devices would know that each time the state or city electrical system fails, we can feel secure.

We can feel secure because the Treehouse will have adequate power for assistive devices as well as heat and cooling day or night once the solar systems are installed.

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My favorite Wednesday moon image

It is time to make that dream into reality.

Today’s Video;

I Love This Place

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Magnificent Surroundings

And Other Delights

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Whiskeytown Lake - Sunday evening

(Phone rings) It’s my landline.

I pick it up and press the white engraved button with a black receiver emblem printed on it and answer, “Hello?”.

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Whiskeytown Lake

(A slight hesitation)

“Hello, Mr. Seymour?”, intones a voice that reminds me of Alexander Scourby, but with a pinch of humor twinkling in his clear unhurried baritone delivery.

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Sunday moon about 7:30pm

“Yes, who is this?”, I ask with my own curious but confident radio voice, while wondering if I should know who this person is?

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The top of Shasta Bally from the lake visitor center

The amusement in his vocal quality clicks up a notch and he replys; “Mr. Seymour, this is Christopher Robin, and I have a gift for you.”

(Christopher Robin is not the name he said, but that’s what I remember hearing)

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Picnic island

“Gift?”, I say noncommittally, but with a slight lift at the questionmark.

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Mystery Point

A slight pause, as though this is not the narrative that he expected, then; “Beginning next month, your phone bill will be a little smaller”. He recites this with just a slight lack of conviction as though that scripted line has no relevance in this exchange that has become, (for us), radio voice theater.

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Also picnic island

“Thank you. That would be very nice”, I respond with a genuine appreciative melody.

“You’re welcome, Mr. Seymour”, he replies carefully with a bit of surprise and polite graciousness resting lightly atop a layer of gravitas.

We both wait for a beat... then hangup.

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The Glory Hole at Whiskeytown Lake

That was fun. I have no idea what that phone call was about, but I really enjoyed the experience. It could have been the dialogue of a spy movie or The Twilight Zone. It was that perfect.

The rhythms, cadence, beats, breathing and tonal qualities were classic. Who ever it was, I thank him for making my day this evening.

Today’s Video;

What’s Cookin’? 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What A Movie

The Night Sky, Too

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5pm Friday

Last night, (Friday), I went out to the parking lot to set up the big tripod for a few clear images of the moon. As I looked up to check the rest of the sky, I was lucky enough to see the International Space Station sailing from south to north bisecting the heavens. Here is a current position website that lets you know in advance when and where the ISS will be overhead.

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New red driveway rose

It was simply by chance, or my good fortune, that I chose to go down the stairs to take pictures of the moon rather than stop to take a picture from the 2nd floor landing of Venus setting on the western horizon in a band of reddish twilight.

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Another new driveway rose

When I descended to the parking lot and stood by the Hyundai that Marian gave me, is when I looked up and saw the light of the ISS moving across the sky. After following the complete arc of the space station, I got the tripod from the trunk and set up to take moon pictures.

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The pic that pulled me like the tide

Charles Foster Kane Buys Republican Clown Car
Trump Vows To Build A "More Expensive Classier Clown Limo"

Like many people who revisit Citizen Kane, I read a few articles and reviews of reviews before watching the movie yesterday. What a movie! They even have festivals at the Woodstock Boarding School where Orson Welles developed into Orson Welles of legend.

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New yellow along the sidewalk

The movie is mirrored in real life by scores of wealthy megalomaniacs who fancy themselves to be “Citizen Kanes”. They buy up a bunch of media, businesses, influence governments, promote wars and build monuments to bolster their fleeting moments of perceived power.

And then; “Rosebud

Today’s Video;

Speak Out Against The Madness

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Cactus Had It's Fling

Until The Next One

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Wednesday afternoon Moon

Coming up on my Treehouse nature experience blogging schedule is the Blue Moon.

We are calling it a Blue Moon because there are two full moons in this month of July and this coming full moon is the second one. I’ve written about this naturally occurring phenomena in Phil’s Place before, (Here). In addition, in 2008 I wrote about the Black Moon .

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6 pm Thursday Moon

Living where I do in the city of Redding, (small town really), there is an unobstructed view east to Mount Lassen.

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You can just make out Lassen in yesterday’s haze

Looking north, the top of 14,000 ft Mount Shasta rises above 55 miles of tree covered hills (mountains to my flatlander friends).

Above the flag you can just see Mt Shasta under the clouds

Each day brings a new vista to delight my senses and to remind me that we humans are small potatoes in this 13 billion year old universe.

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Fungi have been around many millions of years longer than man

Fungi have inhabited the earth since early Paleozoic times, about 400 million years ago, according to most scientific studies that I have read. The main thing is, most everything on earth has been around long before humans came along, so it is good to live in a place that has these magnificent reminders that help keep me from getting too full of myself.

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A new rose has come to brighten the landscape

When I look west, down the driveway, there is Shasta Bally reaching a mere 3,000 ft or so with a few antennas and transmitters on the top. I am told that the view from the top is spectacular. I will find out one day.

Shasta Bally to the west

The southern view contains trees, stores and other buildings. The southern view isn’t as awe inspiring unless one is looking up at night. We are situated about 500 ft above downtown Redding and the rest of the flatlands that just stretch southward to vanish at the horizon.

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Thursday night Moon

The moon is in the phase where shadows provide good definition of the surface features. It is fun to see just how clear of an image I can get.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s ‘politics free’ edition of Phil’s Place.

And now, the story of the cacti one night stand in a family safe (only because I didn’t have a night vision motion activated 1080p slow motion camera) slideshow video with a Happy Phil original soundtrack….

Today’s Video;

What Fun

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Sense Of History

Enhances Our Sensibility

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Tiny butterfly on wire frame

I love the convenience of quick access to information that has become part of our culture.

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Mama quail and chick

With the internet and google search, or simply cable TV, we can get up to the minute information about most anything we are interested in. But there is way too much data on tap for us to do much more than skim the surface of just a few subjects before exceeding the capacity of our intellectual capabilities.

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A second tiny sunflower appears

For an example; the image of the mama quail. The caption indicates the presence of a baby quail, but a cursory glance didn’t reveal the chick.

Did you take the time to study the image carefully in an attempt to find the missing piece?

Was the image significant enough to spend more than a quick scan?

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Tiny butterfly on tomato plant cage

Chances are, if the information doesn’t entertain or smack us in the face, we move on to something that will. We have become accustomed to a sensory barrage, during which myriad varieties of information compete for our attention.

This information overload causes us to be susceptible to cleverly crafted psychological manipulation that influences our decision making process. If anyone would take a moment to look closely at the media parade of presidential candidates, they would see the self serving blackhearted greed that lives inside the Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump types that tend to permeate the right wing neo-liberal republican party.

Because of the preponderance of political propaganda the real nature of the candidates can be obscured. Artful sales methodology convinces the unwary that these candidates actually care about the people of America.

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Ringed conehead zinnia

In the next image, you will notice the exceptionally effective protective coloring pattern that confused your ocular senses in the earlier mama and baby quail image.

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Six quail chicks

Now you can go back to the earlier image and readily discern the baby quail knowing what to look for.

We need to focus our bullshit detectors so we can see through the poop-storm of media marketing and Fox news fake facts to determine whether we are correct or being misled in our sense of what we believe in.

One tried and true method is to find the historical precedents for the actions and proposals that seem at odds with logic and reason.

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Tiny butterfly on zinnia bud

Here are a few facts that may help;

Austerity does not help debt heavy economies.

The free market is indisposed to regulate itself.

Collapse soon follows when the top 1% hold too much of a nation’s capital.

Punishing poor people because they are poor is insane.

Today’s Video;

Time To Learn

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cactus Blooms

And Other Summer Moments

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The morning after

The cactus we have been following, bloomed early Friday before the dawn. It wafted pheromones on the night air to entrance night flying pollinators.

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Could this be the beautiful look of satisfaction

It is possible that I will have completed the cactus video of pictures taken over the the past week or so, in time for posting this. Then again...perhaps it may take more time than I anticipate. (Actually I am quite sure it won’t be finished tonight, but one day soon)

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Friday sunset

There was a chance to see a tiny sliver of moon as well as Venus and Jupiter after sunset on Friday. I was able to get a picture of the 2 planets, but the moon was obscured by the haze at the horizon.

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Venus and Jupiter Friday

Saturday night was too hazy to see the moon or the planets.

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White driveway rose

Big flowers aren’t particularly suited for dry hot conditions, but a few of the roses manage by producing fewer petals in the dry 100 degree weather.

On the other hand, cacti and succulents bloom quickly and reabsorb the moisture from their displays.

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Tiny succulent flowers

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Tiny flowers in the grass

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Tiny sunflower

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Bird in the grass

Grazing In The Grass by Hugh Masekela

Couldn’t resist. Though some people will more likely remember the Friends of Distinction version; Grazing In The Grass

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Tiny butterfly

Today’s Video:

Don’t Lose Your Cool