Archive for March, 2019

A flowering

31 March 2019

Facebook recently informed me by email that I was tagged in a photo. It turned out to be this picture taken in North Carolina last year, and recently posted by Ryan Prescott. It’s a beautiful communication of how people can come together when the need arises and help each other.

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This photo includes at least two people from California, several from Florida, one from Venezuela, and the women in sunglasses who I believe are from New York or that general area. We were all in North Carolina to help clean up after flooding and damage caused by a hurricane.

Sacramento Flowering Trees

Meanwhile, here in the Sac area certain fruit trees are very much in bloom.

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I noticed the incredible profusion of these flowers when I went shopping yesterday. I went back today to photograph them at the light rail station where they are most prolific, Sunrise station in Rancho Cordova.

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In this part of town some streets are lined with these trees. I am not sure of the exact species; they seem to be maybe an ornamental plum.

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Many trees and plants in this region are flowering or leafing out right now. They know they have a relatively short window of time between when there is some rainfall and when that stops and it gets really hot.

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These flowers won’t last long. The wind blows them away almost as fast as they can bud and mature.

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On this trip I also noticed the redbuds blooming very strongly. We don’t have a lot of redbuds here; I don’t think they are native to this area. But they do grow well here.

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Springtime is perhaps the perfect time to reflect on the importance of creative activities in the games of life. Where would we be without creation?

 

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St. Patrick’s Weekend in Sacramento

17 March 2019

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“St. Patrick’s Day? Who cares about St. Patrick’s Day?” the lizard seems to be saying. Well, he lives in Folsom, so missed out on all the excitement.

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I wasn’t the only one out with my camera.

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The new businesses at 7th and K used the sunny, mild weekend to seek new customers.

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Three bars in a row…the fate of modern downtowns?

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Lots of people came out to see what was going on. Across from these shops, at the little square, the local more-established pub had an outdoor stage set up with a band playing. This happened both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

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Look at the crowds walking to and from DOCO (Downtown Commons)!

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Police have a lighter load with these mostly well-behaved crowds. Some ride cars, some ride bikes, and some ride horses!

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The K Street “canopy” is not even green yet, but Sunday was quite warm, with most choosing summer t-shirts and tops.

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Cars, trains, people and dogs are all part of the downtown scene. This is the crosswalk at 8th and K, right next to my building and home to two different light rail stations.

Dial One

14 March 2019

“Dial One” is the first piece of electronic equipment I have made that I am officially considering a piece of art, and am offering for sale as such.

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It was conceived while I was on the Purification Rundown and completed in this form just yesterday. Like most art concepts – and most electronic equipment – there are many possible ways to turn the concept into reality, and many possible “variations on the theme,” or parts of the design that could be made differently. This is the first working prototype of this concept – a dial. On the circular screen, a pattern of lights rotates as an input signal varies between zero and five volts.

Dial One has all the basic features I imagined for this type of piece. With 4 knobs, the user can vary the pattern of lights. There is a sliding control for testing the effect, and a connector for an external sensor which would provide some varying signal (such as sound level or distance of nearest object). The display can be made totally dark or rather bright.

This particular prototype is housed in a black aluminum enclosure originally made for a vacuum tube voltmeter. The display features white, red and orange LEDs. Power is supplied through a standard computer-type power cord inserted in the rear.

The circuitry is all hard-wired – no programmed elements. This was the original concept for this piece, so I kept it that way. In fact, I could not immediately think of an easy way to achieve this same effect using a micro-controller. I plan to return to this concept again before too long and explore some different ways to implement it.

I sight a special bird

3 March 2019

I’ve been going to Winco in Folsom almost every weekend, as it’s such a nice store compared to anything near downtown, it’s near a light rail station, and food costs much less there than in town.

Last weekend I spotted this special bird, but I didn’t remember to look it up and find out what it was until this weekend reminded me. It was swimming in a creek that I cross over when I walk to Winco.

Known as the Hooded Merganser, this duck winters in no-freeze zones, then returns north during the summer. It is absolutely unmistakable when you see it; the appearance of the male’s head is so striking. This photo was borrowed from Wikimedia Commons, and kindly provided to them by scientist/photographer Ken Billington.