I know where you’ve been and what you like!

Picture of the Moment

Many decades ago, the summer after high school, two friends—Larry and Jaime—and I took a 3-month tour of the land west of the Mississippi River.

We stopped at the Royal Gorge in Colorado, parked in the lot, and toured the Royal Gorge.

When we got back to the car, there was a Royal Gorge bumper sticker on Larry’s brand new 1973 Buick Apollo. Larry was furious. Since the bumper sticker was new, Larry was successful at removing it.

We stopped by the Royal Gorge headquarters on the way out and Larry gave them a piece of his mind about putting bumper stickers on cars without asking permission.

I have never had bumper stickers on my cars, and the only window stickers I have allowed are Texas A&M University stickers and parking permit stickers.

There are people who have so many stickers on their cars that I’m pretty sure the stickers are what’s holding the car together. It’s kind of fun to read them, though, because you know exactly where they live, where they have traveled, their political preferences, and sometimes much more. Here’s one that I saw recently in Ocean Beach:

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

They obviously like Hodad’s, a cool burger joint that I like, too.

Ocean Beach is one of those neighborhoods where the bumper sticker mentality sometimes creeps into the yards, such as this house:

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I can tell that they like to hang out in Ocean Beach on Sunset Cliffs (beautiful homes with an ocean view), Dog Beach (I’m betting they have a dog), and Newport Avenue (main drag).

They also like to eat at Hodad’s, Pizza Port, and Lucy’s Tavern, all in Ocean Beach.

Considering all the chairs in their front yard, and the little sign that says “Come on in. Leave tracks.” they might never have a need to leave Ocean Beach!

And that very much is the prevailing attitude of Ocean Beach residents—If they never had to leave their little piece of paradise, they wouldn’t.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ocean Beach

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (7-27-15)—Would you walk 500 miles for Benny & Joon?

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

When I lived in College Station, Texas, from 1983 to 1993, I used to hang out at Hastings Records every Friday for happy hour. Yes, a record store with a happy hour, although happy hour was from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Or was it 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.? Maybe it was noon to 7:00 p.m. Oh, I don’t know. Probably all those beers destroyed a few memory cells. Surprisingly to me, I just checked, and Hastings is still there. I bet they don’t sell actual vinyl records anymore, but being a college community, I do wonder if they still have happy hour.

Every week I would go home with at least one new record.

Album sales at that time still were driven by singles, and in looking back at the top 100 singles of 1993, at the end of 1993 I had exactly zero of those top 100 singles. Twenty-two years later, and I now have 14 of the top 100. Out of those 100 songs, the only timeless classic is #1, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, and I don’t even like Whitney Houston. Nonetheless, here it is:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The highest song I have on the 1993 Top 100 list comes in at #3, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by UB40. Here it is:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That’s not my favorite song from 1993, though. For that, we have to go all the way down to #27, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Proclaimers is a Scottish band founded by identical twin brothers Charlie and Craig Reid in 1983. They released their first album in 1987, “This Is The Story.” “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” was the first song on the first side of their second album, “Sunshine On Leith,” released in August 1988. “Sunshine On Leith” peaked at #31 on the Billboard album charts.

Remember, though, that we’re talking 1993 here, and “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” was the #27 single from 1993, five years after the album was released. That was almost unprecedented but, as with other singles making it big years after being released, was due to its inclusion in a movie soundtrack, the romantic comedy “Benny & Joon.”

I’m not a big romantic comedy fan, preferring horrors, thrillers, action, and sci-fi, but I am a fan of Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson, the two stars of “Benny & Joon.” Thus, I guess you know what movie is next on my watch list.

The Proclaimers is still going strong, having released a new album, “Let’s Hear It For The Dogs,” just a couple of months ago.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Animal rescue and sanctuary support

I livew in my own little world

My wise old grandmother taught me to share.

Second Chance Dog Rescue logoI have decided to share the profits from the sale of my Photographic Art with animal rescue groups and wildlife sanctuaries throughout the United States, as long as they are charitable organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

I will share in your name if you contact me to let me know when and what Photographic Art you purchased. Email me at russelraypc@aol.com.

I also will share with your preferred rescue group or sanctuary; again, just let me know. Otherwise, I will share with my preferred rescue groups and sanctuaries.

the cat house on the kingsMy Photographic Art is available at Fine Art America, a print-on-demand site with a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked. So if you don’t like your product for any reason, or no reason at all, simply return it and get your money back. That’s why I located my galleries there.

Lions Tigers & BearsPhotographic Art provides beautiful, unique, long-lasting, personal, and thoughtful gifts that are being used in the real estate industry as close-of-escrow gifts, and as special occasion gifts such as birthdays, marriages, anniversaries, and graduations. Attach a personal note or your business card to the gift and be remembered forever and ever!

Photographic Art has been purchased worldwide (Christchurch, New Zealand, and Paris, France) as well as throughout the United States.

Blind Cat Rescue and SanctuaryThere are many Photographic Art products available at Fine Art America, including prints, throw pillows, greeting cards, and phone cases.

On pillows, greeting cards, and phone cases, I will share 50% of the profits; my profit on your purchase of these items is minimal though.

On prints, regardless of what size or type of print you buy, I will share $40 since my share of your purchase is always $99.

Angels Among Us Pet RescueFine Art America’s money-back guarantee, and the fact that they pay on the 15th of each month, means that I don’t get paid immediately. Thus, there could be a 59-day delay between your purchase and when I get paid, meaning that donations to our animal friends won’t be immediate either. For example, if you buy Photographic Art on August 16, the 30-day money-back guarantee expires on September 16, and I would get paid on October 15.

Each day, over on Facebook, I will feature a rescue group or sanctuary and dedicate any Photographic Art sales that day to that specific organization.

Rescue groups and sanctuaries are invited to send to me a blog post about them for posting here in my blog and to be a featured organization on my Facebook time line.

I also do custom work using YOUR photos. Contact me by email.

Go now to my galleries at Fine Art America.

photograhic art taking pictures making art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Making a difference begins with me

My wise old grandmother

Perhaps the most important aspect of life that I learned from my wise old grandmother was to care—about people, fauna, flora, and the environment.

Whenever I complained about not having new clothes for the start of the new school year, she would say, “There’s always someone worse off than you.”

When the three-legged alley cat made a pass through our back yard, my wise old grandmother was following it with a bowl of water and a bowl of food, trying to get it to stop for a meal, perhaps make our house its home.

She’s the one who taught me that a weed is something that is growing where you don’t want it to grow, so instead of pulling it and throwing it away, transplant it to where you do want it to grow. If wildlife of any kind gets inside, move it back outside. That included spiders, snakes, rodents, birds….

She was conserving before it was fashionable to conserve. She used to follow us around the house turning off the lights that we had left on (“If it’s on, it’s using electricity!”), knocking on the bathroom door to tell us that we were taking too long in the shower and using too much water. She put a gallon jug of water in the toilet tank so that it would use less water.

I learned from her to keep a five-gallon bucket by the bathtub to save the cold water while waiting for the hot water to arrive. That bucket of water would then be used to water flowers, bushes, and trees around the yard.

11141 Valley Lights Drive, Mount Helix, La Mesa CAWhich reminds me of the time when Jim and I were selling our Mount Helix home (picture►) back in 2001. I had buckets in all the bathrooms to save cold water while waiting on the hot water. I then watered two acres of plants and filled all of our fountains and ponds.

When we went to sell, one of the Realtors walked around the house to see what we were asking her to sell. Once she finished her walk-through, she told us that in order to get the most money for the house we should fix all the roof leaks before putting the house on the market. I asked her, “What roof leaks?” She said, “Well, I see all the buckets in the bathrooms which usually mean roof leaks.” I had to explain to her what water conservation was….

Alpha Phi OmegaThroughout my life I have tried to care for others less fortunate than me, to care for unwanted or injured animals, to care for the flora that use carbon dioxide which humans breathe out for photosynthesis, creating oxygen which humans breathe in, to care for the planet. My journey began with my wise old grandmother, continued in high school with Circle K, and then with Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity at Texas A&M University.

Fire on the freewayAfter college, my involvement included organizations that cared for people (soup kitchens, blood drives, Special Olympics, women & children abuse shelters), fauna (animal shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries), flora (botanical and community gardens), and the environment (planting trees and native vegetation after natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires).

My wise old grandmother also taught me that making a difference begins with me. If you would like to do something to make a difference, here is a list of 100 things you can do to make a difference.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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My Canon camera is never disappointed in Ocean Beach

Out & About

It’s no secret that one of the most eclectic neighborhoods in San Diego County is the City of San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I was driving around Ocean Beach taking pictures of the rain this past weekend, I also was noticing business signage, something I’ve never done before during the daytime.

Ocean Beach never fails to disappoint my Canon camera, which then makes it so much more fun to play around in Photoshop.

omg_0073 ocean beach business sign stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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omg_0098 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0142 ocean beach business sign stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

omg_0171 ocean beach business sign stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

omg_0173 ocean beach business sign stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

omg_0184 ocean beach business sign stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

omg_0190 ocean beach business sign stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Sadly, she sits on dry land

Picture of the Moment

Imagine living in an area that has been a navy stronghold for a century.

Imagine living in an area that has one of the world’s largest maritime museums.

Imagine living in an area where big boats are built, big boats like cruise ships, battleships, aircraft carriers.

Imagine living in an area where the first ship visited the current west coast of the United States back in 1542.

You’re in San Diego!

Now imagine that maritime museum (Maritime Museum of San Diego) building a full-size replica of that first ship, the San Salvador. Looks like this:

San Salvador

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now imagine a sixteenth century ship being built in the 21st century with 21st century technology that is unable to move the ship from drydock to the water.

You’re still in San Diego!

The San Salvador was supposed to be launched on April 19, 2015. Just a couple of days earlier one of the engineers determined that the ship was about 20 tons heavier than predicted.

Sadly, the San Salvador still it sits on dry land at the build site.

Activity dedicated to getting it into the water increased significantly the past two days. San Diego can build aircraft carriers but doesn’t have any cranes that can handle this weight. The closest crane is in Los Angeles, and apparently the folks up there want too much money to come help.

Sadly, the San Salvador continues to sit on dry land.

Tugboat bargeThis morning’s activity, which began at 5:00 a.m., was dedicated to getting the San Salvador onto a tugboat barge (picture ►), off to Chula Vista for leak testing, and then into the water within the next few days.

Sadly, the San Salvador continues to sit on dry land.

The deck of the tugboat barge sits higher than drydock, so there must be a low tide of a certain height in order to get the San Salvador onto the barge. Today at 7:00 a.m. was one of those low tides, with a window up to about 10:00 a.m.

I arrived at 4:30 this morning. At 10:19 a.m. with two words, “Not today,” they informed the crowd that the San Salvador wasn’t moving today. That was it.

Sadly, the San Salvador still sits in drydock….

The next appropriate low tide is two weeks away, sadly.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Worst. Weekend. Ever.

Out & About

This past weekend was my worst weekend ever since I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993.

Two consecutive days of rain.

Hard rain.

Lasting for hours and hours.

Two wettest July days in San Diego ever in history.

Making it the wettest July in San Diego ever in history.

The San Diego Padres, who claim to be a professional baseball team (current record 43-49, 9½ games out of first, but on a 4-game winning streak), first time ever in history rained out in July. It was their first rainout since April 4, 2006, and only the seventeenth rainout in their 47-year history.

Long-time readers know that one of the best places to go in San Diego when it’s raining is Ocean Beach.

Here are four pictures taken during the rain, thunder, lightning, and high winds:

img_0210 ocean beach rain stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0211 ocean beach rain stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0212 ocean beach rain stamp

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img_0209 ocean beach rain stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I stayed until dusk when lights started coming on, and as I was walking back to the car, I saw this business sign:

img_0115 attoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I guess the only thing to say is, “Bless you!”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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