Monthly Archives: January 2012

Why do we get excited….

Picture of the momentWhy do we get excited….

I go at least once a week to the Zoo or Safari Park. With all the interesting animals there — komodo dragon, elephants, giraffes…. — why do we get excited when we see a wild rabbit?

Wild rabbit at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Wild rabbit at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Moms, dads, kids, and me! were standing around taking pictures of the little rabbit, which I’m pretty sure is a cottontail.

Pictures taken by Russel Ray on January 30, 2012, using a Canon 550D.
Post-processing done in Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

Find other posts in my Picture of the Moment series by clicking on the logo at the upper right.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Music on Mondays — #1: Get back, Jo Jo!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

#1
Get back, Jo Jo!

See my initial post about Music on Mondays from the Music Chronicles of Russel Ray.

Today is the 43rd anniversary of The Beatle’s unannounced rooftop concert in London.

The Beatles have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When my parents put me in an adoption home in Ogden, Utah — the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital — in 1965, I met an 18-year-old woman from Bakersfield, California. She introduced me to The Beatles. The rest is history.

In 1970 one of my favorite songs was Get Back. I was constantly humming or singing it in classes and around the school. People started calling me Jo Jo.

As I look back on life, I could easily change just six words in the song and have it easily be about me:

Russel was a man who knew he was a loner, but he knew it couldn’t last.
Russel left his home in College Station, Texas, for some California grass.

The Beatles have been like that throughout my life. When I cried, they cried — In My Life, Michelle, I’m So Tired…. On my birthday, Birthday. So many more Beatles songs bring back so many memories — Help!, Hey Jude (my first date), Ticket to Ride (dad and granddad worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad), etc.

Their unannounced rooftop concert in London had the neighbors and the people on the streets below all abuzz. It was to be their last live performance together. Of course, many people in surrounding offices complained, and the police eventually shut the concert down, but not before the world got some great music and film — Let It Be.

Although Get Back is not my favorite Beatles song (Let It Be holds that honor), it does get into my Top 10. Here is a YouTube video of Get Back from the London rooftop concert, and the lyrics:

Jo Jo was a man who thought he was a loner,
But he knew it couldn’t last.
Jo Jo left his home in Tucson, Arizona,
For some California grass.

Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back, Jo Jo. Go home.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back, Jo!

Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman,
But she was another man.
All the girls around her say she’s got it coming,
But she gets it while she can.

Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back, Loretta! You mommy’s waitin’.
In high heel shoes and a low-neck sweater.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music on Mondays

I have many passions in life. I’m better than average at those passions. Isn’t that what a passion is, something that you’re really good at, better than average? Throughout my life, though, my many passions have caused jealousy in the people around me, often forcing me to move on and leave them behind. No loss. Negative and jealous people have no part in my life.

PianoOne of my passions is music. I started playing the piano when I was two (mom was a pianist), took up the violin when I was six, and started vocal lessons as soon as I was old enough to take a shower, where all great men practice their singing — LOL.

I gave up piano when I went off to college at Texas A&M University. They didn’t have a music department, a music program, or even music classes. Just the world’s best marching band! I am the official page turner for a pianist friend of mine when he performs which his chamber music group.

I finally gave up the violin in 1993 when I left it behind in Texas as I settled in San Diego. I tried to keep voice going after 1993, singing in the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego in 1993-1994 and 1996-2001 and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus from 1994-1995. I find memorizing music to be my biggest weakness now so I think I’m finished with performing for the rest of my life.

Listening to music — all genres — has always been a part of my life, and always will be until the ol’ ears quit hearing. I have tens of thousands of digital music files, now in the cloud, that I’ve been collecting. Vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD, digital….. What’s next?

Each Monday I’ll share a song with you — Music on Mondays from the Music Chronicles of Russel Ray — and some information or memories behind the song. Just stop by Russel Ray Photos and click on the Music on Mondays page.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About San Diego — #6: Sheraton Harbor Island is a great place to stay when you come to San Diego

Out & About San Diego

#6
Sheraton Harbor Island
is a great place to stay
when you come to San Diego

This post is dedicated to Al and Peggy Cunningham, aliens who live north of the border in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

Al and Peggy were all set to come to San Diego to visit in September 2010. Just a couple of days before they were to get on the airplane, one of them (won’t mention any names) realized that HIS passport had expired. Trip canceled.

I was out and about San Diego on a whale watching cruise yesterday, and as the boat left San Diego Bay, it passed right by the Sheraton Harbor Island where Al and Peggy had reservations. I thought it would be nice of me to take some pictures of what they missed.

Here we have the Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from the Bay at sunset:

Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from San Diego Bay

 

The Sheraton Harbor Island is right across the street from the San Diego International Airport. As you’re coming from the airport exit, this is the view of the Sheraton Harbor Island:

 Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from the airport

 

There are no bad rooms at the Sheraton Harbor Island, and most rooms, if not all of them, have a view of downtown San Diego, which looks something like this when the sun is setting:

Downtown San Diego as viewed from the Sheraton Harbor Island

 

If you know anyone moving to the Toronto area in Canada and need some great real estate agents, contact Al and Peggy Cunningham, voted “Best people in real estate in 2011,” their sixteenth year receiving that recognition.

Pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D.
Post-processing using Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Location, location, location….

Picture of the momentLocation, location, location…

This is the first in my Picture of the Moment series. You’ll always be able to identify this series by the logo in the upper right corner. This series is more picture, less text.

 

Buoy with seagulls and seals

 

The seagulls have the view;
the seals are closer to the swimming pool.

 

x marks the spot

 

Pictures taken by Russel Ray on January 27, 2012, using a Canon 550D.
Post-processing done in Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About San Diego — #6: When your average yacht just won’t do….

Out & About San Diego

When your average yacht
just won’t do….

One of the problems with living in San Diego is that there is always something going on, and there doesn’t seem to be a 24-hour news channel devoted to telling us everything that’s happening. Alright, so maybe that’s not really a problem that impacts life….

Yesterday I went on a whale watching cruise. We are at the height of the whale migration along the Pacific Coast, and even though I’ve been in San Diego for 18 years, this was my first whale watching cruise. We saw plenty of whales, dolphins, pelicans, seagulls, and, upon returning to San Diego Bay as the sun was setting, this:

Attessa IV in San Diego Bay, January 27, 2012

Attessa IV in San Diego Bay, January 27, 2012

 

That’s the Attessa IV, one of the world’s great mega-yachts. It is a whopping 330 feet long. How long is that? Well, on February 5 the New England Patriots and New York Giants will be playing in the Super Bowl on a football field that is 300 feet between end zones.

Attessa IV was built in 1999 as the Evergreen, owned by Chang Yung-fa, chairman of the Evergreen Group of Taiwan. Evergreen the yacht was bought in 2007 by Dennis Washington, who regularly shows up in the Top 100 of Forbes list of the world’s weathiest people and currently ranks 58th in America. After buying Evergreen, Washington had it completely renovated into what it is now, Attessa IV.

If you didn’t quite see it in the above two pictures because your eyeballs were popping out, Attessa IV has its own helicopter and helipad, just in case you have to go somewhere a little faster, I guess.

Attessa IV's helicopter

 

The way the rear rotor is covered is used by the military for noise abatement, so this is also a modern, quiet helicopter.

Read more about the Attessa IV, and see pictures of the interior, at Boat International. Read more about Dennis Washington at Wikipedia.

Pictures taken by Russel Ray on January 27, 2012, in San Diego Bay using a Canon 550D and post-processing done in Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Friday Flower Fiesta — #2 (January 27, 2012)

Friday Flower Fiesta

Today’s Friday Flower Fiesta, titled “It’s a sunny day,” is dedicated to Carl and Ceil Winters of New Braunfels, Texas. Carl and Ceil run Complete Inspection Service, a home inspection company doing business in Canyon Lake, New Braunfels, and San Antonio.

I have known Carl and Ceil as virtual friends for three years, and have always found in them a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. Carl and Ceil, this Friday Flower Fiesta is for you!

If any real estate sellers, buyers, or agents in the hill country of central Texas need a complete home inspection, call Carl and Ceil of Complete Inspection Service.

Today’s Friday Flower Fiesta pictures were taken on Monday, January 23, 2012, in the neighborhoods of La Mesa, California, about 10 miles due east of downtown San Diego.

Picture 1 — AloeAloe in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

 

Picture 2 — DaffodilDaffodil in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

 

Picture 3 — Angel’s TrumpetAngel's trumpet in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

 

Picture 4 — RoseRose in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

 

Picture 5 — LilyLily in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

 

Picture 6 — DaffodilDaffodil in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

 

Picture 7 — Unknown flowerUnknown flower in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

 

Picture 8 — California poppyCalifornia poppy in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

 

Picture 9 – Unknown flowerUnknown flower in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

 

Picture 10 — Unknown flowerUnknown flower in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

 

If you’re having a cloudy day,
find someone to bring a ray of sunshine into it.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat