Monthly Archives: April 2012
Whenever I do a home inspection, it’s rare that anyone ignores me. After all, my Clients, usually the people buying the home, have a lot of money at stake, and they sure don’t want to buy a money pit. The Sellers are hoping that I don’t find too many problems, especially problems that might cost them a lot of money to fix. The two real estate agents involved, of course, have nice commission paychecks at stake. That puts a lot of pressure on me to be truthful and accurate without being an alarmist or a doomsayer.
At today’s inspection, which was out in the boondocks, I was completely ignored by these two:
You can see the expression on the rooster’s face wondering just what kind of bug that is and whether or not it’s edible.
After the inspection was complete, I spent a little time trying to get the rooster’s attention because he was too beautiful not to get a couple more pictures. It was much harder than I would have thought, but I was successful:
I was camping out this morning in Shutterbug Sage’s blog and one of his posts was about pampered pups. I told him that his post reminded me of a home inspection I did a few years ago with one resident cat. Pampered for that cat is a severe understatement!
Here’s the cat:
One scratch pad or post was not good enough for this cat. She had one in every room!
She even had a combination bed and scratch post, with a view no less!
She had her own condominium tower:
Notice that she had two beds in her condo tower, but that’s not enough:
And behind curtain #1?
Another bed with a view:
Surprisingly there was only one dinner table:
And two litter toilets!
Now I think Zoey the Cool Cat is quite pampered and spoiled. But let’s look at the difference between thinking a cat is pampered and having the evidence that the cat truly is pampered. Following is how Zoey the Cool Cat has to live.
Her beds are newspapers, drawers, sacks, boxes, desks, and laundry baskets:
Her litter box is, well, a litter box, although she likes to kick most of the litter out of the box and onto the garage floor:
Her toys are red rings from the top of gallon milk jugs. She does have a lot of them, though; 152 at last count at April 1. We’ll find out tomorrow on cleaning day how many she has now.
But, hey, she does get to watch television, preferring tennis and golf. I guess the little ball flying across the screen gets her attention more so than footballs, basketballs, and soccer balls.
Now I ask you, which cat do you think is more pampered? Be careful how you answer if you want me to camp out in your blog anytime in the future.
When I first discovered Google Maps’ Street View, I was not impressed. I saw it as an invasion of privacy. Still do. However, that has not prevented me from using it for my own personal needs. Hypocritical? Probably. Nonetheless. It’s the world we live in. lol
I recently endeavoured to find all the homes that I had ever lived in. What an interesting project.
The following is the home that my parents were living in, in 1955 when I was born. It was my mom’s parents’ home in Kingsville, Texas, all the way up to the mid-1990s:
This is the home in Kingsville, Texas, that we lived in ca. 1956 to 1960. At the right side of the house you see a somewhat pointed roof. That’s the living room, and there is a row of windows under the eaves. Birds would always fly into those windows, cracking the windows and killing themselves in the process.
When my dad got a promotion with Missouri Pacific Railroad, we moved to Palestine, Texas, ca. 1959. This is where we lived until my dad killed himself in January 1961. It took me forever to find this home because no one remembered the address. I finally found a death certificate online which had the address of the home. Imagine 55 years of not knowing the address where you lived when your dad died.
The following is where we lived in Brigham City, Utah, after my mom remarried. I lived here until December 1965 when I was shipped off to Kingsville, Texas, to live with my paternal grandparents.
My wise old grandmother’s house in Kingsville, Texas. I lived here from December 1965 to August 1973 when I went off to college at Texas A&M University:
I helped plant those two Texas live oaks in the Spring of 1967. Nice to see that they are still there. You can see storm shutters on the windows. Granddad and I installed those after Hurricane Beulah had destroyed Kingsville in September 1967. Our house escaped with just shingles torn off the roof, although we lost the two trees that my Great Horned Owl and the Screech Owls lived in. I was so sad. Granddad built that house in 1937, and I can assure you that they don’t build them like that nowadays. By the way, I intensely disliked mowing that lawn twice a week. Explains why I’ve never had a grass lawn.
I was so busy last week that I forgot that it was National Parks Week. All National Parks were offering free admission. I have found in the past that free admission also applies to National Monuments and National Forests, and I usually take advantage of the opportunity here to visit Cabrillo National Monument and to do more in Cleveland National Forest than just drive through on the freeway.
Since I missed it, I thought I’d visit some National Parks right here in my blog!
The first national park in the world was founded right here in the United States, in California even. Yellowstone National Park was established by Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone is located mostly in Wyoming but extends into Montana and Idaho. Those three states did not exist in 1872; they were territories, which is why the Federal Government took control of Yellowstone as a National Park.
Some people in Arkansas might argue that the first National Park was established there since the Hot Springs Reservation was set asied on April 20, 1832, when President Andrew Jackson signed legislation protecting it. No legal authority was established and federal control of the area was not definitively established until 1877.
The world’s second National Park was established in Australia in 1879 as the Royal National Park. Other significant National Parks throughout the world:
Rocky Mountain National Park was created in 1885 as Canada’s first national park in 1885.
New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park came along in 1887.
Europe’s first National Parks were nine parks created in Sweden in 1909.
Africa’s first National Park was established in 1925 as Albert National Park, now named Virunga National Park).
France’s first National Park was Vanoise National Park in the Alps, created in 1963.
The largest National Park in the world is Northeast Greenland National Park with 240,000,000 acres, making it larger than 219 countries.
The largest National Park in the United States is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska at 13,175,790 acres.
The smallest National Park in the United States is Hot Springs National Park at 5,550 acres. It also is the only National Park located in an urban area.
The newest National Park is Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, created in 2004.
The National Park Service was created in 1916 to administer the growing number of National Parks in the United States, now numbering 58.
The United States started recognizing National Parks on its postage stamps in 1934 with the release of a set of ten stamps, shown below. The Scott number shown with each stamp is an internationally recognized system for identifying stamps of the world.
Yosemite National Park
California — Created October 1, 1890
Scott #740, issued July 16, 1934
Since those ten stamps were issued in 1934, another ten stamps have been issued recognizing National Parks, most recently in 1990 when the Grand Canyon appeared on Scott #2512. The Grand Canyong is so well-known that the name of the National Park wasn’t even on the stamp.
It’s been a couple of years since I did some work on my back patio so some of the plants were overgrown and looking a little leggy. I’ve been spending about an hour each day this past week pruning plants and removing those which are, well, dead. Things do die, you know.
With a few empty pots needing some plants, I headed over to one of my favorite nurseries, Mission Hills Nursery. Mission Hills Nursery was founded over a century ago by Kate Sessions, the lady who is responsible for much of the landscaping throughout Balboa Park, as well as other parks throughout San Diego.
Right across from the nursery was this property:
I don’t know whether or not the owners of the Nursery also own the house, but it’s certainly good advertising since it was by far the most beautiful house in the neighborhood.
Since I’m a home inspector, though, I have to mention that the walkway in the second picture has gaps between the concrete sections, and vegetation is growing in those gaps. Such custom work, while beautiful, creates trip hazards, the #1 cause of accident and injury around our homes. So be careful.
I have a friend who is a
Some would say that he is
He came over and convinced me to feed some hot sauce to Zoey the Cool Cat. Now she’s Zoey the
Our spouses have banished us to the
We don’t mind. We can get get some
from all their nagging :).
We decided to relax on the
Of course, two guys in the dog house have a different way of relaxing. A little
reminded us that we were “born to be wild.”
So that our quiet time with Steppenwolf would not be interrupted by anyone, I put up a
Disclaimer: The above story is complete fiction.
#9: They should wear pink
Back when I was a juvenile youth of 12, my uncles tried to get me interested in sports. Up until that time I had pretty much been a book reader. At my Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah, the library books were arranged according to grade level. I quickly read through my grade level and wanted to move on to upper grade levels. For a while I was able to, but then other students’ parents complained, and I was basically banished from the library. No problem. The City had a public library, too. Off I went.
In 1972, as a junior in high school, I was forced to sit down and watch the Oakland Raiders-Kansas City Chiefs football game on Thanksgiving weekend. I was pretty sure I could find better things to do for three hours than watch that game. I was wrong. It was an exciting game down to the very end with the Raiders winning. I’ve been a Raiders fan ever since.
The Raiders are often the most penalized team in professional football each year. I now know why. It’s because they wear black!
A study in the most recent Journal of Social Psychology and Personality Science indicates that NHL teams that wear dark colors, particularly black, end up with more penalities than their opponents, and at a significantly higher rate. The study looked at 50,000 NHL games during the last 25 years.
The lead author, Gregory Webster from the University of Florida, posited that it has something to do with black being deemed the color of evil and white the color of good.
Maybe they should wear pink?
I mean, after all, who would want to penalize, say, a flamingo?
SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will also have a picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.
It’s rare that we have picturesque clouds here in San Diego. It’s usually all or none. So when we get magnificent clouds, we get all excited. People get up earlier, call friends to tell them about the clouds, call in sick…. Well, maybe I’m the only one who ever called in sick. lol
Work had me all over San Diego County a couple of days ago when the clouds were magnificent. At every job site I was looking in the sky to see what magnificent clouds I could capture
on film on sensor so I could use them over and over again to replace dull, gray skies in pictures with beautiful blue and cloudy skies, as I did here.
I got enough cloud pictures to last me
a lifetime…. four or five years…. until the next magnificent cloudy day comes along. After having just finished cataloging all my cloud pictures, here’s my favorite one, which I actually cataloged as “cloud tree”:
That poor tree was the only one for miles around.
I was in a heavy industrial district with an airport nearby. I think all the diesel and airplane exhaust is having an effect on the poor tree; it’s just barely surviving.
The “golden hour” is that time of the day when the sun is warmest in terms of color. It is about 30 minutes in the early morning while the sun is rising and about 30 minutes in the late evening while the sun is setting. It is a great time to take landscape and building pictures.
Even though San Diego has over 300 days of sunshine, it’s important to define “days of sunshine.” Several years ago I read the definition by the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, and it’s not what I would have thought. A “day of sunshine” requires in some cases a mere one hour of sunshine during the 24-hour day.
Many places in San Diego County have to put up with low-level gray clouds each day even though we get only 11 inches of rain on average each year. It’s called the marine layer, and it looks like this:
The marine layer can roll in off the Pacific Ocean as early as 2:00 p.m. on cool winter days, and it can take until as late as 1:00 p.m. to burn off, to dissipate, the next day. That leaves — tada! — one hour of sunshine!
So what is one to do when the “golden hour” basically doesn’t exist? Photoshop!
A couple of months ago I went to Santa Catalina Island for my birthday. The landscape panoramas were awesome, but not if you believe the pictures I took, like this one:
Notice the dull, gray sky? That’s the marine layer casting its pall over the island, and it didn’t burn off until about 1:00 in the afternoon. I knew I could easily solve the washed out color by increasing the contrast. It was the sky that would cause me greater problems. For some reason, a dull, gray sky just doesn’t look good.
Tonight I successfully played with layers and masks in Photoshop CS6 Beta and got this:
Hard to believe it’s the same picture. Remember, what comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.