Monthly Archives: June 2012

Eastern sunset in La Mesa, California

An eastern sunset

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The sun sets in the west. Why was tonight’s sunset in the east?

Eastern sunset in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Eastern sunset in La Mesa, California

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Eastern sunset in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

About these ads
Ocean waves

I love junk mail! Please, send me yours!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m one of those people who keeps the junk mail system alive. Now spam, well, that’s a different story. Let me tell you about junk mail, though.

Many decades ago I opened an official-looking envelope and found a real honest-to-goodness United States $2 bill inside. The company that sent it to me wanted me to take about five minutes and complete a paper survey. Even if I chose not to complete the survey, the $2 bill was mine to keep!

Ever since then I open all junk mail or read it. Over the years I’ve received:

  • $2 bills
  • $1 bills
  • Pennies (usually ten, arranged in circles, stars, etc.)
  • Nickles, Dimes, Quarters
  • Kennedy half dollars
  • Dollar coins (Eisenhower, Sacagawea, and Anthony)
  • United States postage stamps (penny stamps when the postage rate increased, first class stamps, and Forever stamps)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Calendars
  • A wallet
  • Letter opener (which I still have and use)
  • Restaurant and movie coupons

My best piece of junk mail was a postcard, and it arrived on May 28, 2012, just 32 days ago:

Survey postcard

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

See the part I highlighted in yellow. $100. I’m on it.

The survey guy showed up today at 3:00 p.m. All he did was walk through the house noting all the things that we use — type of computers, monitors, and printers; types of lighting fixtures and light bulbs; type of heating and cooling system; presence of ceiling fans, etc.

He was here about an hour, and look what he left us:

Survey reward

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I first started using a CPA, I got a call each year about the income documented in my Excel spreadsheet. I have two interesting categories:

  • Found
  • Junk mail

Found is money that I find and, yes, I do pick up pennies. I once found an Indian Head penny, a 1909 VDB Indian Head penny. It was not in good shape, but it was worth far more than a penny. The most I’ve ever found in one tax year was $176.07. The least I’ve ever found was $26.19, and that was in 1993, my first year in San Diego — obviously I didn’t know where to look upon my arrival here.

Junk mail is money that I get through, well, junk mail. The most I ever got is now this year. With the $100 I got today, I’m up to $127 for the year, and we’re only in June!

So, yes, I love junk mail. If you don’t, please, send me yours!

Ocean waves

Waves crashing ashore at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some things are better rich

Some things are better rich

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In the summer of 1973, Larry Harvey, Jaime Perez, and I jumped into Larry’s brand new Buick Apollo and took off on a 5,000-mile journey through all the states west of the Mississippi. I think our goal was to visit every National Forest, National Monument, National Park, and city with more than 250,000 people. I think we did it! (but I’ll have to check my log, which I still have, to be sure).

When we were at Mount Rushmore, the parking lot attendants were putting bumper stickers on all the car. Larry told them, “No, thanks.” Of course, the guy on the other side of the car didn’t hear Larry and proceeded to put a bumper on that brand new Buick Apollo. Larry was furious.

That was my first experience with bumper stickers. My wise old grandmother didn’t have them, and neither do it.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t like to read them as they mess up someone else’s car.

For example, this car in front of me a few years ago obviously has a fascinating with men, preferably rich:

A man and his truck... It's a beautiful thing

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some things are better rich

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Gian Panda Gao Gao at the San Diego Zoo

Someone is a pretender

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I went to the San Diego Zoo a couple of days ago, I found Gao Gao pretending….

Gao Gao is a giant panda born in 1992 in the wild in China. He came to San Diego in 2003 and is the father of four pandas born at the San Diego Zoo.

What was Gao Gao pretending?

I have included a picture of you know who to help you decide.

Compare the two and then let me know who was pretending.

Who’s your favorite?

Be truthful but beware of the consequences of your answer………I’m just saying.

Gian Panda Gao Gao at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Stapelia

I’m a star!

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When my wise old grandmother (MWOG) gave me a poor section of her yard in 1966 to create my own little garden, I discovered cactus and succulents. Just six months after I started my garden, it was blooming with flowers.

The first flower to bloom was a succulent, a Stapelia.

I was so proud of it that I dragged MWOG out to see it.

She said, “You’re a star.”

Can you see why?

Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That’s the actual plant, although the picture is from 1977 at my first apartment in Houston after graduating from Texas A&M University. I had that plant up until 1993 when I moved to San Diego and left it behind in Texas.

I’ve never found that specific species of Stapelia again, but when I was in Palm Springs for a home inspection a few days ago, I found two of them:

Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On my way home from Palm Springs, I stopped at one of the North County plant nurseries and found a Stapelia for my back patio garden. This morning it bloomed:

Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So, whaddaya think? Was MWOG right? Am I a star?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Making spammers work for you

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I know we can’t edit our comments in the blogs of others, but I discovered that we can edit comments that show up in our own blogs. That discovery led to me making spammers work for me.

Here’s how I do it:

First, set up Askimet to work on your blog. It’s very good and comes with WordPress.

Second, when a spam comment comes in, simply edit it. Go to your spam comment list:

Spam comments list

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Click on the spam comments, click on bulk action and change it to “Not Spam,” and click on “Apply” to move them to pending:

Move spam comment to pending

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hold your cursor under the comment and you’ll have lots of choices. Click on “Edit.”

Choices for dealing with spam comments

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice that you can change the Name, E-mail address, URL, and the comment itself:

Choices for dealing with pending comments

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Edit away! Have fun! Remember that spammers rely on Google to give them backdoor (i.e., from your blog to their web site) search engine results. Change things up so Google won’t index them correctly. For example, I changed “digital flatbed printing” to “antique printers,” and since the spam comment was on a post titled “Who doesn’t like free?”, I made the comment fit the post:

Edited spam comment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Click on the “Approved” radio button at the upper right of your screen and then click on “Update.” Then go see your beautiful new comment on your blog post:

New comment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It also shows up in your approved comment list:

List of approved comments

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have been doing this for a couple of weeks and have noticed that the number of spam comments has dropped considerably — I’m averaging 23 spam comments per day since January 7, 2012, but only 2 spam comments per day over the last two weeks. Guess who’s laughing now!

Peacock at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

1960 Chevrolet Impala

Just like the one my wise old grandmother had

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Each Thursday during the summer, La Mesa Village has a car show from
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

La Mesa Village, La Mesa, California

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It makes for a great summer evening — eating in the Village, watching historic cars drive by, and, if you like, even negotiating to buy one of them.

That’s where I went this evening. One of the cars was a 1960 Chevrolet Impala, just like the one my wise old grandmother drove until 1973.

1960 Chevrolet Impala

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

1960 Chevrolet Impala

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

1960 Chevrolet Impala

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I went off to college at Texas A&M University in September 1973. For Christmas that year, my granddad bought my wise old grandmother a new car, a 1973 Chevrolet Caprice.

By the way, for those who have been following me and are interested, my other half, Jim, is in the second and third pictures, upper right corner of the second picture and left of the car in the third picture. I always have to tell him to get out of my pictures because he loves to wander around without paying attention to where the, uh, photographer — that’s me! — is.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

My blogging secret: I don’t type!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Throughout my blogging during the past five years, many people have asked, and continue to ask, how I get so much blogging done.

First, a little background:

I started typing way back in 1966 when my wise old grandmother’s husband — that would be my granddad — brought home a typewriter from the Missouri Pacific Railroad shops in Kingsville, Texas. It was an 1896 Underwood portable and looked like this:

Underwood typewriter

Underwood typewriter

The Underwood Typewriter Company was founded in 1895; my “new” typewriter was dated 1896.

I practiced typing by checking out a typing manual from the city library. By the time I got to ninth grade, where typing was a required course, I was typing a consistent 100 words a minute on my Underwood typewriter. There was no such thing as placing out of a required high school course or being exempt, so I registered for typing during my first summer. I had Miss Short:

Miss Short from King High School in Kingsville, Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Miss Short taught typing to my dad and my three uncles. At the time I took her typing class, the high school had just purchased a brand new IBM Selectric, all the rave in the typing world. During our mid-class break, I decided to type some of my famous Russel lists — highest mountains, longest rivers, most populous cities….

Miss Short came in and was astounded at how fast I was typing. She exempted me from participation in class and had me do personal typing for her, ON THE NEW IBM SELECTRIC! I was stoked. Miss Short entered me in the Texas UIL (University Interscholastic League) contests, and I won many of them, with my best typing speed being 176 words per minute with three errors on a five-minute test.

When I went off to college at Texas A&M University, I decided that I could make some money typing papers. I created “Just Your Type” and started doing research, writing, proofreading, copyediting, and typing. I couldn’t afford an IBM Selectric, so I bought a Smith-Corona, just like this one:

Smith Corona typewriter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was a junior at Texas A&M I entered a typing competition that had a $1,000 first prize. I won, typing the fastest I would ever type, a whopping 316 words per minute using an IBM self-correcting Selectric II typewriter.

Ultimately “Just Your Type” became a full-time business until 1993 when I moved to San Diego.

Got margarita?Therein lies the secret to how I get so much blogging done: I don’t type! Typing so fast all those years led to carpel tunnel symdrome which ultimately was renamed repetitive stress injury. About a decade ago, I switched to using voice recognition software, specifically Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS). The latest version is absolutely awesome right out of the box. I have it set to recognize various voices on my computers — my Regular voice, my I-have-a-cold voice, and my Too-many-margaritas voice.

If you don’t have the money to buy DNS and you happen to be using Windows 7, give Windows Speech Recognition a try. You can find it by clicking on the Start icon and then clicking on All Programs, Accessories, and Ease of Access. If you use an Apple product, well, you’re on your own. They lost me as a customer way back in 1983.

I can talk much faster than I can type, as can most people. If you find errors in my posts, it’s usually the result of me typing something after having turned off DNS.

Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Feed me! I'm your child!

Feed me! I’m your child!

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

With the San Diego Zoo now in its summer hours season, I went early yesterday evening to see how our animals were doing. Had lots of fun and got some great pictures of the big cats. Apparently, with dusk comes activity, hoping to catch some prey — one of the Amur Leopards was seriously eyeing a young child.

The first place I always stop is Flamingo Lagoon, right inside the front entrance, and what a joy it was yesterday.

Baby flamingos practicing the art of tucking their heads

Baby flamingos practicing the art of tucking their heads

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Baby flamingos practicing walking around

Baby flamingos practicing walking around

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Baby flamingo looking for food

Baby flamingo looking for food

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Feed me! I'm your child!

Feed me! I’m your child!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

How come my egg hasn't hatched!

How come my egg hasn’t hatched!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Jump rope

Get your official jump rope right here!

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was young, my wise old grandmother had season tickets to the Women’s Club in Kingsville, Texas. They brought various music and arts events to our small farming and ranching community. I got to see Emanuel Ax, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Luciano Pavarotti, Beverly Sills, and many more.

Some of the artists I don’t remember because they weren’t in classical music — I played the piano and violin at the time. One of the acts that I thought was the most unique was a jump-roping group from, I believe, the U.S.S.R. They had long jump ropes, short ones, double ones. They jumped singly, in pairs, in trios, while giving piggy back rides…. everything you could imagine, and then some.

I took up jump roping as a hobby, eventually becoming quite good. When I got to college and joined Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, I chaired a Jump-Rope-A-Thon for Muscular Dystrophy. I would have won but I was ineligible since I was the Event Chair.

This past weekend when I went to the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, I found some jump ropes:

Jump rope

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Jump rope

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

These are not just any jump ropes. These are

Official Jump Rope

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now pay attention here.

First, I want you to see how these jump ropes are made. Following are two videos, but don’t watch them if you get motion sickness or get dizzy.

The first video matches the top jump rope, and the second video matches the bottom jump rope.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Go back and watch them again, except this time pick one spool and watch it move around. Kind of fun.

Now….

Second, I can’t jump rope anymore because my knees are too old.

Sooooooooooooooooooooo……………..

If you or someone you know would like a jump rope, not just any jump rope but an official jump rope from the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, just pay shipping and handling of $99.95…………..

Kidding……

All you have to do is write a 100-word essay on why you, your loved one, or your friend should have one of these jump ropes. Post it on your blog and then come back to my post here and leave a link to your blog post.

There will be two winners. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me wish I were young again, jump roping the day away………………..

Zoey the Cool Cat will be the judge, and the judge’s decision is final. (Typical cat……. Oops. Sorry, your honor.)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos