Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

Forty-five years as a photographer, beginning with yearbook staff in sixth grade.

Picture of the Moment (12-21-14)

Picture of the Moment

I am working on my next post in my San Diego Historical Landmark series, a tour of the interior of the Davis-Horton House, also known as the Gaslamp Museum.

I think the following picture, created from three individual pictures, deserves a post of its own:

Historical toilet

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Picture of the Moment (12-20-14)

Picture of the Moment

I had to travel quite a ways yesterday looking for San Diego Historical Landmark #10.

I’m not sure I found it because there’s no good description of where it is…. you’ll just have to wait….

I did get some great pictures going to and from, like this one of a glider taking off from the cliffs at the Torrey Pines Glider Port with downtown La Jolla in the background:

Torrey Pines Glider Port in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Friday Flower Fiesta (12-19-14)

Friday Flower Fiesta

A collection of twelve of my favorite flower pictures that I cataloged this past week.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#9: The Davis-Horton House (part 2)

San Diego Historical Landmarks

I made it to the Gaslamp Museum this morning for a tour of the interior of the Davis-Horton House (see The Davis-Horton House).

There is a small park next to the Museum, and you have to go through the park to get to the Museum. The park opened about 30 minutes earlier than the Museum.

I walked around the park and found some fascinating information about “The Brother Dogs Project” a “tail” of two cities and two dogs—Greyfriars Bobby, the official dog of Edinburgh, Scotland, and San Diego’s Official Town Dog, Bum.

The Brother Dogs Project, San Diego California

The Brother Dogs Project, San Diego California

The Brother Dogs Project, San Diego California

Location of Heath-Davis House

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier which became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until his own death on January 14, 1872.

Interestingly, Greyfriars Bobby has a Wikipedia entry: Greyfriars Bobby.

Greyfriars Bobby of Edinburgh, Scotland

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sadly, Bum does not have a Wikipedia entry, so I have to rely on the plaque in the park:

BUM
San Diego’s Official Town Dog
Died November 10, 1898 – Aged 12 years
Loved by everyone – owned by no one. His name suited him
because he arrived as a stowaway, befriended everyone and
“bummed” quality food from the local eateries. As a young
dog he survived a scuffle with another dog on the Santa Fe
train tracks. Though he lost a foreleg and part of his tail,
his spirit was unbroken. He guarded the children, led the
parades and fire trucks, and had many adventures.
So admired was Bum that the City Council awarded him
a lifetime dog license. When he died, children collected
pennies for a proper funeral.

Bum, San Diego's Official Town Dog

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice that on the statue, Bum’s right foreleg is missing.

And look what I found making their home in the park:

Feral Cat in downtown San Diego, 402 Island Avenue

Feral Cat in downtown San Diego, 402 Island Avenue

I’m pretty sure those are not dogs.

And can you believe that the one stuck out its tongue at me?

I declare.

I wonder what Bum and Greyfriars Bobby would think about two cats making a home in their park….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for a unique gift for Christmas?

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#9: The Davis-Horton House

San Diego Historical Landmarks

The oldest building left in downtown San Diego, where “New Town” was started in the 1850s, is the Davis-Horton House at 402 Island Avenue.

Davis-Horton House in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego

Location of Heath-Davis House

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

William Heath Davis (1822-1909) arrived in San Diego around 1850 and thought that the waterfront would be a much better place for San Diego than its location at Old Town. I believe he was right.

Along with building a wharf 600 feet long at the foot of Market Street, he built the house currently situated at 402 Island Avenue (some sources say 410 Island Avenue). I went looking for it this past Monday. My luck, as usual; the museum is closed on Mondays.

Gaslamp Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If one does not know the address, one can easily miss the building.

Heath-David House

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The gate also was locked, so one can’t even enjoy the little park before 10:00 a.m. Look what I did see enjoying the park:

Heath-Davis House

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Do you see it sitting on the bench at the left? A little sweetie pie….

The house is a pre-framed lumber “saltbox” home, shipped from the East Coast to San Diego around Cape Horn, Africa. Davis never lived in the house since it was built to be used as military officer housing.

It took a lot of research to finally discover that this house was the first home of Alonzo E. Horton, founder of San Diego as we know it today, and the only house in which he lived that still stands. It also served for a time as one of the first “County Hospitals” in San Diego. Apparently this is not its original location, having been moved here in 1873 by John and Margaret Mountain. I could find no other information about John and Margaret Mountain.

The house apparently is haunted:

Haunted Davis-Horton house

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The ghost is an unknown Victorian woman. If she’s unknown, I wonder how they know she’s Victorian. Hmmm.

A 1977 newspaper article interviewed the residents of the house at that time, and they claimed that lightscame on and went off by themselves. What’s interesting is that the house was not wired for electricity until 1984, so those “lights” were gas and coal oil lamps which have to be lit with a match. Hmmm.

This sounds like my kind of place, so I’m going to start saving $45 so I can go meet the ghost on January 24, 2015. I’ll have to do without quite a few happy hour margaritas to save that much money!

I’ll also make it a point to visit the museum so I can get some pictures of the interior.

Heath-Davis House

Davis-Horton house

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for a unique gift for Christmas?

Oh, dear, my wise old grandmother was wrong

My wise old grandmother

Some relevant words from my wise old grandmother:

There are no shortcuts in life.

If you want something, work hard to get it.

Well, recently I wanted to be able to see the road when I was driving at night or in the wee hours of the morning.

It’s pretty much not possible when your headlights look like this:

Headlights

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I stopped by Pep Boys to ask about cleaning them since I had seen the commercial on television and the Internet. I was pretty sure that whatever I bought to clean them wasn’t going to work and that I’d be spending several hundred dollars on parts and labor to buy new headlight covers.

The Pep Boys boy (he really could not have been more than 16 or 17) was very knowledgeable, assured me that “the stuff works,” and even explained to me why it works and why simply washing the car wouldn’t clean them.

Here’s the stuff I bought:

Turtle Wax headlight lens restorer

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It took about 15 minutes to do both headlights, and here is the result:

Headlights

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looks like my wise old grandmother was wrong! There was a shortcut, and I didn’t have to work hard to get what I wanted!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (12-15-14)—Boléro

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

When people find out how large my music collection is (it takes me 6 months to listen to everything at 11 hours of listening per day), I always get asked one of three questions:

What’s your favorite song?
What’s your favorite album?
Who’s your favorite group?

I have never really had an answer for any of those questions because my musical taste is so varied. I do know that The Beatles rank high in all three categories. However, it’s difficult to compare classical music to rock music to country music, and I have a lot of all three genres.

One of my favorite compositions is “Boléro” by Maurice Ravel (1876-1937). Having grown up as a pianist, violinist, and vocalist, I was familiar with “Boléro” from a very early age. Ravel composed it in 1928; it premiered at the Paris Opéra on November 28, 1928.

I’m not familiar with any big name classical music composer in today’s world, so most classical music is a rehash of the same thing by different orchestras with different conductors. That often results in music that is played too fast, too slow, or just right, depending on what one grew up listening to.

In my opinion, “Boléro” doesn’t sound good if it’s played too fast or Quarter notestoo slow. So in my research for this Music on Mondays post, I discovered that Ravel’s original score had the pace set at 76 beats per quarter, but that was crossed out and 66 was written in. Thus, printed scores usually compromise with a stated pace of 72 beats per quarter. “Beats per quarter” means that a quarter note gets the beat, so there would be 72 quarter notes per minute.

Ravel’s own recording of “Boléro” lasts 15’50”. However, in a 1930 interview, he stated that “Boléro” lasts 17 minutes. Thus, I went to YouTube to find a recording that is somewhere between 15’50” and 17 minutes or so. I found a version that is 15’49” by the London Symphony Orchestra, one of my all-time favorite orchestras. Leave it to them to be so precise.

The London Symphony Orchestra has been conducted by Valery Gergiev since January 1, 2007, so this is a fairly recent recording, although I don’t know what year specifically.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Boléro” was background music for the 1979 movie “10” starring Dudley Moore, Julie Andrews, Bo Derek, and Brian Dennehy. In the movie, “Boléro” was identified as the ideal piece of background music for making love. Sales of “Boléro” spiked after the movie was released; no surprise there.

Bolero, starring Bo DerekBo Derek starred in a 1984 movie titled “Bolero” but I have not seen it, and Wikipedia wasn’t much help other than telling me that it was a bad, bad movie, winning Worst Picture, Worst Actress, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay. In 1990 it also was nominated for Worst Movie of the Decade. I did not find out whether or not the “Bolero” movie uses the “Bolero” music in it.

Now I’m going to take you to another favorite version of “Boléro,” this one by the classical/progressive rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Keith Emerson was classically trained as a youth but eventually developed his own style by combining classical, jazz, and rock music. He is widely regarded as one of the top keyboard players of the rock era, and he shows it with “Abaddon’s Bolero.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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