Category Archives: Did you know?

Plastic bags banned (mostly) in California effective 7-1-15

Did you know?

California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation today that makes California the first state in the nation to ban plastic grocery bags. Interestingly, the news about the legislation says that it will prohibit “large stores” from using the sacks beginning in July 2015. I could find no definition of “large stores,” but the news article states, “The law applies to stores that sell groceries and pharmacies— think Safeway, Target, Walmart, Rite Aid— but not stores that don’t sell those items, like Macy’s.” Hmmm. I think Macy’s qualifies as a “large store.” I’m confused, but government often confuses me, so no big deal there.

Over 120 local California cities and counties currently ban plastic bags. I know the bags are dangerous to our wildlife, but so are the plastic rings that occupy the top of your six packs of canned beer and sodas…. and string…. and rubber bands…. and fishing line…. I don’t see anyone rushing to ban those. Oh, what a tangled web we weave….

Last night, Zoey the Cool Cat had an incident that frightened her, as well as Jim and me. I found a sack stuffed in a cupboard so I put it on the bed for Zoey the Cool Cat to enjoy:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Does she not look happy and satisfied, probably having pleasant dreams of finally catching the mourning doves outside our office window.

I mention the plastic bags because wildlife often get tangled up in them and die. Last night, Zoey the Cool Cat got tangled up in that sack. See the two handles? She got her head through one and couldn’t get out. She took off through the house, trying to get rid of the thing around her neck, frightened and howling. She finally got stuck in a corner where I was able to reach her and get the sack off her neck. It took about 30 minutes of me holding her and talking to her before she calmed down, though. Poor kitty….

I can only imagine what the wildlife outside goes through when they get their necks, feet, and wings caught up in plastic bags, plastic ring tops, fishing line, and string.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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It would be just my luck that absolutely nothing would happen

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I found out a few days ago that the historic Hotel del Coronado was sold in May.

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, California

The selling price? A mere $512 million. The last time it had sold was about ten years ago for something like $384 million, making it the most expensive real estate in the United States of America based on sales price at that time. The new sales price keeps it there. Nothing else comes close. There are some properties that are insured for more than that, but when it comes to sales price, the Hotel del Coronado is in a league of its own.

Hotel del Coronado

Known locally as the Hotel Del, it is one of the few surviving examples of an American architectural genre, the wooden Victorian beach resort. It is the second largest wooden structure in the United States, and is both a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark.

The Hotel Del opened in 1888 and was the largest resort hotel in the world at that time. Throughout the years it has hosted presidents, royalty, and celebrities, as well as being featured in many books and movies. Arguably its most famous appearance was in “Some Like It Hot,” starring Marilyn Monroe. The dragon tree shown in the following picture is quite noticeable in the film:

Yucca which appeared in the movie Some Like It Hot

The Hotel Del also is one of America’s most haunted places, almost always showing up in various Top 10 Most Haunted lists. On November 24, 1892, Kate Morgan checked into Room 304, telling staff that she was waiting for her brother, a doctor, who was going to treat her stomach cancer. He never arrived, and three days later Kate was found dead on the steps leading to the beach. Her death was declared a suicide, the ruling being that she had shot herself.

Since that time, guests who have checked into the room (renumbered twice, first to 3318 and currently 3327) have reported flickering lights and floating objects.

Sadly, the hotel is too expensive for my budget. I would love to stay in that room, but it would be just my luck that absolutely nothing would happen.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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It’s a weather phenomenon, not a people one

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Texas A&M UniversityWhen I came to San Diego in April 1993, I heard talk about the “marine layer.” Since my dad was in the Air Force, and I graduated from Texas A&M University with its 2,500-member-strong Corps of Cadets, I thought “Marine” instead of “marine.”

The marine layer is a weather phenomenon, not a people one. It’s a thick layer of clouds that rolls in off the Pacific Ocean as the sun goes down, often staying until noon the next day, depending on when Mr. Sun wants to heat up the air to get rid of it.

Here are two pictures of the marine layer rolling in over SeaWorld:

A morning marine layer rolling in over SeaWorld San Diego

A morning marine layer rolling in over SeaWorld San Diego

When the marine layer gets really low, as it is in those two pictures, you’ll find that the air is damp and you can’t see more than several feet in front of you. In my home state of Texas, we called it fog.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Where I would stay if I came to San Diego

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I often get asked where the best place to stay is, and it all depends on what one wants to do. One doesn’t want to stay at a fine hotel that is sixty miles from the relatives that you’re supposed to be visiting…. well, maybe you do. That’s between you and your relatives……….LOL

Let’s say that I had to move away from San Diego back in 1993 and am planning on coming for Christmas vacation. I would stay at the Sheraton Harbor Island. Looks like this:

Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from San Diego Bay

Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from the airport

The Sheraton Harbor Island is across the street from San Diego International 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

Regardless of where you want to go, the Sheraton Harbor Island is centrally located to get you there quickly—San Diego Zoo, beaches, SeaWorld, Shelter Island, Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma, Ocean Beach, Gaslamp Quarter, Old Town State Historical Park….

Remember that if you’re flying into San Diego, sit on the left side of the plane. The view of downtown San Diego as you’re landing is spectacularly awesome.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Not your average yacht

Out & About

If one hangs around down at the San Diego waterfront often enough, one is bound to see some interesting things and events. One thing that is always exciting to the masses is when one of the megayachts comes cruising through the harbor to dock at the megayacht dock near Seaport Village.

The Attessa IV often makes an appearance in the waters of San Diego. Looks like this:

Attessa IV in San Diego Bay, January 27, 2012

Attessa IV in San Diego Bay, January 27, 2012

It is one of the world’s great mega-yachts, measuring in at about 330 feet long. That’s thirty feet longer than a football field.

Attessa IV originally was built as the Evergreen in 1999, owned by Chang Yung-fa, chairman of the Evergreen Group of Taiwan. Dennis Washington, one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, bought the yacht in 2007. He had it completely renovated into what Attessa IV.

If moseying around the waters doesn’t get you there fast enough on this megayacht, Attessa IV has its own helicopter and helipad:

Attessa IV's helicopter

The helicopter is quite sleek in appearance. Notice the rear rotor. That type of cover is used by the military for noise abatement on their helicopters, so this is 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 copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The Rose Canyon Fault in San Diego

Out & About

My wise old grandmother helped me start my very first company way back in 1966. It was a typing business. While my friends were out mowing lawns, pulling weeds, and washing cars, I was typing papers for students at Texas A&I University in Kingsville, Texas.

Eventually I diversified my services so that, in addition to typing, I was proofing papers for spelling errors and poor grammar, and eventually even researching, writing, and typing term papers for those college students.

The first term paper I ever wrote was for a sophomore at Texas A&I. I was only 13, but I (he) got a B+ on that paper! I don’t know if that says something good about me or something bad about the standards of his English class at college.

Nonetheless, the paper was on earthquakes, and ever since then I have always been fascinated by earthquake.

I was at home in College Station, Texas, watching the 1989 World Series when the earthquake hit San Francisco.

Five years later, I was living in San Diego when the Northridge earthquake hit in Los Angeles, with the epicenter just a few hundred feet from where my oldest uncle and his family lived. Their kitchen was separated from the house by a few feet, and the house got red-flagged by the City as uninhabitable.

Although there are a lot of faults that run through the San Diego area, major earthquakes here are few and far between. Hmmmm. Maybe it’s time………

The last earthquake I felt here was the Easter 2010 earthquake in Brawley, Baja California, Mexico. That’s only sixty miles due east of me. It was magnitude 7.2, and virtually destroyed Mexicali and Calexico. The shaking here lasted for about 25 seconds, but no damage. Just a really frightened Zoey the Cool Cat.

Earthquake experts eventually expect a fairly good-sized earthquake to occur here in San Diego on the Rose Canyon Fault:

Southern California showing Rose Canyon Fault

According to those experts, the Rose Canyon Fault has the potential to unleash a 7.5 earthquake. Since the fault goes right underneath downtown San Diego, when it happens, I’m sure it will be “the big one” as far as San Diegans are concerned.

Most of the fault zones in San Diego are not visible on the surface, making them of little interest to someone like me. However, if you go to the Tecolote Recreation Center, you can see very good evidence of the Rose Canyon Fault, as well as a pretty cool sign explaining what you are looking at.

Location of rose canyon fault

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Rose Canyon Fault Zone

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Here is the “50 million year old Eocene sandstone of the Scripps Formation”:

Eocene sandstone of the Scripps Formation

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The houses are built right on top of that sandstone formation. As a home inspector, I suspect their foundation pillars probably go pretty deep.

Here is the “half-million year old Pleistocene conglomerate” :

Half-million year old Pleistocene conglomerate in Rose Canyon

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Pine trees seem to love the Pleistocene conglomerate.

Between the two formations is “a major strand of the Rose Canyon Fault” but you would never know it because it looks like this:

Rose Canyon Fault

Would you let your children play baseball there if you knew it was smack dab on top of what is considered San Diego’s most active and dangerous fault zone?

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Yahooooooooo! WordAds approval came through today!

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Yahoooooooooo!

My Russel Ray Photos blog got approved for WordAds today!

A couple of weeks ago I was visiting someone’s blog and the latest blog post there was about how much money that blogger was getting from having advertisements on the blog. The money was much more than I would have thought possible. I looked into monetizing my blog since I have 5,459 followers and almost 260,000 views. Over at WordPress.com, I discovered information about, and a link to, WordAds. It’s the official advertising partner for WordPress. However, you have to apply and, if they like your blog, they will approve you. I applied a couple of weeks ago and got approved today, so that’s why you’re seeing ads on my blog today.

Any income from WordAds will go towards supporting my Photographic Art venture which means, of course, a salary for the awesome Julian. Here he is on his first day back at work after being in Texas for three weeks:

Julian back at work

I’ll keep everyone informed about what kind of income this brings in and then you can make a decision about WordAds for your own blog! Meanwhile………

Yahoooooooooo!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

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►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray