Category Archives: Opinion

What is sportsmanship?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2014 National High School Chess Championship in San Diego, CaliforniaLast weekend the 2014 National High School Chess Championships were held right here in San Diego. High school is a misnomer because this included anyone in grades kindergarten to twelfth grade. And I saw a couple of pretty good kindergarteners!

What is sportsmanship?

I went on Sunday to see Round 7, the final round, figuring that in Round 7 I’d be able to watch several of the top players go at each other.

Indeed, the pairings for the final round had #1 Seed, Darwin Yang, playing Cameron Wheeler. Darwin had six wins in six games. Cameron had five wins in six games.

Darwin is a Grandmaster-elect. That means he’s really, really good because Grandmaster is the highest international rating, and Darwin’s only in the eleventh grade.

Is sportsmanship letting the other person win?

2014 National High School Chess Championship in San Diego, CaliforniaIn chess, a win is worth one point, a loss doesn’t earn a point, and a draw (a tie) earns each player half a point.

I don’t know what Cameron was seeded, but at the beginning of the final round, Cameron was tied with eight other players for second place, behind Darwin, lonely in first.

I took position by Board 1 to watch the game. Total disappointment. After three moves each, Darwin and Cameron agreed to a draw! Huh? Really?

Is sportsmanship not playing if you’re already assured of winning the whole enchilada?

They both got half a point, so the final standings show Darwin in first place with 6½ points out of a possible 7 points. Four players tied for second place, all four with wins in the final round. So if Darwin had lost to Cameron, there could have been a five-way tie for first place.

2014 National High School Chess Championship in San Diego, CaliforniaThat makes one wonder, Who offered the draw after only three moves? And why would the other player accept it.

If Cameron offered the draw, he was assured of being the only player to put a dent in Darwin’s otherwise-perfect record. Why would Darwin accept the offer of a draw? It would assure him of being in first place all by himself…. but

Is that sportsmanship?

2014 National High School Chess Championship in San Diego, CaliforniaWith the draw, Cameron wound up in a 15-way tie for third place. If he had lost to Darwin, he would have been in a 28-way tie for fourth place.

By my analysis, it looks like both players benefitted. So by agreeing to a draw after only three moves, both players apparently got to take a rest. I doubt they would have left early to go back home because the awards ceremony was at 7:00 p.m. I think I also saw Cameron doing a little shopping at Fashion Valley Mall, which was just feet away across the parking lot.

If sportsmanship is letting the other person (or team) win simply because you have already won the whole enchilada (or made the playoffs), imagine what would happen during the last half of the football, baseball, or basketball seasons when those teams already out of contention, or those so far ahead that a loss wouldn’t matter, decided not to give it their all. Hmmmmm. I’m not liking this kind of sportsmanship.

Here is my picture of Darwin (left) and Cameron at Board 1 just minutes before the final round started:

Darwin Yang and Cameron Wheeler

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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About these ads

WordPress problems resolved!

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 is fast, fast, fast, fast, fast.

As many of you know, I have been having WordPress problems since January 2, 2014. Many things:

  1. LIKE buttons were not loading on any blog whose URL ended with wordpress.com. Other blogs were fine. Just those ending with wordpress.com were problematic.
  2. Most of the time, not always though, I could not comment on blogs either. This problem affected all blogs, not just those whose URL ended with wordpress.com.
  3. My blog would not load correctly the first time. I would have to refresh or reload it in order to get it to work.
  4. My site stats would not load at all. Never.
  5. The gold star notification at the upper right would not work unless I clicked on the star twice.

SkyTower at SeaWorld San DiegoToday I had some extra time while preparing to go Dine With Shamu at SeaWorld. I could not access the WordPress Help Forums from anywhere on my blog like I could prior to January 2, 2014, so I went to Google, typed in wordpress help forums, and got to them that way.

I spent several hours reading through several hundred threads in the Help Forums before I finally found a clue about what might be happening. The clue was in a very long thread and was about the hundredth comment from someone outside of WordPress, someone like me who was having problems.

The clue was that the commenter was of the firm belief that WordPress was not compatible with Internet Explorer 10. I knew that I had upgraded from IE9 to IE10 but I didn’t know when. I pulled up my computer records and what do you know? I upgraded from IE9 to IE10 the night of January 1, 2014. Ah-ha!

I tried to downgrade from IE10 to IE9 but that apparently isn’t possible. All of the computers that I use daily are running IE10. I pulled out an old laptop computer that I don’t use anymore but which I knew had IE9 on it. Sure enough, I had no WordPress problems on the old computer using IE9.

I saw that IE11 was available, so since I couldn’t downgrade to IE9, I considered upgrading to IE11. I created a restore point on my Windows 7 computer so that if IE11 really caused problems, I could easily go back to IE10. Well, not only did IE11 load easily and quickly, but I have no more WordPress problems. LIKE buttons are loading, my stats page is showing up again, etc.

So there you have it! The problem wasn’t with my computer per sé but with a computer program that I needed in order to even get to my WordPress blog. The interesting thing is that apparently when Internet Explorer is your main browser, Firefox, Chrome, etc., don’t override everything in Internet Explorer. That explains why I was having the same problems in Firefox and Chrome.

I’m so happy! I can go blog camping again now, something that I really missed doing these past three months.

Lastly, not only is my Internet browsing so much faster than it was with IE10, but my whole computer seems to be much faster. Can’t explain it, but it is what it is.

And following a close-up of Shamu from this evening’s Dine With Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego. Jim and I were sitting about three feet from four Shamus, separated only by a piece of glass four feet tall.

Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego on March 29, 2014

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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Fine Art America

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many people have asked for my impression of Fine Art America (FAA), which I just joined a few weeks ago. So here are my thoughts about Fine Art America and selling your pictures.

Ray At Night in North Park, San Diego, CaliforniaI had considered doing the many art shows, flea markets, etc., that we have here in the San Diego area each year. With all the costs involved, e.g., gas, wear & tear, inventory, etc., I decided there had to be a better way. So I looked at all of the print-on-demand online stores and settled on Fine Art America. Zazzle will be my next print-on-demand online store.

After doing that, all I had to do was market myself to my target audience, which is Realtors and home owners. Realtors is a pretty good market, but home owners even more so. For anyone and everyone!

HillcrestHere’s a secret to marketing to home owners once you have a print-on-demand store set up: Drive your neighborhood and look around. Drive rich neighborhoods and look around. Not saying that your neighborhood might not be a rich neighborhood, too!

While you’re looking around, note what people like.

Back to the '50s car cruise in La Mesa, CaliforniaDo you specialize in car photos? If you see a cool car sitting in the driveway, write down the address and send the occupant a postcard with a cool picture of a cool car printed on it and a link to all of your wonderful pictures of cars in your Cars Gallery at Fine Art America.

Yellow roseDo you specialize in flora? If you see a house with a ton of roses, or nandinas, or agapanthus, or, or, or…… write down the address and send the occupant a postcard with a cool picture of a rose printed on it and a link to all of your wonderful pictures of roses in your Rose Gallery at Fine Art America.

Zoey the Cool Cat soccer ballDo you specialize in dogs and cats? If you see a house with evidence of a dog or cat, write down the address and send the occupant a postcard with a cool picture of a dog or cat printed on it and a link to all of your wonderful pictures of dogs and cats in your Dog and Cat Galleries at Fine Art America.

Do you specialize in events? When you go to an event, canvass the neighborhoods surrounding the event, writing down addresses, and send a postcard to all the homes with a cool picture of the event and a link to all of your wonderful pictures of events in your Events Gallery at Fine Art America.

Del Mar CastleEven though we think our homes are private, they can tell us a lot about the people who live there, especially the extraordinarily wealthy because they love their homes, and there’s no other reason to have a 9,300-sf home other than love of material things.

I specialize in Southern California, mostly San Diego. I like to go wandering looking for unique areas, events, and real estate. Several months ago I got lost at the beach in La Jolla and found the La Jolla Beach Mansion, selling most recently in November 2009 for $18.15 million. I took 27 pictures of it. I went home and had Photoshop’s Photomerge function create a panorama of the house. Then I turned it into Photographic Art, which is my specialty. Photographic Art allows me to modify pictures, sometimes substantially, like removing cars, utility wires, other houses, people, the bottom of ugly palm trees which look like telephone poles, etc. Then I use filters, actions, and plugins for Photoshop, Lightroom, PaintShop Pro, PhotoPaint, Photomatix, onOne, Nik, and a few others to make the picture look like it’s not a picture but a painting or something else unique.

Beach mansion at 1900 Spindrift Drive in La Jolla Shores, San Diego, CaliforniaRecently I uploaded it to Fine Art America. Then I sent a 5½x8½ postcard to the home. Four days later, someone stocked up on pictures of the house. They bought a 48×38 framed print for $334, the same size canvas print for $306, the same size acrylic print for $235, and the same size metal print for $195. They also bought 50 greeting cards for $78.95. Total: $1,149. My profit: $490. My investment: About $10 for gas, about $1 for printing and postage, and time to take the pictures and play around in the various digital editing programs I have.

Fine Art America does not charge you per item, nor do they take a percentage of your sale (technically). What they have is a base price that covers their costs. Then YOU decide what kind of profit you want on any specific item. Your markup is added to the base price to determine the final cost. You can easily set default prices for everything, and you can easily override default prices for any specific item.

White's Tree FrogCurrently I’m in the process of getting as much stuff uploaded to Fine Art America as possible. Once I do that, then I can do some really serious marketing of events, homes, planes, trains, automobiles, landscapes, zoo animals, dogs and cats, flowers, trees, bushes, etc., etc., etc.

For Realtors, I will be advertising my work as close-of-escrow gifts (I do custom work for specific homes), anniversary gifts, birthdays, births, marriages, etc. The possibilities are endless, and by letting Fine Art America handle the inventory and sales problems, I can focus on what I do best: Photography and Photographic Art.

Fine Art America also sets you up with a web site that is directly linked to them. Mine is at http://1-russel-ray.artistwebsites.com/

Total cost for all the great benefits at Fine Art America? $30 annually. Not a typo. $30 annually. Photo Galleries, web site, sales, inventory, technical help (which is really responsive!), social networking links. On and on and on. $30 annually. Less than $3 a month.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

Visit Russel Ray Photos.

Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

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My new BFF free digital photo editing program

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Before I actually buy software, I like to search around to see if there is anything free that will let me do the things I want to do. Usually there is, but free stuff often comes with other problems.

For example, before I bought Photoshop, Lightroom, Photo-Paint, and PaintShop Pro, I searched for free software that would let me edit my digital photos. I found programs like Picmonkey, Picasa, Gimp, and several others that aren’t even worth mentioning because they were so bad that I don’t even remember them!

My dislike of free programs often has something to do with the free program not having all the functions of the paid program. The free program is just a teaser to, hopefully, get you addicted enough that you will want to buy the paid program. In the early days of computing, we called such programs crippleware.

Another problem is that when you download the free program, you also download all sorts of adware and sometimes malicious software. Been there, done that, and it’s a mess to recover from that.

Open source programs like WordPress have their own issues, often related to the fact that anyone can contribute to open source programs, and sometimes those contributions are not completely functional, crash the program or computer, or are not fully tested for compatibility.

One of the free digital photo editing programs I tried took over my computer for about twelve hours while it searched for all of my graphics in order to catalog them. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t let me multitask while it was searching, so my computer was useless for twelve hours. Even rebooting didn’t interrupt its search. It was like the Energizer Bunny and, once the computer rebooted, simply continued in its quest for all things graphic. As soon as it finished, I summarily removed it from my computer.

Ultimately, I decided that there were significant benefits to tried and true programs that you pay for.

Recently, one of my followers, Wesley Coll (visit his WordPress blog at CollTales) introduced me to Lunapic. I think it’s the best free photo editor I have ever seen. I haven’t had the opportunity to explore everything about it yet, but the things I explored yesterday were very easy and intuitive to use. If you’re looking for a free way to edit your photos, give Lunapic a try. I think you might find it a very useful program.

Here is our favorite little feline, Zoey the Cool Cat, to demonstrate some of the effects easily accomplished with Lunapic.

Zoey the Cool Cat Christmas ornament

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat $100 bill

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat painting

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The only issue I have with Lunapic is that even if I upload a high resolution image, I can’t save my work as anything other than a low-resolution image. There might be some settings that I have not discovered yet, but at this point it looks like Lunapic is optimized for creating something unique to quickly post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Perhaps even to your WordPress blog!

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

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I prefer to skip the middle man

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There is a megachurch about seven miles from me. I won’t mention its name because I despise it, its pastor, and everything they stand for.

My wise old grandmother had raised me as a Catholic and taught me to give 10% of my gross income to the Church.

I did.

Until 1983.

That’s when I found out that the pastor of the church of which I was a member was driving around in a Rolls Royce. I didn’t want to presume anything since people often inherit things, win them in lotteries, have relatives give them things, whatever.

So as is my inclination, I did a little digging by joining the church’s finance committee. Oh, boy. Did I learn a lot. I quit the church a couple of months later. In fact, that pretty much was when I quit all religions.

The megachurches are doing absolutely nothing to convince me to return. The Pope is, but I do think I’m too far gone at this point in my life to go back to religions, especially when articles like the following keep popping up every month.

Megachurch bishop Ira V. Hilliard told his Sugarland [sic], Texas, congregation (New Light Christian Center) in June [2013] that one of his two private aircraft—a helicopter valued at about $1 million—needs new blades, but rather than pay it himself, he asked parishioners to each find it in their hearts to send him $52 “favor seeds” for the blades. (His ministry also owns a $2 million Hawker jet and a $3 million hangar.) To sweeten the deal, he virtually promised that a donor’s gift would be met by a “breakthrough favor” from God in the form of a car repair or their very own “dream” car either 52 days or 52 weeks later (according to a church letter described by the Christian Post).

I don’t have a problem per sé with people being religious, or worshiping anything, everything, or nothing. What I do have a problem with is obscene amounts of money in the hands of people who don’t know what to do with it. I keep wondering how these multimillion-dollar churches feed the hungry, house the homeless, and heal the sick because all I ever see are token words and even less in actions.

I think Mick Jagger might have said it best in 1978 with The Rolling Stones’ #1 hit single “Far Away Eyes.”

I refuse to play the religion game, preferring to skip the middle man. I’ll send my donations directly to organizations that work 24/7 to help society. Makes me feel so much better, and if someone’s god doesn’t like me for it, that is a god I really don’t want to be associated with anyway.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My kind of pledge of allegiance

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have never really cared for the Pledge of Allegiance ever since my high school senior English teacher, Mrs. Edith Head (but not THAT Edith Head) diagrammed it on the blackboard in class. That was back in 1973.

When one understands sentence structure, it’s obvious that most people, especially Christians (“Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” or something like that), should be a little upset. It starts, “I pledge allegiance to the flag….” Huh? I’m supposed to pledge myself to an inanimate object? Hmmm. I don’t think so. And I’m not even a Christian!

It goes on, kind of like an afterthought “….AND to the republic for which it stands….” That’s certainly good, but then it gets bad again: “….one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

When one understands religions, one would naturally ask, “Under whose god?”

And even at the tender young age of 18, it was evident to me that there was no “liberty and justice for all.” Liberty and justice was reserved for the rich and the white. I don’t think anything has changed in 41 years.

At a recent home inspection, there was a pledge of allegiance hanging on the wall, a pledge that I fully support:

I pledge allegiance....

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I pledge allegiance
to the Earth
and all the Life
which it supports.
One Planet,
in our care,
irreplaceable,
with sustenance and respect
for all.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Google search results for Lt. Col. Charles J. Scharf

Google loves me (and how to get Google to love you!)

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yesterday’s post about Lt. Col. Charles J. Scharf started out as a simple post about The Freedom Tree on the campus of San Diego State University. It turned into a much more extensive post about Lt. Col. Scharf.

As I began my research on Lt. Col. Scharf, I turned to Google, of course. Simply entering Lt. Col. Charles J. S immediately brought up Scharf’s name, and a click took me to the POW Network.

I finished the post, published it, and then went to read it on my proofreading computer.

SIDE NOTE ON HOW TO PROOFREAD
Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filterChange your environment!
If you work mainly on one computer, when you go to proofread, go to a different room or a different computer, or put a cat on your desk. Anything to change your environment.  The newness in your environment will help you proofread better. You could also ask someone else to proofread.  At the very least, take a 10-minute break; don’t proofread something you just finished working on!

When I proofed it, I realized that I had left out the link to the POW Network, something that I definitely wanted to include.

When I went back to Google to find the POW Network again, I probably could have typed POW Network into the search bar. I didn’t, though. Instead I typed Lt. Col. Charles J. Scharf. Look what Google presented to me (click on the image for a larger, more readable version):

Google search results for Lt. Col. Charles J. Scharf

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice the very first entry in the search results? Yep. It’s my WordPress post! More importantly, though, notice that my post was published “2 mins ago.” “Mins” is short for minutes. Just two minutes after I published my post, Google had already indexed it!

So, how do I accomplish getting Google to index my site so quickly? Keep reading if you’re interested. Go play with the cat or dog if you’re not.

  1. Blog persistently and consistently! There is a reason why this is #1 on my list. Google, Bing, and Yahoo (hereafter, GBY) won’t come by every minute to index you unless you prove to them that you are worth the effort. Blogging persistently and consistently (hereafter, P&C) proves that you are worth the effort. You don’t have to do anything else. Just blog persistently and consistently. GBY love fresh content. Your P&C blogging gives them that fresh content that they love so much.
  2. Use tagging and keywords. GBY love help, and if you can help them, they’ll love you for it. However, GBY understands when you are trying to trick them, like formatting inappropriate content to be invisible text, or using tagging and keywords that have nothing to do with the subject matter of your post.
  3. Provide quality content. Ranting and raving about last night’s date isn’t defined as quality content.
  4. A yawning Zoey the Cool Cat in her basket under the piano.Provide tags, keywords, and alternate text for your pictures and other graphics. GBY cannot look at pictures because they don’t have eyes. If I want pictures of Zoey the Cool Cat to be indexed, I tag them with “Zoey the Cool Cat,” keyword them with “cat pictures,” and provide alternate text, like “A yawning Zoey the Cool Cat in her basket under the piano.” GBY will love cat, basket, and piano, and possibly yawning. And she’ll get indexed as Zoey the Cool Cat. Want proof? Look at the Google search results for “Zoey the Cool Cat” (click on the image for a larger, more readable version):Google search results for Zoey the Cool Cat
    The first ten search results are from my blogging, and I have ten of eleven on the first page of Google!
  5. Be consistent in using your tags and keywords. If I want Zoey the Cool Cat to show up consistently in search results, I always tag her with “Zoey the Cool Cat,” never just “Zoey” or “indoor cat” or “cat on desk”….
  6. Make your blog posts between 300 and 700 words. Apparently GBY think that less than 300 words is not worth reading, and more than 700 words loses the reader’s interest. Once GBY know that you are worth their effort, you can publish some posts that don’t abide by this rule and still get indexed.

Getting results like this is called “organic search results.” It will take some time, so the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get results, especially if your actual intent is to use your blog to sell products or services, like I will be doing with my Photographic Art venture.

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

I started blogging on the WordPress platform on January 6, 2012. Previously I had blogged from July 2007 to January 2012 on a real estate blogging platform where I was trying to sell my home inspection services. That real estate blogging platform’s only purpose was to help its members sell their real estate services, so I learned a lot of things over there.

One of the most important is to pick a good blogging platform. GBY loved the real estate blogging platform I was at because 90% of the posts were about real estate, and there were 250,000 of us. That’s significant. WordPress is significant because there are several million users. Thus, if you’re blogging to sell products and services, and you have no experience, use the free wordpress.com platform. GBY know and understand wordpress.com, and you’ll get indexed faster. Once you start getting indexed regularly, you can upgrade or change to a self-hosted site and still get indexed regularly. Just be sure you link your wordpress.com blog to your upgraded name (my upgraded name is russelrayphotos2.com, but if I look at the title bar right now, it shows that I am at russelrayphotos.wordpress.com) or self-hosted site so GBY can find you and know that both sites are yours. Whatever you do, though, don’t delete your wordpress.com blog until you’re absolutely sure that you have GBY’s attention at your new site. Since wordpress.com is free, though, I would never delete it anyway, at least not until you no longer sell the same products and services.

When I first started blogging at wordpress.com. GBY would come by about once a month. You can see this on your stats page. For example, I would have 25-50 visits on any given day. Then, suddenly, I’d get 500 visit on one day, returning to 25-50 visits on following days. On that 500-visit day, those were search engines coming by to index my blog. You can see that on your stats page, too:

WordPress referrers

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Each month, GBY will come by your blog and index all the posts you have published since last time they were at your blog.

Notice in the screen shot above that my best ever number of views was 1,583 (upper right corner). That was on February 14, 2013, 13 months after I started using the wordpress.com platform. Look at the number of views by search engines from that day:

Search engine views

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That was the day when GBY decided to put me in their algorithms and watch me every minute of every day. They decided that I had good content, fresh content, and could be counted on to publish a post each and every day. I could publish a post at any time, and within five minutes be on the first page of GBY search term results for keywords and tags that were in the post.

If you can’t publish a post each and every day, try every two days, every three days, once a week, even once a month. But be P&C, and if you can’t be P&C every day, then pick a day and time, and be P&C for that day and time. I would submit, however, that if you are trying to sell your products and services, blogging P&C each and every day should be the #1 thing on your daily list of things to do.

P.S. This post got indexed by Google three minutes after I published it. Google Google loves me( and how to get Google to love you!).

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

White's tree frog

Office Depot’s photo printing services—A review

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My new enterprise, Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos, requires that I be able to print 4×6 pictures quickly, same-day, spur of the moment. They have to be the best quality imaginable.

Photographic Art

My old Oki C5500 color laser printer is on its last legs, so I had been looking at a new printer and the requisite cost of printer consumables like the ink and toner cartridges, drum belt, etc. It’s funny how what looks like a great printer can be $99 but the cartridges can be $49 to $259 EACH! I’ve learned over the years that the cost of the printer should not be the deciding factor when buying because, if you print a lot, that $99 printer can cost $99 a week or more for those dastardly consumables.

While I was looking around at ways to accomplish my goals with ultra high quality printing but as inexpensive as ultra high quality would allow, I discovered Office Depot’s same day photo printing service. I gave it a test run yesterday, uploading two pictures to be printed at 4×6 at my requested resolution of 300 ppi. I’ll put the two pictures in this blog post since I can’t have a blog post without pictures. This is, after all, Russel Ray Photos!

White's tree frog

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La jolla mansion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I picked up the two pictures just three hours after submitting them, I was floored by the quality. Totally unexpected. Far superior to anything I’ve ever seen come out of a portable printer for the home. They are of a quality that I could never have gotten regardless of the type of photographic paper or the printer. They were, in one word, stunning. Can you detect that I’m gushing over these pictures?

And the cost? A mere 29¢ each.

I’ll repeat that so you don’t think it’s a typo that I didn’t catch: 29¢ each. Yes! Twenty-nine cents each!

And remember that this is same-day service. Took all of three hours!

Check out Office Depot’s printing services at http://officedepot.com/photo.

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, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Best wishes to all for health and happiness in 2014 and beyond

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My #1 absolute greatest discovery in 2013:

Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

Cure for disease

Where the eighth day in the week was hiding

How to get more than 24 hours in any day

That Paul McCartney has been writing songs in my honor for 48 years

How to create world peace

How to play chess like Magnus Carlsen

How to get paid for blogging at the beach

Google Translate

Yep.

Google Translate.

When I was in high school in Kingsville, Texas, (way down South) back in 1970-73, our core curriculum required that we take two semesters of a foreign language. I think our choices were pretty limited, something like French, German, Spanish, Greek, Italian, and Latin. I didn’t see myself going to France, Germany, Greece, or Italy anytime soon, so those were out. I knew Latin from Catholic mass……. :)………. Actually, I had an English/Latin missal so I could follow in English what Monsignor was saying in Latin. A lot of work. Maybe that’s what turned me off of religions………. Nope. That’s not it……… :)

Many of my friends spoke not only Spanish but English as well. I wanted to learn Spanish and be able to talk to them. Spanish it was….

Ha! In high school I was an honors student, and I made only two grades lower than a B+. Those two grades were in Spanish, and they were C’s. I was devastated. Fortunately, the important parts of Spanish have remained stuck in my brain for these past 41 years:

Para estudiar in la biblioteca.—My answer to my wise old grandmother when she would ask, “Where are you going?”

Uno mas cerveza, por favor.—Very important since I live just 11 miles north of the Mexican border.

Uno mas grandé raspberry remolino, por favor.—Used when I go to happy hour at On The Border.

Without Google Translate I never would have been able to actually read great blogs by great folks living in great countries written in, uh, something other than English. Google Translate lets me know within seconds just exactly what that “something other than English” is. So for all my great blogging friends in foreign countries, the following is for you.

For those of you who want to follow along, the languages used for the following sentences are, in order, shown here:

Google Translate choices

Beste wense aan jou en joune vir gesondheid en geluk in 2014 en daarna.

Urimet më të mira për ju dhe tuajat për shëndet dhe lumturi në vitin 2014 dhe më gjerë.

أطيب التمنيات لكم ولكم من أجل الصحة والسعادة في عام 2014 وما بعده.

Լավագույն մաղթանքները Ձեզ եւ ձերն առողջության եւ երջանկության 2014 եւ դրանից դուրս:

Sizə və 2014 və kənarda sağlamlıq və xoşbəxtlik üçün sizin ən xoş arzularımı.

Best nahiak duzu eta osasuna eta zoriona zurea 2014 eta haratago ere.

З найлепшымі пажаданнямі да вас і вашым для здароўя і шчасця ў 2014 і ў наступныя гады.

আপনি এবং 2014 এবং তার পরেও মধ্যে স্বাস্থ্য এবং সুখ জন্য খুঁজেছেন প্রাণঢালা শুভেচ্ছা.

Najbolje želje da tebi i tvojima za zdravlje i sreću u 2014 i šire.

Най-добри пожелания за вас и ваш за здраве и щастие през 2014 г. и след това.

Els meus millors desitjos per a vostè i els seus per a la salut i la felicitat en l’any 2014 i més enllà.

Best mga pangandoy kanimo ug sa imong alang sa panglawas ug kalipay sa 2014 ug sa unahan.

祝愿您和在2014年及以后为你的健康和幸福。

祝愿您和在2014年及以後為你的健康和幸福。

Najljepše želje tebi i tvojima za zdravlje i sreću u 2014 i izvan nje.

S přáním všeho nejlepšího pro vás a vaše pro zdraví a štěstí v roce 2014 a dále.

Bedste ønsker til dig og din for sundhed og lykke i 2014 og videre frem.

Beste wensen aan u en de uwen voor gezondheid en geluk in 2014 en verder.

Best wishes to you and yours for health and happiness in 2014 and beyond.

Bondezirojn al vi kaj via sano kaj feliĉo en 2014 kaj tie.

Parimad soovid teile ja teie tervisele ja õnnele 2014 ja pärast seda.

Lubos na bumabati sa iyo at sa iyo para sa kalusugan at kaligayahan sa 2014 at higit pa.

Onnea sinulle ja sinun terveyttä ja onnea vuonna 2014 ja sen jälkeen.

Meilleurs voeux à vous et les vôtres pour la santé et le bonheur en 2014 et au-delà.

Moitas felicidades para ti e os seus para a saúde e felicidade en 2014 e alén.

საუკეთესო სურვილები თქვენ და თქვენი ჯანმრთელობისა და ბედნიერება 2014 წელს და მის ფარგლებს გარეთ.

Beste Wünsche für Sie und Ihre Gesundheit und Glück für 2014 und darüber hinaus.

Τις καλύτερες ευχές μου σε σας και δικοί σας για την υγεία και την ευτυχία το 2014 και πέρα​​.

તમે અને 2014 અને બહાર માં આરોગ્ય અને સુખ માટે તમારામાં શ્રેષ્ઠ શુભેચ્છાઓ.

Nou voye meyè souwè pou ou ak pou ou pou sante ak kontantman nan 2014 ak apre.

Buri mafi kyau a gare ka da kuma ga naku da kiwon lafiya da farin ciki a cikin 2014, kuma bayan.

איחוליי לך ושלך לבריאות ואושר ב2014 ומעבר לו.

आप और 2014 और परे में स्वास्थ्य और खुशी के लिए तुम्हारा के लिए शुभकामनाएं.

Qhov zoo tshaj plaws xav li cas rau koj thiab koj li kev noj qab haus huv thiab kev zoo siab nyob rau hauv 2014 thiab tshaj.

Üdvözlettel neked és a tiéd az egészség és a boldogság 2014-ben és azon túl.

Bestu kveðjur til þín og ræða um heilsu og hamingju í 2014 og víðar.

Echiche kacha mma gị na nke gị n’ihi na ike na-enweta obi ụtọ 2014 gabazie.

Terbaik ingin Anda dan Anda untuk kesehatan dan kebahagiaan pada tahun 2014 dan seterusnya.

Ádh mór oraibhse agus mise do shláinte agus sonas i 2014 agus ina dhiaidh.

Auguri a voi e la vostra per la salute e la felicità nel 2014 e oltre.

あなたと2014年以降の健康と幸福のためにあなたの最高の願い。

Best wishes kanggo sampeyan lan kagungan kanggo kasarasan lan begja ing 2014 lan ngluwihi.

ನೀವು ಮತ್ತು 2014 ಮತ್ತು ಮೀರಿ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಸಂತೋಷ ನಿಮ್ಮದಕ್ಕೆ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳನ್ನು.

​បំណងប្រាថ្នា​ដ៏ល្អបំផុតដើម្បី​អ្នកនិង​សម្រាប់សុខភាព​របស់អ្នក​និងសុភមង្គល​នៅឆ្នាំ 2014 និងលើសពីនេះ​។

당신과 2014 년 이후의 건강과 행복을위한 당신의 최고의 소원.

​ຄວາມປາດຖະຫນາ​ທີ່ດີທີ່ສຸດ​ກັບທ່ານ​ແລະ​ຂອງທ່ານສໍາລັບ​ສຸຂະພາບ​ແລະຄວາມສຸກໃນ​ປີ 2014 ແລະກາຍ.

Vota tua salute et felicitate in MMXIV tibi et ultra.

Vislabākos novēlējumus jums un jūsu veselībai un laimi 2014 un ārpus tās.

Geriausi linkėjimai jums ir jūsų sveikatos ir laimės 2014 ir vėlesniais metais.

Најдобри желби до вас и твое за здравје и среќа во 2014 година и пошироко.

Best ingin anda dan anda untuk kesihatan dan kebahagiaan pada tahun 2014 dan seterusnya.

L-isbaħ xewqat lilek u tiegħek għas-saħħa u l-kuntentizza fl-2014 u lil hinn.

Best hiahia ki a koe, me koutou hoki te hauora me te oaoa i roto i te 2014 me te ki tua atu.

आपण आणि 2014 आणि पलीकडे आरोग्य आणि आनंद घ्या साइटशी सर्वोत्तम शुभेच्छा.

Та нар, 2014 болон бусад эрүүл мэнд, аз жаргалын төлөө та нарынхаас нь амжилт хүсье.

तपाईं र 2014 र परे स्वास्थ्य र आनन्द लागि तपाइँको को लागि शुभकामना।

De beste ønsker til deg og dine for helse og lykke i 2014 og utover.

بهترین آرزوها برای شما و شما برای سلامتی و شادی در سال 2014 و فراتر از آن.

Najlepsze życzenia dla Ciebie i dla twojego zdrowia i szczęścia w 2014 r. i później.

Muitas felicidades para você e os seus para a saúde e felicidade em 2014 e além.

ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਅਤੇ 2014 ਅਤੇ ਪਰੇ ਵਿਚ ਸਿਹਤ ਅਤੇ ਖ਼ੁਸ਼ੀ ਲਈ ਤੇਰਾ ਤੱਕ ਬੇਹਤਰੀਨ ਵਧਾਈ.

Cele mai bune urări pentru tine si a ta pentru sănătate și fericire în 2014 și dincolo.

С наилучшими пожеланиями к вам и вашим для здоровья и счастья в 2014 и в последующие годы.

Најбоље жеље за вас и ваше здравље и за срећу у 2014 и даље.

S prianím všetkého najlepšieho pre vás a vaše pre zdravie a šťastie v roku 2014 a ďalej.

Najlepše želje za vas in za tvoje zdravje in srečo leta 2014 in po njem.

Best rabitaanka aad iyo adigaa iska leh, waayo caafimaad iyo farxad in 2014 iyo wixii ka dambeeya in ay.

Mis mejores deseos para usted y los suyos para la salud y la felicidad en el año 2014 y más allá.

Bora anataka wewe na wako kwa afya na furaha katika 2014 na zaidi.

Hälsningar till dig och de dina för hälsa och lycka i 2014 och därefter.

நீங்கள் மற்றும் 2014 மற்றும் அப்பால் உள்ள சுகாதார மற்றும் மகிழ்ச்சியை உன் வாழ்த்துக்கள்.

మీరు మరియు 2014 మరియు దాటి లో ఆరోగ్య మరియు ఆనందం కోసం మీదే శుభాకాంక్షలు.

ด้วยความปรารถนาดีให้กับคุณและคุณสำหรับสุขภาพและความสุขในปี 2014 และเกินกว่า

Size ve 2014 ve ötesinde sağlık ve mutluluğu için sizin için en iyi dileklerimle.

З найкращими побажаннями до вас і ваших для здоров’я і щастя в 2014 і в наступні роки.

آپ اور 2014 اور اس سے آگے میں صحت اور خوشی کے لئے آپ سے نیک خواہشات.

Lời chúc tốt nhất cho bạn và bạn cho sức khỏe và hạnh phúc trong năm 2014 và xa hơn nữa.

Dymuniadau gorau i chi a chi ar gyfer iechyd a hapusrwydd yn 2014 a thu hwnt.

בעסטער וויל צו איר און דייַן פֿאַר געזונט און גליק אין 2014 און ווייַטער פון.

Ti o dara ju on iba feran lopo lopo si o ati awọn tirẹ ni fun ilera ati idunu ni 2014 ati ki o kọja.

Nginifisela okuhle kuwe kanye neyakho impilo nenjabulo 2014 nangale.

Happy New Year!

See y’all around the blogosphere!

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, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Homeless during the holidays

Time, money, WordPress, and Facebook

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Texas A&M UniversityDuring my first year in college, I lived in Moore Hall and Puryear Hall on the Texas A&M University campus. Moore Hall had four floors, and I didn’t like it. Just too big. No opportunity for a shy freshman like me to get to know anyone or get involved. I couldn’t move the alpha males out of the way.

Puryear Hall was a ramp-type dorm. Instead of floors with 100 people living on them, there were ramps, which were simply stairways. Each ramp had four floors, but there were only four rooms per floor. With two people per room, eight people per ramp floor, and 32 people per ramp, it was much easier for a shy person to fit in.

I was on floor two, ramp 4. My seven rampmates were from Seattle, Houston, Waller TX, Hempstead TX, Kingsville TX, Lake Jackson TX, and—wait for it—Lagos, Nigeria. I don’t remember the Nigerian’s name, but I’m pretty sure he’s not one of the Nigerian scammers who wants to give you millions of dollars. Thus, I’m not a contact person or a reference….

Church in downtown Long BeachHowever, the Nigerian was very outgoing, an extrovert, an alpha male. He was interested in exploring the world’s religions, and each weekend, he would get a large group together to go visit a different church. The group started off with just four of us but, over the semester, grew to 50 or 60 people each week. We visited every church we could find—Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Church of Christ, Jew, Presbyterian. I know there was a “strange religion” in there—Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam—but I don’t remember which one.

It was during my college years that I started questioning the fundamental tenets of the Catholic and Mormon faiths in which I had been raised. My main problem then, as now, is that I could not understand how an all-knowing, all-powerful god could allow poverty, homelessness, hunger, and disease to exist among “his children.” I couldn’t understand how that all-knowing, all-powerful, invisible being would allow his children to die in car wrecks, train wrecks, airplane crashes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, heat waves, blizzards, etc. It didn’t make sense to me then and it still makes no sense to me. There is no need to try to explain it. I’m familiar with all the reasons the all-knowing, all-powerful, invisible, mystical being allows disasters and such. I’m not buying them; they are too expensive.

I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s Christmas spirit, holiday spirit, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever, but this time of year always gets me thinking about these things, and this morning when I went out exploring, I found a homeless person in the middle of Balboa Park, one of San Diego’s most beautiful places:

Homeless during the holidays

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Five things in this world currently bug me, really bug me:

  1. homelessness;
  2. disease and sickness;
  3. people who are cruel to animals, including people who kill animals for sport;
  4. the current generation of idiotic Republicans. I was a lifelong Republican until last year; I just couldn’t take the likes of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman anymore; and
  5. those who blindly follow religion without questioning it, especially if they quote things out of context or haven’t even read their own religion’s holy book completely! And, yes, I have read the Bible three times, start to end. I’ve read the Quran/Qu’ran/Koran once, all of The Analects (Confucianism), the Book of Mormon many times, and several others, all while searching for my own identity in this world.

Unfortunately, I’m not rich enough to do much on my own…. a little time here, a few dollars there, and my outspokenness here and on Facebook.

Possessions of a homeless person

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Home of a homeless person

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m Zoey the Cool Cat,
and I approve this post.Zoey the Cool Cat

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