Category Archives: Uncategorized

If at first you don’t succeed….

San Diego Historical Landmarks

I went downtown early Thanksgiving morning because I thought that the world comes to a stop on Thanksgiving (and Christmas Day).

It used to when I lived in Texas. That was 21 years ago, though. Since I was last in Texas in 2002, I don’t know if they have caught up to us here in San Diego because we sure don’t stop just because it’s Thanksgiving.

My plan was to be able to get free parking, not have any traffic, and take lots of pictures for upcoming posts in my San Diego Historical Landmark series.

Ha!

Not only did San Diego not come to a stop, I believe the whole world was in downtown San Diego. Every single traffic signal was blinking red, streets were closed, whole city blocks were closed off, police were everywhere….

Apparently they were going to have a Thanksgiving Day Parade and a 5K/10K/15K/20K/25K/30K/35K/40K/45K/50K crawl/hop/jump/skip/walk/run/bike event.

I didn’t stay around to see any of it. I spent 90 minutes going nowhere and doing nothing. By the time I got out of downtown, I was a physical and mental wreck!

This morning I am going downtown again, attempting to do what I could not do on Thanksgiving. Wish me luck!

Passionflower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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SNIPPETS (11-29-14)—Made it through Black Friday again!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

How come cats don’t jump any father than necessary?

Zoey the Cool Cat often jumps from the desk chair to the bed, a distance of about three feet.

Zoey the Cool CatThe bed is huge, but Zoey the Cool Cat only jumps far enough to make contact with the nearest edge of the bed.

The chair has rollers, and sometimes it doesn’t say put as she launches herself so occasionally she will not make it all the way to the bed, landing with her front feet clawing at the top of the bed and her back feet on the floor, augmented by a loud (obviously unhappy) meow.

It’s so funny to watch, but at the same time I feel sorry for her because she could easily make it to the bed if she would only plan to land in the middle instead of at the edge.

That way, when the chair gave a few inches, she’d still land on the bed!

SNIPPET #2

Christmas wreathI would like to thank all my followers, old followers who have been with me from my beginning blogging days in 2007, teenage followers who joined me when I came to WordPress in 2012, and the newborn babies who have joined me this past week. For the month of November I am averaging 15 new followers per day.

SNIPPET #3

Zoey the Cool Cat and Christmas treeI have not found a good way to determine how new followers find me. However, each new follower goes into my Excel spreadsheet with a link to the follower’s blog. Then, within a few days of getting that new follower, I visit his/her blog to get to know the person.

If you started following me this past week, bear with me, though, because I’ve been down and out sick, so I’m running behind.

SNIPPET #4

I am past the religious stage of my life, that having occurred from 1955 to 1993.

Christmas wreathI took time off from life, April 15 1993 to April 1 1994, to lay out on the San Diego beaches and study the world’s great, and not-so-great, religions. That’s all I did, every spare minute of every day, and I had about 1,020 spare minutes each day.

Having grown up in the Mormon and Catholic religions, I tried very hard to stay with those religions, so they were the first two I studied. It was pretty obvious after just a couple of weeks immersed in each religion that they weren’t going to be privileged to have me as part of their flock.

SNIPPET #5

I have noticed that many of the new followers this past week have religious blogs with religious blog titles.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!If you are one of my new followers and you have a religious blog with a religious title, I’ll still visit you, but if the only rule you follow is the 100/0 rule, I probably won’t be leaving any LIKEs or comments, and you might not even get a tit-for-tat follow by me.

I don’t mind visiting religions blogs, but I at least would like to see you follow the 80/20 rule at a minimum: 80% posts about your religion and 20% posts about your life, your family, your work, your play, etc. Those 20% will be the posts that I LIKE and comment on because my wise old grandmother taught me that if I can’t say anything nice, not to say anything at all. So I won’t be disparaging of your religion at your blog, but that also means no LIKEs and comments if it’s all about religion.

SNIPPET #6

Christmas wreathHere’s how I see religion: It was humanity’s first attempt to explain the world and universe. As with the first of anything (first car, first movie, first YouTube video), pretty bad.

Why people continue to follow any religion in today’s world of science and reason is, quite frankly, beyond me. However, if religion makes someone feel good and helps prevent them from killing people, pillaging, raping, etc., I’m all for it. I want people to feel good because I think people who feel good are better people.

Unfortunately, religion has been the cause of over 95% of the wars throughout history, religious people killing others in the name of their god. A good study of The Crusades, not to mention Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS, pretty much tells me that I don’t want anything to do with their gods.

SNIPPET #7

Merry ChristmasThe part of religion that I always did like was the part about helping the poor, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, healing the sick, and generally just helping anyone who needed some help getting through a bad time.

Unfortunately, even here in the United States, we have people like Ted Cruz, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and other “religious conservatives” who could do so much to help the lesser amongst us but who refuse to do so. Instead, they do everything within their power to help make the rich richer, and ensure that the poor remain poor.

Sad….

SNIPPET #8

Merry ChristmasBlack Friday yesterday marked the 41st consecutive year that I have NOT shopped on the day after Thanksgiving.

I succumbed to Black Friday shopping in 1973 when I bought a present for my wise old grandmother.

If not for that one time, I would have a life of 59 Black Fridays on which I did not shop!

SNIPPET #9

The fake “war on Christmas” always makes me laugh, and it was my wise old grandmother who taught me to add laughter to each and every day.

Zoey the Cool Cat Christmas ornamentShe also taught me not to complain unless I could offer a solution. Well, I’m not complaining about the fake war on Christmas, but I do have a solution.

For those of us who have studied the Bible AND science (especially astronomy) AND history, we know that December 25 is not, was not, and could not have been the birthday of Jesus Christ. Here’s a great read about the subject:

When was Jesus Christ born?

One thing the article does not touch on is astronomy. Since scientists have been tracking the stars for many hundreds of years now, it’s actually not hard for them to pick a date in history and show you the night sky for that day. It’s quite interesting.

Thus, all we have to do to resolve the fake war on Christmas is move Christmas to a date when it’s pretty likely Christ WAS born, probably in September. Then we can have Christmas on Christ’s most likely birthday, and end-of-year holidays, gift giving, and crass commercialism on December 25! Yahooooo!

SNIPPET #10

I was so busy forgetting to shop on Black Friday yesterday that I forgot that it was time for a Friday Flower Fiesta.

I started to do a post before I realized that Jim and I were supposed to drive 47 miles to eat a day-after-Thanksgiving meal with his mom, her boyfriend, and Jim’s brother. So I never finished my post yesterday….

I did create one new Photographic Art yesterday specifically for Friday Flower Fiesta, but since it’s only one, I’ll just go ahead and leave it here for you today:

Purple and White Iris

It is available for purchase in my Flower gallery at Fine Art America. Just $49 plus Fine Art America’s printing and shipping costs. You can get it in any size, up to 60″ x 29½”. That’s a whopping five feet by two-and-a-half feet, for just $246.77, printed on metal (metal prints are cool!) but without shipping costs. Other prints are available, too: matted and framed with wood and glass, acrylic, posters, and even greeting cards.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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2015 Photographic Art Rose Calendar

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think I might have to do more than one rose calendar because I have billions and billions and billions of rose pictures.

Here’s the first one:

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Current list of calendar subjects:

Birds – done
Little Cats I – done
Little Cats II
Big Cats
Dogs
Wildlife Variety I
Wildlife Variety II
Sunrises & Sunsets
Orchids – done
Roses I – done
Roses II
Roses III
Hibiscus
Flower Variety I – done
Flower Variety II
Scenes from San Diego County
Railroads & Trains
Great houses (idea provided by a reader)
Stamps (pictures will be framed like stamps)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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2015 Calendars—Birds

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now that I have templates for the twelve months of 2015, it was fairly easy to create a second calendar.

I chose to do birds today, so I have two calendars finished:

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Below was the first calendar, which I’ll name Standard, and which will be the first one I print and hang on my wall:

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So now I can cross Birds off my list of calendars, which I guess means I’m doing Butterflies today:

Birds
Butterflies
Little cats
Big cats
Dogs
All other wildlife
Sunrises & sunsets
Orchids
Roses
Hibiscus
All other flowers
Scenes from San Diego County
Railroads & Trains
Stamps (pictures will be framed like stamps)

For more on the calendars, see SNIPPETS 5 in yesterday’s post.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I think I like freeway art!

Did you know?

The first time I saw a freeway being built incorporating “public art,” I thought that the expense for incorporating the public art might better be spent on feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and healing the sick.

When I was in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, I saw some beautiful public art being incorporated. Looked like this:

Freeway public art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Freeway public art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Apparently there are two major reasons for incorporating public art into the freeway structure, both of them having to do with graffiti.

First, it is more difficult for criminals to scrawl their graffiti on the surface when it isn’t smooth.

Second, apparently vandalizing public art is a more serious crime than vandalizing public property, so criminals who scrawl graffiti on this public art get put away for a much longer time with a bigger ding in their bank account.

Hmmm. I think I like freeway art!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Free stuff for my loyal readers!

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

I will email you a free postage stamp, similar to this:

Maelee stamp

Tall or wide stamp.

You may choose any photo out of my galleries at Fine Art America or I can use a digital photo that you provide (you’ll need to email it to me at photographicart@russelrayphotos.com). Make it the highest resolution you have available for the best quality stamp.

So what do YOU have to do? That’s easy!

Leave a comment below telling me that you are sending me a digital file or letting me know which picture from my galleries at Fine Art America you would like me to use for your stamp.

That’s it!

Simple!

Only one stamp per person, but there is no limit to the number of people, so comment away!

Also, remember that there is free stuff over here, too: Free calendar page, any month, any year.

Both of these make super birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, and more:

Uses for Photographic Art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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A short visit to Galleta Meadows in Borrego Springs, California

Out & About

On my 476-mile journey through Southern California on August 12, I had several goals. While seeing three friends in three cities distant from each other was high on the list, seeing the collection of life-size prehistoric creatures out in the desert was #1 on my list:

Prehistoric elephants in Borrego Springs, California

Those three mammoths are part of Galleta Meadows.

Galleta Meadows

Millions of years ago the desert was a lush jungle and home to all sorts of strange animals: Mammoths; saber-toothed cats (often wrongly called saber-toothed tigers); huge birds; prehistoric horses, pigs, and dogs; sloths; camels….

Mammoths

Wild pig

Galleta Meadows was created by Dennis Avery (1940-2012), one of Southern California’s great philanthropists who lived in Borrego Springs and owned various parcels of land around the community. I’ll have more about Avery in an upcoming post because I just found out that a place I visited a couple of years ago was founded by Avery.

Raptor

Bird and prey

Desert birds

The steel-welded sculptures were created by Ricardo Breceda, creator of Perris Jurassic Park that rises alongside Interstate 215 in Perris, about 90 miles away. Breceda moved his sculpture and welding enterprise to Borrego Springs in December 2013.

Wild horses

Known as “The Sky Art Project,” it started in 2008, originally intending to feature species which once lived, or still live, in the area. After a while, other animals, some of them imaginary, joined the collection, as well as sculptures of people relevant to its history, such as a gold miner, a Spanish padre, and Native Americans.

Wild horse and foal

I did not know the name of the collection before heading out to Borrego Springs, only that it existed. I came home with what I thought was a lot of pictures (27) and only now found out that there are about 150 sculptures scattered throughout the desert community surrounding Borrego Springs. This, of course, means that another trip is required….

Fighting horses

Wild horse

It took me a couple of hours to explore the sculptures I found, and I was only able to do that because you’re allowed to drive from sculpture to sculpture. Trust me, you don’t want to walk in the sand in that heat.

In a few areas, though, driving means four wheel driving. I nearly got stuck in a couple of places and gave up when the going got tough….

Horses fighting

Wild horses in the desert

Sculptures that I missed this first trip include prehistoric dogs, Gymphotheriums, dinosaurs, and a 350-foot long sea serpent—that’s longer than a football field!

Borrego Springs is a dark sky community, meaning that it is sufficiently clear of light pollution to allow for naked-eye astronomy. I have seen some pictures of these desert sculptures taken at dusk and at night—long exposures—and the effect is awesome. I might have to make an overnight trip to Borrego Springs.

Prehistoric horse

Sabre-toothed cat

Sabre-toothed cat

Cat fight

Borrego Springs location

See location on Google Maps

There are several routes to Borrego Springs. Take the route I’ve highlighted on the map above because it will take you through Cuyamaca State Park and by Lake Cuyamaca, as well as through Julian, home of the world’s best apple pies—my favorites are the apple/peach crumb and the apple/cherry crumb.

Sabre-toothed cat

The chase

In the clutches

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Do you have Bare Wall Syndrome? Need a unique gift?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

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