Blog love 2 (4-13-14)

I livew in my own little world

If you missed my initial post about blog love, you can read it here.

Friday Flower Fiesta 4-5-13If you travel the blogosphere as much as I do (I visit an average of 85 blogs a day), you might have seen that some themes have an area for “Blogs I follow” or “Blog Roll.” I don’t know if the free WordPress theme I use has such an area, but since I’m currently following 3,732 blogs, my Blog Roll would be a wee bit long. Thus, “Blog Love” each Sunday. If you get mentioned in my Blog Love series, it’s a sure bet that I’m following YOU!

Friday Flower Fiesta 4-5-13So following are the Blog Love honorees for this past week.

Numbers are how many LIKEs and comments I left during my camping trip to the blog, and the following are simply the blogs that got ten or more total.

You’ll notice that those bloggers who post quite a few pictures with very little text to read get the most LIKEs and comments, so it’s not unusual to find pet blogs and photography blogs high on the Blog Love list each week.

Friday Flower Fiesta 4-5-13Click on the link to go visit them, and be sure to tell them that Russel Ray sent you their way!

  1. rommel – 28
  2. slpmartin – 20
  3. doru – 16
  4. munchow – 12
    herman – 12

Zoey the Cool Cat encourages you to adopt from your local animal shelter

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.

Use code FTNSD to get a 20% discount through April 14, 2014.

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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 by Russel Ray

I guess blogging wasn’t fun

My wise old grandmother

One of my favorite sayings from my wise old grandmother is “Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the journey.” That means to have fun!

SeaWorld San DiegoI don’t have many problems having fun because I like so many things–real estate, music, photography, gardening, chess, travel, reading, history, people….

….and blogging!

Blogging allows me to enjoy real estate, music, photography, gardening, chess, travel, reading, history, people….

SeaWorld San DiegoEver since my WordPress problems got resolved towards the end of March, I have been going on blog camping trips each day. My Excel spreadsheet tells me that I have been camping in 36 to 180 blogs each day, averaging 85 each day.

Unfortunately, my Excel spreadsheet also tells me that of the 1,198 blogs I have visited in 14 days, a whopping 216 of them are inactive. I define “inactive” as publishing fewer than one blog per month. Some people haven’t published anything since September 2013, and in other cases, the blogs have been completely deleted. I guess blogging wasn’t fun for them.

Sea turtle at SeaWorld San DiegoGoing through the blogs of these people who have not visited my blog since last September and October allows me to cull my list, which is a good thing because it takes a lot of time and effort to visit people. It’s something I love to do, but I dislike very much waiting for a blog to load only to have Google tell me that the blog has been deleted, or to find that the blogger isn’t even blogging anymore. Blog camping is very difficult if bloggers don’t blog or blog only once every three months! On the other hand, a shorter list will mean that the time between camping trips to YOUR blog will be shorter!

Pictures taken at SeaWorld San Diego.

Note to the WordPress folks: With your recent upgrade you took away our ability to easily put borders around our pictures. Why?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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.

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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 by Russel Ray

I knew I could do it!

How I Did It

In January 2012, I was using several different software programs to edit my digital pictures, mostly Corel Draw X6, Corel Paintshop Pro X6, and Corel Photo-Paint X6.

I also had used Photoshop since version 1.0 was released in February 1990 for the Macintosh. Apple lost me as a customer in 1983, so when the time came to replace my Apple computers, I went the PC route, which didn’t really upset me since PCs were 1/5 the cost of an Apple computer, so I bought five PCs for what would have been the cost of one Apple computer, which meant I could hire four more people for my business! Make more money! Oh, the joy….

Adobe ported Photoshop to the PC/Windows platform with version 2.5, and when that happened, I said goodbye to the last of my Apple products. As Adobe continued to increase the upgrade price for Photoshop, I quit upgrading. I last upgraded to Photoshop version 5.0 in May 1998.

Fast forward to June 2007. Photoshop was in version 10, known as CS3. I had heard good things about it, not to mention that it was the de facto standard for digital photo editing. I decided to learn anything and everything about Photoshop using their free 30-day trial of a fully functional version. At $699, I didn’t want to buy it until I was sure that I could use it, which meant learning it because it did have a pretty good learning curve. So every 30 days or so, I would remove the expired trial version and start over again.

Eventually I decided that I could do everything in Photoshop that previously I had been doing in Draw, Paintshop Pro, Photo-Paint, and a few free, open source programs. Thus I was willing to buy Photoshop. That was in January 2011. Fortunately, upon making my decision and heading to adobe.com to spend my money, Adobe announced that they had a subscription program.

Subscription? Heck yes! Monthly costs, even in perpetuity, are much easier on the budget than a lump sum. So for $35.99 a month with a one-year commitment, I could have Photoshop!  Count me in.

When Photoshop CS6 came out in May 2012, Adobe offered me the upgrade, still on a subscription basis, but the cost fell to $25.99 a month.

Then along came Photoshop CC in June 2013. I knew I would upgrade, especially when Adobe told me that the subscription would be $19.99 a month. Photoshop CC was the first version that would not be sold in the traditional way with manuals and DVDs in a box in a store. It would have to be downloaded from Adobe via the Internet, and there was no purchase price anymore, only a subscription. Didn’t bother me at all, but there was an uproar throughout the world. Adobe responded by lowering the subscription price to $9.95 a month. How I love Adobe.

That brings me to this evening when I wanted to create what is known in philately (stamp collecting) as a First Day Cover. It’s an envelope sent through the mail on the first day of issue of a postage stamp, usually bearing a special cachet and a special First Day of Issue postmark. I can do it quickly and easily in Corel Draw, but I wanted to do it in Photoshop this time. Where Corel Draw took me ten minutes, my first version in Photoshop took me–ready for this?–eight hours! The second version took two hours, and the final version took thirty minutes. I now have a template, though, so the next time I choose to create one, it will probably be five minutes max.

I asked Zoey the Cool Cat to help me create the third First Day Cover, and she was only too happy to oblige:

Zoey the Cool Cat First Day of Issue

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I knew I could do it!

Got margarita?Eventually I’ll be able to do everything in Photoshop and will not have to upgrade Corel Draw (X7 just came out last week; $199 to upgrade), Paintshop Pro, and Photo-Paint. That right there will save me about $300 a year, enough to pay the subscription for Photoshop with many dollars left over for many margaritas!

I am going to fine tune my template over the next few days, as well as get some different types of digital envelopes, and as soon as I have a pretty good work flow down, I’ll be offering First Day Covers to followers here, similar to what I did with my Photographic Art. Don’t miss out!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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.

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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 by Russel Ray

Friday Flower Fiesta (4-11-14) from Fine Art America

Friday Flower Fiesta

I have been uploading pictures by the dozens to my Fine Art America galleries in preparation for being an approved vendor at the fundraiser May 3 for Cat House on the Kings.

Knowing that flowers are popular at all times of the year with many people, those have been on my priority list for uploading.

I thought I’d share a few of them here in our Friday Flower Fiesta for April 11, 2014, which happens to be my 709th monthabirthday.

You can click on the picture to go directly to the picture in my Flower Gallery at Fine Art America.

DahliaDahlia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SoonAloe flower buds

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pretty in YellowPretty in Yellow

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Umbrella Tree FlowersUmbrella Tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Carnivorous BeautyCarnivorous Beauty

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mother of ThousandsMother of Thousands

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Raindrops on Geranium FlowersRaindrops on Geranium

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red and YellowRed and Yellow

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flower BudsFlower Buds

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SuspendedSuspended

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art stamp offer

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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.

Use code FTNSD to get a 20% discount through April 14, 2014.

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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 by Russel Ray

History Through Philately–Happy birthday to the ASPCA!

History Through Philately stamp

With my WordPress problems of these past three months now firmly in the past (see WordPress problems resolved!), I seem to have more time to do the things I like to do, such as blog camping (see May I camp out in your blog?) and blogging.

Long-time readers know that I am a big fan of serial blogging, too, but serial blogging takes a lot more effort than just putting up a pretty picture every day, or a cute quote.

Scott #776, Texas centennialSome of my blog series include

I have always had a love of history, with war history being at the top of my list. I find it amazing that humans can be so cruel to other humans, usually under the guise of religion. Right now I’m reading The Crusades by  Zoé Oldenbourg. Just a sampling of how cruel the crusades were: “The Aemenian nobles of Edessa who were plotting to overthrow their new lord were punished in the Byzantine fashion by mutilation–having their eyes put out and their feet, hands, or noses cut off.” The Crusades were in the Eleventh Century, yet killing in the name of religions continues to the present.Scott #993 Railroad Engineers of America

Philately, or stamp collecting, by its very nature encourages the study of history, so it was only natural that I became a philatelist, or stamp collector. At one time I had a huge stamp collection, include Railroad Postal History (RPO), but it was sold when I evacuated Texas in April 1993 and wound up here in San Diego.

I still collect stamps, virtually (much less financial investment), and subscribe to daily emails from history.com. Coupled with Wikipedia’s On this day section on their front page, I get my fill of history each day.

So without further adoo (that’s Texan for adieux), on this day in 1866….

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in New York City. It is entirely separate from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which was founded in England in 1824 to prevent cruelty to carriage horses. The ASCPA’s mission is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” It’s motto is, “We are their voice.”

One might wonder why anyone would be cruel to a defenseless animal, and perhaps even if their mission might be outdated. All one has to do is pay attention to the news, and it’s easy to see that their mission is not outdated, and that if humans can be cruel to other humans, they certainly can be cruel to defenseless animals. Examples include dogfighting and cockfighting, not feeding an animal enough (often happens to dogs and horses), not giving them clean water, keeping them outside in very hot or very cold weather, hitting an animal (another way to “train” an animal). Some that were recently in the news include setting cats on fire, shooting cats and dogs with arrows, drowning newborn dogs by throwing them into fast-moving rivers, abandoning newborn cats by “throwing them away” in a dumpster.

In celebration of the founding of the ASPCA, here are some United States postage stamps featuring cats, dogs, and horses, the three most commonly abused animals:

Scott #2372, issued February 5, 1988Scott #2372

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2373, issued February 5, 1988Scott #2373

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2374, issued February 5, 1988Scott #2374

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2375, issued February 5, 1988Scott #2375

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #3232, issued August 20, 1998Scott #3232

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #3670, issued September 20, 2002Scott #3670

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2098, issued September 7, 1984Scott #2098

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2099, issued September 7, 1984Scott #2099

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2100, issued September 7, 1984Scott #2100

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2101, issued September 7, 1984Scott #2101

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #3230, issued August 20, 1998Scott #3230

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #3671, issued September 20, 2002Scott #3671

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #4451-4460, issued April 30, 2010Scott #4451-4460

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2155, issued September 25, 1985Scott #2155

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2156, issued September 25, 1985Scott #2156

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2157, issued September 25, 1985Scott #2157

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #2158, issued September 25, 1985Scott #2158

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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.

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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 by Russel Ray

In the master bedroom?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yahoooooooooooooooooooooo!

More about that in a minute.

Zoey the Cool Cat is a very sociable cat. She likes to be where Jim and I are, so if we’re in the office, she’s probably lounging on the printer between our two desks:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sometimes, though, she disappears, and when I take a break (10-minute break every hour), if she’s not close by, I’ll go look for her.

Around 3:00 this afternoon, she was not close by, and I didn’t find her in her usual places in the garage or living room.

I went into the master bedroom and saw this:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Three o’clock is about the time that the sunshine is fading from the master bedroom—you can see some sun on the floor at the right—so I have no doubt that she was lounging in the sunshine on the bed, and when the sun moved, she did, too, eventually winding up in that position.

Since I often carry my camera from room to room with me, just for times like this, I took a couple of pictures while I was laughing at her.

If she heard me laughing, I’m probably due for a rude awakening around 3:00 tomorrow morning………….. :)

Now back to Yahooooooooooooooooo!

I got official word today that I get to be a vendor for the Cat House on the Kings fundraiser on May 3 in Fresno. This will be for my Photographic Art enterprise. I’m excited, especially since I’m going to drive, which means I’ll be able to stop here and there and take road-trip pictures as well as spending Saturday with a few billion cats!

Yahoooooooooooooooo!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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.

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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 by Russel Ray

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

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

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.

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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 by Russel Ray