Monthly Archives: June 2012

Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

My blogging secret: I don’t type!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Throughout my blogging during the past five years, many people have asked, and continue to ask, how I get so much blogging done.

First, a little background:

I started typing way back in 1966 when my wise old grandmother’s husband — that would be my granddad — brought home a typewriter from the Missouri Pacific Railroad shops in Kingsville, Texas. It was an 1896 Underwood portable and looked like this:

Underwood typewriter

Underwood typewriter

The Underwood Typewriter Company was founded in 1895; my “new” typewriter was dated 1896.

I practiced typing by checking out a typing manual from the city library. By the time I got to ninth grade, where typing was a required course, I was typing a consistent 100 words a minute on my Underwood typewriter. There was no such thing as placing out of a required high school course or being exempt, so I registered for typing during my first summer. I had Miss Short:

Miss Short from King High School in Kingsville, Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Miss Short taught typing to my dad and my three uncles. At the time I took her typing class, the high school had just purchased a brand new IBM Selectric, all the rave in the typing world. During our mid-class break, I decided to type some of my famous Russel lists — highest mountains, longest rivers, most populous cities….

Miss Short came in and was astounded at how fast I was typing. She exempted me from participation in class and had me do personal typing for her, ON THE NEW IBM SELECTRIC! I was stoked. Miss Short entered me in the Texas UIL (University Interscholastic League) contests, and I won many of them, with my best typing speed being 176 words per minute with three errors on a five-minute test.

When I went off to college at Texas A&M University, I decided that I could make some money typing papers. I created “Just Your Type” and started doing research, writing, proofreading, copyediting, and typing. I couldn’t afford an IBM Selectric, so I bought a Smith-Corona, just like this one:

Smith Corona typewriter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was a junior at Texas A&M I entered a typing competition that had a $1,000 first prize. I won, typing the fastest I would ever type, a whopping 316 words per minute using an IBM self-correcting Selectric II typewriter.

Ultimately “Just Your Type” became a full-time business until 1993 when I moved to San Diego.

Got margarita?Therein lies the secret to how I get so much blogging done: I don’t type! Typing so fast all those years led to carpel tunnel symdrome which ultimately was renamed repetitive stress injury. About a decade ago, I switched to using voice recognition software, specifically Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS). The latest version is absolutely awesome right out of the box. I have it set to recognize various voices on my computers — my Regular voice, my I-have-a-cold voice, and my Too-many-margaritas voice.

If you don’t have the money to buy DNS and you happen to be using Windows 7, give Windows Speech Recognition a try. You can find it by clicking on the Start icon and then clicking on All Programs, Accessories, and Ease of Access. If you use an Apple product, well, you’re on your own. They lost me as a customer way back in 1983.

I can talk much faster than I can type, as can most people. If you find errors in my posts, it’s usually the result of me typing something after having turned off DNS.

Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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Feed me! I'm your child!

Feed me! I’m your child!

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

With the San Diego Zoo now in its summer hours season, I went early yesterday evening to see how our animals were doing. Had lots of fun and got some great pictures of the big cats. Apparently, with dusk comes activity, hoping to catch some prey — one of the Amur Leopards was seriously eyeing a young child.

The first place I always stop is Flamingo Lagoon, right inside the front entrance, and what a joy it was yesterday.

Baby flamingos practicing the art of tucking their heads

Baby flamingos practicing the art of tucking their heads

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Baby flamingos practicing walking around

Baby flamingos practicing walking around

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Baby flamingo looking for food

Baby flamingo looking for food

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Feed me! I'm your child!

Feed me! I’m your child!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

How come my egg hasn't hatched!

How come my egg hasn’t hatched!

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 recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Jump rope

Get your official jump rope right here!

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was young, my wise old grandmother had season tickets to the Women’s Club in Kingsville, Texas. They brought various music and arts events to our small farming and ranching community. I got to see Emanuel Ax, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Luciano Pavarotti, Beverly Sills, and many more.

Some of the artists I don’t remember because they weren’t in classical music — I played the piano and violin at the time. One of the acts that I thought was the most unique was a jump-roping group from, I believe, the U.S.S.R. They had long jump ropes, short ones, double ones. They jumped singly, in pairs, in trios, while giving piggy back rides…. everything you could imagine, and then some.

I took up jump roping as a hobby, eventually becoming quite good. When I got to college and joined Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, I chaired a Jump-Rope-A-Thon for Muscular Dystrophy. I would have won but I was ineligible since I was the Event Chair.

This past weekend when I went to the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, I found some jump ropes:

Jump rope

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Jump rope

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

These are not just any jump ropes. These are

Official Jump Rope

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now pay attention here.

First, I want you to see how these jump ropes are made. Following are two videos, but don’t watch them if you get motion sickness or get dizzy.

The first video matches the top jump rope, and the second video matches the bottom jump rope.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Go back and watch them again, except this time pick one spool and watch it move around. Kind of fun.

Now….

Second, I can’t jump rope anymore because my knees are too old.

Sooooooooooooooooooooo……………..

If you or someone you know would like a jump rope, not just any jump rope but an official jump rope from the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, just pay shipping and handling of $99.95…………..

Kidding……

All you have to do is write a 100-word essay on why you, your loved one, or your friend should have one of these jump ropes. Post it on your blog and then come back to my post here and leave a link to your blog post.

There will be two winners. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me wish I were young again, jump roping the day away………………..

Zoey the Cool Cat will be the judge, and the judge’s decision is final. (Typical cat……. Oops. Sorry, your honor.)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Poop on it

Choices: Competition, or war?

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t upload videos to YouTube too often, but for the past three days I have been trying to do just that. Never had a problem before, but this time nothing would upload. Didn’t matter how long the video was, what format it was in, what time of day I tried…. The video would just hang there at 0% upload.

This morning I decided to find an answer to my problem. The YouTube help was, well, no help at all….

Except that it had several recommendations for which browsers to use to upload videos. I use Internet Explorer 9, so I did everything to IE 9 that YouTube recommended.

Survey says, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

Then it hit me: YouTube is owned by Google, and Google has a browser called Chrome. I thought to myself, “Self, what if Google wants me to use their Chrome brower instead of IE 9, Firefox, etc.?”

So Self downloaded Chrome, making sure to read all the default checkboxes because Self doesn’t like Chrome and doesn’t want it taking over Self’s computer and Internet experience. Even then, Chrome decided to pin itself to my IE task bar. Bad, bad, bad….

Once Self downloaded and installed Chrome, Self went back to YouTube to try to upload mp4 videos. Care to guess what happened?

I don’t mind having competition…. Choices are good, but not when one is forced to choose. I guess I could choose not to use YouTube or Google.

My opinion of this tactic:

Poop on it

Poop on it

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Palm Springs Tramway

It was big and round

Out & About San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My home inspection today was over in Palm Springs:

La Mesa to Palm Springs

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I work throughout Southern California’s ten counties, but of all the non-San Diego County locations where I’ve done home inspections, Palm Springs is my favorite. It’s a playground for the rich, the famous, and the home inspector.

After the inspection, Jim and I went to the Palm Springs Tramway. We had not been there since they renovated it several years ago.

Palm Springs Tramway

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Palm Springs Tramway

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Palm Springs Tramway

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Palm Springs Tramway

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At the top are views of forever. On a clear day, you can see 175 miles, but just a couple of miles below is the Coachella Valley in all its glory. Palm Springs:

Palm Springs Tramway

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Palm Springs Tramway has the world’s largest rotating cars, holding up to 80 people (plus the car operator), and takes you on a
10-minute ride over 2½ miles, climbing in elevation from 2,643 feet above sea level to 8,516 feet above sea level. The 5,873 feet gained in elevation in 2½ miles makes it one of the longest and highest elevation gain tramways in the world.

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
Century 21 Award, DRE #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

Chair planter

But where do you sit?

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m supposed to believe that I grew up in a poor family…. lower class…. I don’t really know whether or not that’s true, but it did affect my choice of professions. Originally I wanted to be a teacher, a history teacher, but when I discovered the average annual salaries of teachers in Texas, I was, like, uh, no.

My belief about our financial situation originally came from how my wise old grandmother (MWOG) took care of things around the house…. Granddad worked as a Road Foreman of Engines for Missouri Pacific Railroad, but 300 miles away. He came home on weekends, but that meant that daily maintenance was up to MWOG.

I now believe that we weren’t necessarily poor. It’s just that MWOG knew how to re-purpose things. Old cooking pots didn’t get discarded, they became plant pots…. They both have “pots” in them. The old club-foot bathtub didn’t get hauled away in favor of the new bathtub/shower combo, it became a plant pot, albeit a huge one.

At the San Diego County Fair’s gardening exhibit, I’m pretty sure my wise old grandmother supervised one of the exhibits:

Chair planter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Chair planter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Chair planter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

But where do you sit?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Two gratuitous pictures of you know who

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat was upset when she found out that I had posted pictures of birds yesterday (Fly softly, and carry a big stick). I promised her that if she would behave herself out on the patio, I’d post some gratuitous pictures of her. Here she is enjoying the patio, although in the second picture you can see what she thought when I suggested that we go inside.

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat

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
Century 21 Award, DRE #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