Monthly Archives: June 2013

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks show

2013 Fourth of July events throughout San Diego County

curtains coming soon

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreathChristmas is right around the corner.

Even closer than Christmas, though, is the Fourth of July!

Following is the latest list of Fourth of July events throughout San Diego County.

Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show San Diego – The 13th annual show launches the largest fireworks display in the county for 18 minutes at four locations. Accompanied by patriotic music on 105.7 “The Walrus” FM radio. 9 p.m. at Coronado Landing, Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Shelter Island, and Harbor Island. Free.

Coronado Independence Day Celebration – Coronado – Celebrations include Art in the Park, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Spreckels Park; Independence Day Parade at 10 a.m. along Orange Avenue, and fireworks show at 9 p.m. over Glorietta Bay. Free.USS Midway in San Diego, California

USS Midway Museum Family Fun 4th of July Celebration – Downtown San Diego – Live entertainment, family activities, and a fireworks viewing spot of the Big Bay Boom on the flight deck of the historic USS Midway. Doors open at 6 p.m. USS Midway Museum, 910 N. Harbor Dr. $15 general admission & $10 youth and museum members.

SeaWorld San Diego Fireworks Show  – Shamu presents an extended fireworks show to patriotic music at 9:30 p.m. 500 Sea World Drive Cost is park admission but you can watch this show from various points throughout Mission Bay, including just across the waterway on Fiesta Island, a spot I can highly recommend if you get there early. The far eastern ends of the SeaWorld parking lot are also a great viewing place. If you want to practice taking pictures of fireworks, head out to SeaWorld any night at 9:45 for a 10-minute park-closing fireworks show. Then you’ll be ready for the big events on the Fourth of July.

2012 SeaWorld fireworks showOceanside’s 125th Anniversary Fireworks Show – Fireworks launch just north of the El Corazon Senior Center, 3302 Senior Center Drive, with fireworks viewing at Rancho Del Oro Rd. Parking is limited. 6 to 10 p.m. on July 3 (note the date!). Free.

Red, White and BOOM! – Legoland – An all day event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes a building competition, dance party, lawn games, stroller parade, and fireworks show at 8:30 p.m. ark admission.

San Diego County Fair July 4th Celebration – Fourth of July events start with Opening Ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at O’Brien Gate, Hometown Heroes Parade at 7 p.m., and fireworks show at 9 p.m. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. Cost is Fair admission. This is another show that offers viewing spots from throughout the area if you don’t want to pay the $10 parking fee and the $14 (adult) entrance fee at the Fairgrounds.

Del Mar Independence Day Parade – This is a parade down Coast Boulevard at 9:30 a.m. Families are welcome to decorate their bikes, scooters, wagons , golf carts, and baby strollers, and join the parade! Powerhouse Park, 1658 Coast Blvd., Del Mar. Free.

Fireworks over San Diego CountyLa Jolla Cove 4th of July – La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation (LJCFF) host the annual fireworks show along the coast. Live music and fireworks display at 9 p.m. 5:30 to 10 p.m. at Ellen Browning Scripps Park, 1180 Coast Blvd., La Jolla. Free.

4th of July Fireworks Celebration – Poway – Live music and games begin at 7:00 p.m. Fireworks show at 9 p.m. Poway High School Stadium, 15500 Espola Rd., Poway. $2 general admission & kids under 11 are free.

Spirit of the Fourth – Rancho Bernardo – Community fair at 7 a.m. featuring 35 vendors, live entertainment, patriotic pet contest, veterans memorial service, Rancho Bernardo idol winners, and fireworks show at 9 p.m. Bernardo Heights Middle School and various locations in Rancho Bernardo. See the web site for detailed locations. Admission for evening events and fireworks is $10 per person or $20 per family.

Fourth of July Celebration – Escondido – Live entertainment and kids activities start at 4:00 p.m. with a fireworks show at 9 p.m. Grape Day Park, 321 N Broadway, Escondido. Free.

Ramona Community Fireworks & Family Picnic, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Activities include games, food, live entertainment, and fireworks show at 9 p.m. Olive Peirce Middle School, 1521 Hanson Lane, Ramona. Free.

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks showSantee SalutesLive music, food, inflatable toys, carnival rides, and games. Fireworks show at 9 p.m. Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Dr., Santee. Free admission, parking $5-15, and minimal cost for food and activities.

4th of July Celebration – El Cajon – Kiddie train rides, live entertainment, crafts, and family games. 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. with a fireworks show at 9 p.m. John F. Kennedy Park, 1675 E Madison Avenue, El Cajon. Free.

Fourth of July Carnival – National City – Annual carnival from July 3-7. The weeklong event will feature games, rides, food and drink items for sale, and live entertainment. 5 to 11 p.m. on July 3; Noon to midnight on July 4; 5 to 11 p.m. on July 5; 1 to 11 p.m on July 6 & 7. Kimball Park & Recreation Center,  148 E. 12th Street, National City. Free admission, fees for food and activities.

Note that Imperial Beach has chosen not to be a part of the Big Bay Boom this year, and I can’t find any other Fourth of July activities scheduled for them.

Remember that fireworks are illegal throughout San Diego County. If you are caught using fireworks, the penalty can be as high as a $50,000 fine and a year in the slammer. Don’t do it, even though fireworks are cheap across the border. It’s not worth it. Go to one of the approved events listed above and enjoy time with your family and friends.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks show

Where to enjoy the Fourth of July nationwide

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks showCardHub, which promotes itself as “The Web’s Best Credit Card Resource,” has released a list of the Top 30 recommended destinations to enjoy the Fourth of July. CardHub compiled its list by using eight metrics — hotel prices, traffic congestion, walk score, number of arts establishments, weather forecast (chance of rain and expected temperature), and number of bars (a critical metric!) — among common vacation destinations to come up with its list. Here is the list:

30 – Kansas City MO (Don’t get lost and end up in Kansas City KS because it didn’t make the list!)

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks show29 – Baltimore MD

28/27 (tie) – Orlando FL and Tampa FL

26 – Pittsburgh PA

25 – Sacramento CA

24 – San Antonio TX (My favorite destination in Texas because of the River Walk)

23 – Houston TX

22 – Riverside CA

21 – Cincinnati OH

20 – Cleveland OH

19 – Las Vegas NV

18 – Dallas TX

17 – Denver CO

16 – Phoenix AZ

15 – St. Louis MO

14 – Washington DC

13 – Philadelphia PA

12 – Miami FL

11 – Atlanta GA

10 – Seattle WA

9/8 (tie) – Detroit MI and Portland OR (I think you’ll have more fun in Portland, but if you go to Detroit you can also go across the river to Windsor and have loads of fun!)

7 – San Diego CA (I can highly recommend this one. If you fly in, sit on the left side of the airplane. When you get here, you better call me! I’ll be really upset if I find out you came to San Diego and didn’t call, but at least I’ll know where I stand with you…….lol)

6 – Boston MA

5 – Minneapolis MN

4 – New York NY

3 – San Francisco CA

2 – Chicago IL

Fireworks over San Diego County1 – Los Angeles CA (not sure how L.A. got to #1 if they were using traffic congestion as a metric…. just saying ……. but they do have the greatest number of bars, 25,008 of them! I hope the entrepreneur who is opening his bar tomorrow, July 1, writes CardHub to let them know that he is #25,009.)

Remember that fireworks are dangerous, and in many areas, illegal. Here in California, only State-approved fireworks are allowed and even then there are only 295 communities that allow them. Fireworks of any kind are illegal throughout San Diego County, so if you have this intense desire to see fireworks, head on out to a community-sponsored and officially sanctioned fireworks show.

SeaWorld San Diego crowds for the 2012 fireworks show

SeaWorld San Diego crowds for the 2012 fireworks show

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If your State allows you to buy and use fireworks, please use them responsible. We don’t need any more wildfires like those that often hit California and those currently raging through Colorado.

I will have two more blog posts today, first about where the officially sanctioned fireworks displays will be in San Diego County, and then my personal recommendation on how to capture fireworks on film ooops, I mean with your digital camera.

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks show

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

Turkey at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

They’re going to kill them all

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I always feel so sad after coming home from a livestock show because I know the the only purpose for the livestock most of the time is to kill them so that I can have my barbecued beef, barbecued chicken, barbecued turkey……. Maybe if I quit eating……..

Following are some pictures and three flash videos taken yesterday of the livestock at the 2013 San Diego County Fair.

Turkey at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Chickens at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rabbit at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sheep and lamb at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Goats at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Goat at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Goats at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pig at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Piglets at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cattle at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cattle at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This next cow, a steer named Spot, was the biggest cow I have ever seen in my life. I’m going to put him in the few thousand pounds category. He was huge!

Spot at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Spot is an 11-year-old Shorthorn X. He was a 4-H show steer in 2003 and was purchased at the Junior Livestock Auction and given a pardon by “Grandpa Bob.” Spot now lives the good life grazing in a lovely pasture in the Valley Center boondocks. You can follow Spot’s adventures on Facebook.

Following is a flash video of Spot.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As much as I liked Spot, and all the livestock, it was the Pig family which won my heart yesterday. Two flash videos of the Pig family acting like, well, pigs:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Robert Fremont’s Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me to get out to the San Diego County Fair each year. Over 1.5 million people attended last year, making it the fifth largest fair in the United States, surpassed only by the State Fair of Texas, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Minnesota State Fair, and the Los Angeles County Fair. I mention that because I am a native Texan and have been to the two largest ones many times.

I’m used to going to these things and would think that since the San Diego County Fair runs from the second week of June to July 4 each year, it would be pretty easy to put just one day on my schedule! Surprisingly, it’s not that easy. After missing the Fair last year, I made it today! Yahooooooooo!

At this point in my life, I’m not into the games and rides much. I usually spend my time photographing the flowers, the unique gardens, and the animals.

Magnolia at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Garden at the San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pigs at the San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One difference this year is that Jim went with me. I usually have to go by myself because (1) he doesn’t like the sun and heat that is prevalent in June, (2) he doesn’t like the crowds, and (3) he doesn’t like the smell of nature in the pig, chicken, turkey, goat, and cattle pavilions.

He does, however, like the flowers and the gardens. Since I was taking photographs of everything that existed (341 photos and flash videos in three hours), Jim was wandering ahead of me. That’s when he found my favorite vendor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair:

Robert Fremont’s Unique Island Style Decor

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some of my personal favorites:

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

What attracted Jim to Robert Fremont’s Unique Island Style Decor were some light fixtures. You can see them smack dab in the center of the first picture, the colored spots. He had two different styles, one for $39 and one for $79. I guess you know which style Jim liked.

Yes, we bought one:

Light from Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Light from Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I figured that since Jim is closing an escrow in a few days, and I have had a magnificent June in my home inspection business, I’d let him buy the light for his early birthday present (birthday is July 18).

If you need some unique island style decor for your pool, spa, tiki room, garden, or man cave, stop by Robert Fremont’s Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair. It’s in the pavilion with all the spas, the rose competition, the dahlia competition, and the floral design competition. You can’t miss it!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition

How to relax when it’s 97°F

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The thermometer says that it got up to 97°F today, which made me wish I was back at the beach where I took the following two pictures last weekend at the Surf Dog Competition in Imperial Beach.

Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

Adobe Photoshop CC: Smart objects and perspective cropping

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Along with crappy skies (see Major disadvantage of living in San Diego: Sunshine), another pet peeve of mine is sloping buildings. If the sloping is so obvious that you know the picture was taken with a fisheye lens or the building is hundreds of feet tall, then the sloping is okay. It’s sloping as in Picture 1 that bugs me:

Picture 1Sloping building

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sloping is called “perspective” since your perspective of the building is that it’s sloping. Obviously, it’s not but it sure looks like it.

There are three slopes going on in Picture 1 which I show you in Picture 2 using red lines.

Picture 2Picture slopes

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Those slopes are really annoying to me so I try to correct the perspective to give me nice squares and straight lines. I would prefer to do it quickly, too, and therein lies the problem. I never could find a quick way that would do a great job, until late yesterday.

Previously I would use the Perspective crop tool shown in Picture 3.

Picture 3Perspective crop tool

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If one tries to do too much at one time with the Perspective Crop Tool, it can get really nasty. For example, I tried to correct all three perspective problems at one time in the above picture and got Picture 4:

Picture 4Perspective cropped

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 4 is not bad but something about the perspective still bugs me. I see myself flying around like Peter Pan looking down on those people. Maybe the top of the picture is coming towards me. I don’t know, but it bugs me.

I have discovered that the best way to use the Perspective Crop Tool is:

(1) Reduce the picture to the size you’re going to use. The Perspective Crop Tool seems to work better on smaller pictures.

(2) Instead of doing one perspective crop, do three perspective crops, one on the horizontal line, one on the left line, and one on the right line.

When I sized the picture to 600 pixels tall and did three perspective crops, I got Picture 5.

Picture 5Perspective cropped

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t know if you can tell the difference on a blog picture, but in Picture 5 the perspective seems to be that I’m looking straight at the “Baja Betty’s” on the building instead of down on the people as in Picture 4.

Yesterday, though, I found a great way to let Photoshop do everything, do it well, and do it very quickly. It involves working with Smart Objects.

I had always wondered why so many menu items were grayed out and inaccessible. It’s because they only work on Smart Objects. So the first thing to do when you get your JPG into Photoshop is to convert it to a Smart Object. With your Layers panel open, right click on your background layer and then click on Convert to Smart Object, as shown in Picture 6.

Picture 6Smart Object

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

With your file converted to a Smart Object, many more menu commands are now available. Two such commands are the Free Transform and the Transform commands. When you click on Free Transform, you get a bounding box around your picture with a big X through your picture, shown in Picture 7.

Picture 7Free Transform bounding box

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Click on any handle (the little white squares on the bounding box) and drag, and you can transform the picture any way you please.

You can also modify how the bounding box is transformed by holding modifier keys down as you click and drag the handles. Modifier keys include Shift, Ctrl, Alt and combinations of those three keys, such as Ctrl Shift Alt simultaneously. Try it and have some fun distorting your images.

If you click on EditTransform, you’ll have many more menu options, one of which is Perspective.

Picture 8 is what I see after clicking on Edit ► Transform ► Perspective and then holding Ctrl Shift Alt down simultaneously while clicking and dragging the bounding box handles:

Picture 8Boudning box

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

After accepting the changes, I’m left with Picture 9, which I’m happy with.

Picture 9Final perspective crop

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The main difference between the Perspective crop on a standard picture and a Perspective crop on a Smart Object is that the Smart Object takes far less time and, I think, Photoshop does a much better job of filling in cropped areas with its Content Aware function.

This tutorial was created using Photoshop CC but I discovered that this also works in Photoshop CS6.

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

Rainbow flag

Eat, drink, and be Betty

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Jim and I got married on October 30, 2008, just a few days before a majority of California voters — notice I didn’t say a majority of Californians — voted to take deny the right to marry to its gay citizens. Fortunately, in May 2009 the California Supreme Court ruled that those people who got married between June 16 and November 4, 2008, when so-called gay marriage was legal in California, would remain married under the laws of the State. So on October 30, 2018, Jim and I will be celebrating five years of legal marriage. We’ve also been Domestic Partnered since July 31, 2004, and we’ve had a common law marriage since November 1, 1995.

We got married at the San Diego County Administration building:

San Diego County Administration Building

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Afterwards we went out to eat at Baja Betty’s to celebrate:

Baja Betty's in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

With today’s historic decisions by the United State Supreme Court in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional and telling hateful people in California that they had no legal standing to be hateful, thereby overturning Proposition 8 and paving the way for marriage equality in California (again), Jim and I felt a need to celebrate. We went to Baja Betty’s, established in 2004, where the large and predominantly gay crowd was excited and having fun.

Baja Betty's in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Baja Betty's in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Across the street, under the gigantic rainbow flag, a large crowd of a few thousand people were having a marriage equality rally.

Marriage equality rally in Hillcrest, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I thought it was interesting that Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Antonin Scalia, and Elena Kagan joined Chief Justice John Roberts to form the majority. I would have thought Scalia, Alito, Roberts, and Thomas would have been against gay marriage and Gisburg, Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor, and possibly Kennedy would have been for it.

However, the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of Proposition 8. Rather, in order to rule on the merits, first they had to get by procedural issues, having to decide whether or not the case should even have been in a federal court since it concerned a state constitutional issue that had already been decided by the California courts, including the California Supreme Court. If they could not first get by those procedural issues, they could not rule on the merits of the case itself.

Rainbow flagProposition 8, passed in November 2008, had been overturned by United States District Court Judge Vaughn Walker on August 4, 2010, in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Judge Walker ruled that Proposition 8 violated both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed Judge Walker’s decision on February 7, 2012.

Today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals should have denied even considering the appeal because the only two people who could represent the State in federal court would be the California Attorney General or the California Governor. Both refused to do so. The U.S. Supreme Court today determined that the appeals process should have ended there since no one of legal standing wanted to appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

So what effectively happened is that the right-wingers on the U.S. Supreme Court, including the ever so vocally hateful Scalia, chose to lose California by allowing marriage equality to proceed there but let the fight over marriage equality go on a while longer in the states that don’t have it.

My prediction is that within the next decade, you will see a military couple who got married in, say, California get transfered to a state like Texas. Although the federal government would still recognize their marriage due to the Supreme Court’s overturning DOMA, Texas would not. A lawsuit will eventually result in the U.S. Supreme Court requiring all states to recognize the Full Faith and Credit clause of Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution which states that the States must respect the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State. At that point, marriage equality will become legal in all 50 states. It will be similar to what happened in 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas when the U. S. Supreme Court voided all state sodomy laws.

All in all, though, it’s a happy and historic day for gay citizens of the United States throughout the country but even more so in California. There is still lots of work to do to get marriage equality in every state, so carry on soldiers, carry on. And if you have a need to eat, drink, and be Betty, head on over to Baja Betty’s!

Baja Betty's in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Baja Betty's in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

California Plaza in Los Angeles

California Plaza in Los Angeles

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was a senior at Henrietta M. King High School in Kingsville, Texas, in 1972-73, I decided that I wanted to be a chemist. Thus I signed up for Mr. Banta’s Advanced Chemistry class. That pretty much sealed the deal. I had so much fun!

Mr. Banta was a Christian Scientist, and ever since his class I have noticed Christian Scienc Reading Rooms wherever I go:

Christian Science Reading Room at California Plaza in Los Angeles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unfortunately, in 41 years of being aware of Christian Science Reading Rooms, I have never found one open. Doesn’t matter what time of day. Never open.

We have one in downtown La Mesa, just a couple of miles from me. Never open. Doesn’t matter what time of day. Never open.

The one pictured above is in Los Angeles, not too far from the Angel’s Flight Railway (The shortest railway in the world). In fact, the Angel’s Flight Railway takes you up to California Plaza which is where that Christian Science Reading Room is located. Too bad it wasn’t open because California Plaza would be a great place to sit down and do a little reading by its 1½ acre water court.

California Plaza in Los Angeles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Plaza in Los Angeles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Plaza in Los Angeles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Plaza also is home to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Colburn School of Performing Arts, and the Los Angeles Omni Hotel.

Jim and I spent quite a bit of time walking around and enjoying the views of Los Angeles from up on Bunker Hill.

California Plaza in Los Angeles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Plaza in Los Angeles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Plaza in Los Angeles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Plaza was an urban renewal project in the Bunker Hill District of downtown Los Angeles. It took ten years to build — 1983 to 1993 — at a cost of $1.2 billion.

Originally slated to have three skyscrapers, only two were built. The first, One California Plaza, was completed in 1985. At 578 feet, it is the fourteenth tallest building in Los Angeles. Two California Plaza, at 750 feet tall and the third tallest building in Los Angeles, was started in 1983 also but was not completed until 1992 due to an economic downturn. When Two California Plaza opened in 1992, its 1,329,000 square feet of space was only thirty percent leased; in 2012 it went into receivership.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

IB Groomin'

Bye, Bye Petco!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

OneI got published!

Remember my blog post about the joker who drove his car onto the railroad tracks?

My blog post is here, and my story was published online by the San Diego Reader here.

2A follow-up on my blog post about mean, mean Petco not allowing local businesses to participate at the Loews Coronado Surf Dog Competition this past Sunday.

Here’s most post about Petco and the competition.

Now comes word that another local business which was declined an opportunity to participate had a run-in at the actual competition on Sunday. Seems IB Groomin’ from Imperial Beach had a person at the beach before the competition started. Said person was in the IB Groomin’ Surf Dog costume which we’ve seen at past competitions:

IB Groomin'

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IB Groomin’ had been a sponsor and vendor at the competition since 2009, just as IB Pet had been. Elizabeth Pearson, the owner of IB Groomin’, said she was not protesting at the event but simply passing out flyers for Saturday grooming specials. In the past, dog owners and their salty, sandy dogs often stopped by for a dog wash and cut. “Loews used to ask if I was bringing the dog suit,” Pearson said. “Lots of people in the community like my dog suit. They like to see it there. Kids come up and say hi.”

After a few minutes, a member of the Loews staff asked her to leave. Shortly afterwards, deputies also asked her to leave. “It was pretty overboard,” Pearson said. “I understand that it’s about money. Petco sponsored them. OK. But I don’t even understand why we couldn’t show up on the beach and support competitors at the event. Our customers were participating in the competition.”

Loews Hotels declined to comment, both to the Patch where the story first broke, and to me when I called earlier today.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Imperial Beach substation could not be reached for comment by Patch. When I called they said they didn’t have time to comment on a past event. Huh?

Until further notice, Petco has lost me as a customer. Of course, they’ll never miss me.

I have never stayed at a Loews. Now I think I know why.

ThreeOccasionally, the utility companies, especially the electric company, likes to prune trees that are getting too close to power lines. How close some of these brittle eucalyptus trees are to power lines can be critical during fire season when the Santa Ana winds come blowing through at 70 mph. In some cases, if the tree is relatively small, they will remove the tree. In other cases, as with tall eucalyptus trees, they will simply wait until near summer, after all the sap is out of the root and back in the trees, and then chop all the branches off, thereby depriving the tree of vital sap and leaves needed to convert sunlight into useful energy. Sometimes people will see what the utility company does to its trees. Thinking that it must be good for the trees, they will do the same thing to their trees, as this person did:

Badly pruned tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On my way back by that house, the owner was out in the yard so I stopped to talk to him about the trees. He had no idea that there is a good possibility that those trees will die now. He asked me why utility companies trim their trees like that and I explained what was going on. When I left him he was quite sad about his trees. He thought the massive pruning would help them grow more beautiful. I’ll keep an eye on them but I do believe they are beyond help now.

FourRecently I had the opportunity to hear a great pianist (Jim) on a unique grand piano.

As I was preparing the piano for the concert, I noticed that the two lowest white bass keys were painted black.

Considering that this was a concert grand piano made by one of the best manufacturers, I couldn’t believe that someone would paint two of the keys.

I pointed them out to Jim:

Piano keys

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

He told me why they are painted black.

It’s intentional.

Anyone know why?

I’ll give you a hint: The piano is a Bosendorfer concert grand piano.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

….let it mellow

House & Home

Many years ago, at one of my first home inspections, a client asked if the toilets flushed solid waste. I had to tell him that I didn’t know since (1) I didn’t actually go #2 in all the toilets during the inspection, and
(2) I don’t carry a lot of rotten bananas around with me to simulate flushing solid waste.

At that time, low-flow toilets were notorious for not flushing solid waste with just 1.6 gallons per flush. By the time one flushed the toilets two or three times, the whole saving-water purpose of the low-flow toilet was lost.

After all these years, companies are listening to complaints about low-flow toilets not flushing solid waste.

At yesterday’s inspection, which I did for our good blogging friend Bashar, who apparently has made a commitment to stay and live in San Diego (yeah!), the master bedroom toilet had a two-part flush valve:

Two-part flush valve on low-flow toilet

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The left part of the valve provides .9 gallons per flush for #1 and the right part provides 1.6 gallons per flush for #2. The flushing action for #2 was really powerful and I have no doubt that it will do its job.

Quite interesting, and the first time I’ve seen this.

All of this reminds me of my arrival in San Diego on April 27, 1993. I spent my days at the beach and my nights at the Chula Vista KOA Kampground. While watching the weather the night of April 30, the weatherman announced that San Diego had gone four consecutive months without any rainfall whatsoever. That’s when I decided that San Diego might be the place for me.

Mr. Weatherman also told us that we should continue to conserve water and recited poetry to help us remember to conserve:

If it’s yellow, let it mellow.
If it’s brown, flush it down.

Since I love poetry, I’ve never forgotten that……..lol

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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