Monthly Archives: January 2014

I learned something today…. How about you?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One of the most unique places in all of San Diego County is the Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach.

Cedros Avenue Design District in Encinitas, California

Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach, California

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Los Angeles Times called the Cedros Avenue Design District “a stroll down a charming European side street.” It’s 2½ blocks comprising around 85 unique shops, boutiques, galleries, home & garden stores, and dining and entertainment. Find original jewelry and fashions, home décor, furniture, art, collectibles, antiques, tapestries, and more. The North County home of the world-famous Belly Up Tavern makes its home on Cedros Avenue, as do many renowned architects, designers, builders, and interior decorators.

One of my favorite stores is the David Alan Collection of unique wood décor at 241 S. Cedros Avenue.

David Alan Collection

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Take a look at these offerings:

Wagon WheelsDavid Alan Collection

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Trees etched into wood planks (my kind of art!)David Alan Collection

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

David Alan Collection

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

David Alan Collection

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Uh, nice kitty?………………..David Alan Collection

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Reclaimed boat wood and boat lettersDavid Alan Collection

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

David Alan Collection

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Who knew that you could actually buy reclaimed boat wood and boat letters? I can think of things to do with the reclaimed boat letters but my creativity is lost on the reclaimed boat wood. Nonetheless, I love the reclaimed part. Remember, don’t throw things away….. there is no away!

Lastly,

if

you

have

young

children

in

the

room

who

are

easily

frightened,

let

them

watch

television

before

looking

at

the

final

picture.

Ready?

Look…………………….

David Alan Collection

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Those are from a set of 95 Wayang Golek puppets, all from a single theatre troop and handcrafted in the 1930s. Wayang is Java for theater. Scholars believe that Wayang Golek puppetry originated in China and arrived in Java in the 17th century. The oldest known traditions of Wayang Golek are from the north coast of Java in the Pasisir region.

The doll puppets are carved from wood and operated by control rods connected to the hands, body, and head. They are manipulated by the dulang, the puppet master, who also spoke their parts and coordinated their movements to music from an orchestra.

Wayang Golek thrives today, and Indonesian children often recognize the characters and know the stories well by the time they reach adulthood.

So……. I learned something today. How about you?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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My kind of pledge of allegiance

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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

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

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

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

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

I pledge allegiance....

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

We’re supposed to walk on those?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many years ago, shortly after I came to San Diego, I signed on as a consultant working in the wireless telecommunications industry. We built cell sites so your cell phone would work, and for that I apologize. Of course, if I didn’t do it, someone else would have….

I had been with the company just a couple of months when everyone from around the nation flew to Boulder, Colorado, for a team weekend. During that weekend, I won a $100 gift certificate for meeting the most people and having them sign my team book as proof. I was also asked by the company to talk on fire….

Wait! What?

Yep, they asked me to walk on fire. I could not convince myself to do it. Purposefully walking on fire is kind of like purposefully inhaling smoke into your lungs. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Out of more than 500 people, though, there were only about 30 of us who declined the experience.

Last year when I was at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden, I was in the eucalyptus forest when I came upon a walkway that begged me NOT to walk on it. Everyone else, of course, was walking on it as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Maybe walking on walkways is natural, but walking on this one just seemed wrong.

Here are some pictures of what I chose NOT to walk on:

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway art at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Would you have walked on that beautiful art?

Be truthful!

Smile if you would lie and say, “Sure! I would walk on those!”

Location of Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

….right there by mama’s side!

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As much as I love going to SeaWorld, the Zoo, Safari Park, botanical gardens, and aquariums, there is a certain sadness connected to those places because many of the plants and animals they have there are endangered in the wild, usually because of human hunting or development.

Thus there’s always a certain king of joy when one sees plants and animals in their natural habitats.

Such was the case recently when I was way out in the boondocks where I saw many barrel cactus growing in the wild, specifically the fishhook barrel cactus (Ferocactus wislizeni). Other common names include Arizona barrel cactus, candy barrel cactus, and Southwestern barrel cactus. It looks like these beauties:

Fishhook barrel cactus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fishhook barrel cactus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That second one looks like it is growing out of solid rock!

Tradition says that the barrel cactus is a source of water for people lost in the desert, and there are records of Native Americans using it for that purpose. However, the water within the plant contains oxalic acid, which can cause diarrhea on an empty stomach. Great! If I’m lost in the desert without water, it’s highly likely that I probably don’t have any food, either!

Barrel cactus (Echinocactus sp. and Ferocactus sp.) are sometimes called “compass cactus” because they are great exhibitors of phototropism–growing towards the light–as shown by this golden barrel cactus:

Golden Barrel Cactus in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Look at the shadow from the rock and you can see that it is, indeed, facing the sun. Here in the United States, most of the sun comes from the south, so the barrel cactus commonly faces south. Ergo, “compass cactus.”

Phototropism is exhibited in houseplants, too, as they usually grow towards the light—smile if that makes you think of Poltergeist, “Come towards the light Carol Anne.” Unfortunately, phototropism can cause house plants to look rather ungainly, which is why my wise old grandmother always rotated her houseplants, to give both sides the opportunity to get some of the light.

As with most cactus, the barrel cactus needles are quite dangerous. In my home state of Texas, we called them “horse cripplers” because a horse accidentally stepping on one, even a rather small one, could cripple it.

Additionally, a barrel cactus puncture wound is considered a dirty wound. If the puncture is deep enough to draw blood, lots of antibiotics may be needed, as well as several months for the wound to heal properly.

Barrel cactus can get quite large and tall. The golden barrel cactus in the picture above is one of the largest I had ever seen. That one, and several others, are located in the Desert Garden in Balboa Park here in San Diego.

However, my trip to the boondocks in East San Diego County provided me the opportunity to see some fishhook barrel cactus that were as tall as me (6’3″), like this one:

Fishhook barrel cactus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My favorite one, though, was this four-feet-tall gal with her three little ones clinging to her side:

Fishhook barrel cactus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Even plant babies know that the best place to get love and food is right there by mama’s side!

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Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition

Music on Mondays–The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some readers might not know that I have a few billion digital music files and that I listen to them in chronological order.

The oldest digital file in my music collection is “Lover” by Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers & Hammerstein fame. You know, musicals like “Oklahoma,” “South Pacific,” “The King & I,” “The Sound of Music”), dating to 1932.

The newest digital file is the EP “American Authors” by American Authors.

I happened to listen to 1986 this weekend and thought I would share a song by Timbuk 3 (instead of Timbuktu; get it?). It’s titled “The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades.”

And I thought they were on drugs…………..

I study nuclear science, I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher who wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades

I gotta job waiting for my graduation
Fifty thou a year will buy a lotta beer
Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades

I’m heavenly blessed and worldy wise
I’m a peeping-tom techy with x-ray eyes
Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades

Yeah, I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades
I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades
Yeah I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades, I gotta wear shades
Gotta wear shades, got to wear shades
I’m heavenly blessed and worldy wise
I’m a peeping tom techy with x-ray eyes…..

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Happy (would have been) birthday #103 to my wise old grandmother

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many decades ago, specifically December 1965 to May 1973, I would often argue with my wise old grandmother about why I had to do specific chores around the house, like

  • washing the dishes,
  • drying the dishes,
  • washing AND drying the dishes,
  • hanging out the clothes (smile if you remember clothes lines in the back yard),
  • taking out the trash,
  • pulling the weeds,
  • mowing the lawn—twice a week during the summer, which is why I’ve never had grass on my properties; QUIT FERTILIZING THE DARN STUFF!
  • edging the sidewalk,
  • pruning the oleanders…..
  • oh, the list is endless.

Always—always I say—after about ten minutes of arguing, she would simply say,

JUST DO IT!

If you think you’ve heard “Just do it!” before, Nike the shoe company claims it as a trademarked slogan. I say they stole it from my wise old grandmother. Greedy, big corporations……………..

Happy (would have been) birthday #103 to my wise old grandmother!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Erotica & Pornography

Feather? Or the whole chicken?

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Erotica & Pornography

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photographic art logoVisit Russel Ray Photos.

►►►►◄◄◄◄

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos