Monthly Archives: March 2014

Music on Mondays–I never promised you a rose garden

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many decades ago, around 1968, my wise old grandmother had me dig out a huge plot of grass and create a rose garden. I was forever down on roses. Still am. If it had been my idea….

As I was looking for a good subject for today’s Music on Mondays post, I realized that I never got around to doing a Friday Flower Fiesta post last week.

So why don’t we combine this week’s Music on Mondays and with last week’s forgotten Friday Flower Fiesta and let you listen to Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden” while looking at some pictures of the beautiful roses that were blooming this past month, all made into Photographic Art.

Happy End-of-March day!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art of a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art of a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art of a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art of a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art of a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art of a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art of a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art of a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art of a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art of a rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you see an effect you like, I do custom work using YOUR photos and the cost is only $20.00. Email me at photoartsd@aol.com if you’d like some custom Photographic Art!

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.

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How sweet it is!

I livew in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I can’t tell y’all (that’s Texan for “you all” or “you”) how good it is to be able to go blog camping again.

Three months without a campout was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long!

The extreme speed of Internet Explorer 11, coupled with my reading speed (courtesy of Evelyn Woods back in 1973) and Dragon Naturally Speaking means that I might soon be back visiting 120 blogs each day and leaving LIKEs and comments all over the place.

Goodbye 2014 first quarter, hello 2014 second quarter!

Pelargonium (geranium) from my back yard garden yesterday:

IMG_3364 collage (Custom)

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.

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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 by Russel Ray

WordPress problems resolved!

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 is fast, fast, fast, fast, fast.

As many of you know, I have been having WordPress problems since January 2, 2014. Many things:

  1. LIKE buttons were not loading on any blog whose URL ended with wordpress.com. Other blogs were fine. Just those ending with wordpress.com were problematic.
  2. Most of the time, not always though, I could not comment on blogs either. This problem affected all blogs, not just those whose URL ended with wordpress.com.
  3. My blog would not load correctly the first time. I would have to refresh or reload it in order to get it to work.
  4. My site stats would not load at all. Never.
  5. The gold star notification at the upper right would not work unless I clicked on the star twice.

SkyTower at SeaWorld San DiegoToday I had some extra time while preparing to go Dine With Shamu at SeaWorld. I could not access the WordPress Help Forums from anywhere on my blog like I could prior to January 2, 2014, so I went to Google, typed in wordpress help forums, and got to them that way.

I spent several hours reading through several hundred threads in the Help Forums before I finally found a clue about what might be happening. The clue was in a very long thread and was about the hundredth comment from someone outside of WordPress, someone like me who was having problems.

The clue was that the commenter was of the firm belief that WordPress was not compatible with Internet Explorer 10. I knew that I had upgraded from IE9 to IE10 but I didn’t know when. I pulled up my computer records and what do you know? I upgraded from IE9 to IE10 the night of January 1, 2014. Ah-ha!

I tried to downgrade from IE10 to IE9 but that apparently isn’t possible. All of the computers that I use daily are running IE10. I pulled out an old laptop computer that I don’t use anymore but which I knew had IE9 on it. Sure enough, I had no WordPress problems on the old computer using IE9.

I saw that IE11 was available, so since I couldn’t downgrade to IE9, I considered upgrading to IE11. I created a restore point on my Windows 7 computer so that if IE11 really caused problems, I could easily go back to IE10. Well, not only did IE11 load easily and quickly, but I have no more WordPress problems. LIKE buttons are loading, my stats page is showing up again, etc.

So there you have it! The problem wasn’t with my computer per sé but with a computer program that I needed in order to even get to my WordPress blog. The interesting thing is that apparently when Internet Explorer is your main browser, Firefox, Chrome, etc., don’t override everything in Internet Explorer. That explains why I was having the same problems in Firefox and Chrome.

I’m so happy! I can go blog camping again now, something that I really missed doing these past three months.

Lastly, not only is my Internet browsing so much faster than it was with IE10, but my whole computer seems to be much faster. Can’t explain it, but it is what it is.

And following a close-up of Shamu from this evening’s Dine With Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego. Jim and I were sitting about three feet from four Shamus, separated only by a piece of glass four feet tall.

Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego on March 29, 2014

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.

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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 by Russel Ray

A lesson in customer service

SeaWorld

Back at the beginning of March, SeaWorld sent me a gift, which was a free $39 Dine With Shamu meal. It could be redeemed only online. Unfortunately, online redemption has been giving me an error for the past two weeks when I have tried to redeem my gift.

Since the gift expires at the end of my birthday month, which is in just a few days, I printed out the error message and my birthday gift email and went to Guest Relations at SeaWorld.

First person couldn’t resolve the issue and called his supervisor over.

Supervisor couldn’t resolve the issue and called his supervisor over.

Supervisor II couldn’t resolve the issue but commented, “I think I now know why Dine With Shamu hasn’t been selling out.”

Supervisor II didn’t resolve the issue while I was there, but what he did do was practice customer service of the highest order. He simply made reservations for Saturday (that’s today!) at 6:00 p.m. for Jim and me, and then comped both tickets! So Jim and I are Dining With Shamu. Free! An $78 value!

Jim and I dined with Shamu two years ago, and it was awesome, not to mention that the food was far superior to what I was expecting for a theme park event. Following is a picture of Shamu from when we dined with him in May 2012, up close and personal:

Dining with Shamu at SeaWorld

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

P.S. I’m not impressed with the new picture editing functions that WordPress instituted a couple of days ago, and I’m still having problems when I visit the blogs of other people, those problems being most noticeable when I try to comment or LIKE blogs whose URL ends with wordpress.com. About half the time I cannot comment, and LIKE buttons never load, so I can never LIKE!

The WordPress crowd in their Forums ignore me. Thus, I’m pretty sure that when my WordPress.com upgrade expires, I won’t be renewing. I’ll be taking my money to my own server.

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
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
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Pictures of the rare Pinus verizonii tree

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My home inspection yesterday was in a condominium complex of duplexes. I got there early and was wandering around looking at the property when I found a rather tall tree. I climbed up the hill to get a better look at it and found that it was the extremely rare Pinus verizonii. In the first picture below, it’s the tree in the middle.

Pinus verizonii

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pinus verizonii

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pinus verizonii

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Verizon Wireless

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

After I came to San Diego in April 1993, I sat out of the work force for 11 months and simply enjoyed the beaches. When I went back to work in March 1994, my intent was to work as a temporary on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, leaving me with a four-day weekend. Alas, plans went awry somewhere, and I wound up working as a consultant to Nextel Communications in Detroit. In late 1994, we installed the very first pine tree cell tower in the United States right there in the Detroit area, so you can blame all of these fake trees on moi!

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

Eye to eye & nose to nose

SeaWorld

This past Sunday I renewed my annual pass to SeaWorld, this time for two years (they have a cool EZ Pay monthly payment plan!) at the Super Duper Platinum level, and took off to spend four hours at SeaWorld.

SeaWorld San DiegoThe construction they did in preparation for their 50th anniversary here created a really amazing time, especially at the new entrance where there are seven or eight (I lost count) touch pools. I touched the horseshoe crabs and the mantas.

What I like most about SeaWorld is the excitement of the children. I have no doubt that they will grow up with a greater appreciation of wildlife than if they had just seen pictures in a school textbook.

The 50th Anniversary version of SeaWorld also has three flamingo exhibits. One of them is the bestest flamingo exhibit ever because the flamingos walk right up to you, separated only by a fence. You can be eye to eye and nose to nose with them. In fact, I was thinking that the public can get too close to them. If one of those big flamingos decides to go bad, to go rogue, and peck someone in the face, SeaWorld’s going to have problems. Nonetheless, here are a couple of pictures and a video of the new bestest flamingo exhibit ever:

IMG_3108 framed

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flamingo at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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.

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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 by Russel Ray

Free Photographic Art for the first 20 respondents, dogs and cats only

Photographic Art by Russel Ray photos--taking photographs, making art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Our pets are very personal creatures in our lives, so for the first 20 respondents, I am offering to create Photographic Art, for free, of your pet, but it must be a cat or a dog. This is a $20 value, which is price at which I sell digital files.

First, leave a comment expressing your intent to be one of the first 20. In years gone by when I have done these types of events, I have been accused by the 21st respondent of not counting correctly, not liking him, etc. So you must leave a comment so that everyone who knows how to count can count!

Then, email me (photoartsd@aol.com) a high quality picture of your pet and I’ll create one reflection. Your choice of single or triptych reflection. See the three examples below (triptych on the bottom).

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’ll email the high resolution picture back to you. They can be huge, so if your email server rejects the attachment as too big, I’ll upload the picture to my web site and provide you a link so you can download it at your convenience.

I will upload my creation to a special Photographic Art gallery at Fine Art America so you could have the art printed, framed, matted, etc., at huge sizes, or small sizes, at a reasonable cost.

The triptych above at full size is a whopping 23.7 MB at 8231 x 7622 pixels, which means you could have Fine Art America print a version on canvas, acrylic, or metal that would be about 82 inches by 76 inches! Or greeting cards! Wouldn’t your pet love that?

This offer is for dog and cat pets only. I’ll have other offers in the future, so stay tuned.

Thanks to Zoey the Cool Cat for her modeling expertise here.

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.

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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 by Russel Ray

Daddy, mommy, & baby

SeaWorld

If someone will adopt me, feed me, care for me, and keep me free from killer humans in the wild, I promise I will entertain you each and every day!

Here is a video of three Orca whales—daddy, mommy, and baby—enjoying a nice swim on Sunday, March 23, 2014:

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.

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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!

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Music on Mondays (3-24-14)–I’m in the Army now….

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On this date in 1958, Elvis Presley was drafted into the United States Army as a private at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas. He went through basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, near Waco. On October 1, 1958, after training, he joined the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany. He donated his Army pay to charity, purchased television sets for the base, and bought an extra set of fatigues for everyone in his outfit.

Presley had been convinced by his manager that he should serve his country as a regular soldier rather than in Special Services, where he would have been able to give musical performances. RCA and Hill & Range had prepared for Presley’s two-year Army stint and kept up a steady stream of successful releases which resulted in ten Top 40 hits, Presley standards such as “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck”, “Hard Headed Woman”, “One Night” “(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I,” and “A Big Hunk o’ Love” which hit #1 in 1959.

Although I now have a complete discography of Elvis Presley in my music collection, I actually did not become familiar with him until August 1969; I was too into The Beatles in my formative years. August 1969 was when “Suspicious Minds” was released, and I quickly spent my weekly allowance to buy the 45 single at the Kingsville Drug Store

(smile if you ever bought a 45 single at a drug store;
laugh if you had a weekly allowance;
cry if your weekly allowance was less than 50¢ a week).

“Suspicious Minds” rocketed up the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #1. It spent one week at the top position, and was Presley’s seventeenth, and last, #1 record. In December 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Suspicious Minds” #91 in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

I’m off to see the Orcas, the wonderful Orcas of….

SeaWorld

Dining with Shamu at SeaWorldI have no problem saying that I’m a big fan of SeaWorld, Zoos, and Aquariums. Those who thought that Blackfish was a balanced documentary are the same people who DID NOT think that Bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 9/11 were balanced documentaries. And it’s true. There is no such thing as a balanced documentary because they are told from the point of view of the director, producer, and/or writer. Documentaries have a story to tell, even if it is only part of the full story.

Porcupine at Seaworld San DiegoI have watched a lot of documentaries in my life, and I have done a lot of research to get the rest of the story (smile if you remember the famous person responsible for always giving us the rest of the story).

Documentaries are one of my favorite genres because I love history and reality, except that type of reality that television gives us with The Bachelor, American Idol, and other crap (can I say crap on a family WordPress blog?).

Recently a friend with opposing views said, “Look what happened to Keiko!” Keiko was an Orca whale which starred in the movie, “Free Willy!” Knowing that said friend had no idea what happened to Keiko, I decided to help him improve his knowledge base. Here’s what happened to Keiko:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/19/freeing-willy-documentary_n_3957369.html

SeaWorld San DiegoFor those who don’t want to spare time watching an 11:43 documentary video about a whale, here’s the Cliff Notes version (smile if you remember Cliff Notes):

After $20 million and many years of teaching Keiko to hold his breath for long periods, catch his own food, and swim in harsh waters, Keiko wound up seeking out people wherever it went in the vast and free ocean. Keiko loved people.

SeaWorld San DiegoThe many whales at SeaWorld also love people. All you have to do is go watch a show at SeaWorld to see the love that is shared between the SeaWorld staff and trainers and the whales.

What people fail to realize is that Orcas are pretty big. If one is not careful, an Orca can kill you, even unintentionally in an accident. That is true with all life, though. Dogs kill people quite often. Cats can kill people with their bites and scratches. Heck, even people can kill people! So to use four accidental deaths in SeaWorld’s 50-year history and millions of shows is disingenuous at best, stupid at worst. Dogs kills more people each year than SeaWorld’s Orca whales, so carrying SeaWorld opponents’ thoughts to their logical conclusion, we should not have dogs captive in our homes or yards. They should all be released back into the wild from which they came. Cats, too. Not to mention all the marine life in aquariums, wildlife in zoos.

Starfish at SeaWorld San DiegoThe two most important reasons why I support SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and the Scripps Aquarium :

  1. A great deal of the money they make each year goes to rescue marine life along the Southern California coast (beached whales, yes; dolphins, porpoises, sea otters, turtles) and injured wildlife in the interior, such as eagles, osprey, owls, big cats.
  2. Without the aquariums and zoos, I would never have had the opportunity to see elephants, giraffes, octopuses, bears, whales, tigers, jaguars, flamingos, spoonbills, eagles, leopards, penguins, and most of the other species at zoos and aquariums.

Since I go to the Zoo and SeaWorld quite often, I can also tell you that many people have told me that they have a greater appreciation for wildlife after they visit the Zoo and SeaWorld, and that’s important for the survival of species in the wild.

Here are some more pictures of SeaWorld:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flamingo lagoon at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Monitor at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beluga whale at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sea turtle at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orca whales at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sea lion at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walrus at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Polar bear at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sea turtle at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Penguin at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Starfish at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now I’m off to see the Orcas, the wonderful Orcas of SeaWorld! Happy Sunday to everyone!

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