Monthly Archives: June 2014

Music on Mondays—Safe at night in my secret rose garden having a garden party

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Mary Lennox is a troubled 10-year-old girl who was born in India to selfish, wealthy British parents who had never wanted her and were too wrapped up in their own lives to love or care about her.

That is the first sentence of the plot summary in the Wikipedia entry for “The Secret Garden,” a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett that was published in 1911.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Barnett

I first read it in 1962 when I was in second grade at Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah.

Lake View Elementary School in Brigham City, Utah

Ever since I read that book, I have always dreamed of having a secret garden. I never have, but I have had hundreds of gardens, specializing in cactus and succulents, although my back patio right now is full of geraniums, pelargoniums, and begonias, and sometimes a cool cat.

Zoey the Cool Cat

My trip to Bird Song a few weeks ago (Leave room in your garden for the fairies to dance)  reminded me yet again how much I love gardens, how much they take the stress away of everyday life, how much they mean to me. Sitting in my gardens with a cool cat while reading and listening to music is a natural high for me.

I thought we would explore gardens in music for today’s Music on Mondays. Following are five of my favorite songs about gardens and plants.

“Safe In My Garden” by The Mamas & The Papas, 1968

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Rose Garden” by Lynn Anderson, 1970

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Garden Party” by Ricky Nelson, 1972

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Gardening At Night” by R.E.M., 1982

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Secret Garden” by Bruce Springsteen, 1995

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Blog Love (6-22-14)

I livew in my own little world

Really tall treeIf you missed my initial post about Blog Love, you can read it here. If you get mentioned in my Blog Love series, it’s a sure bet that I’m following YOU!

During these past two weeks, I had to slow down my blog camping since so many people don’t publish daily posts like I do. It’s difficult to camp out in someone’s blog when they have published only a couple of blog posts since last time I camped out. In some cases, people hadn’t published anything!

I left 2,200 LIKEs and 415 comments since June 4. The blogs where I left a total of at least ten LIKEs/comments are listed below.

Those bloggers who post pictures with very little text to read get the most LIKEs and comments, so it’s not unusual to find pet blogs and photography blogs high on the Blog Love list each week.

Click on the link to go visit them, and be sure to tell them that Russel Ray sent you their way!

  1. Help Us Help Our 4-Legged Frynds – 64
  2. kanzen sakura – 60
  3. Violet’s veg*n e-comics – 59
  4. Sand Spring Chesapeakes – 45
  5. Vit Peyr – 39
  6. FlowerEnchanted Seashells – 34
  7. Adventures and musings of an arch druidess – 31
    Realistic Cooking Ideas for Busy People – 31
  8. retireediary – 29
    Chronic Conditions and Life Lessons – 29
  9. Free View – 24
  10. rubicorno – 23
  11. Zoey the Cool Cat bookShaking the tree – 21
  12. RABIRIUS – 19
    Penlateral – 19
  13. Loving food, fashion, and life – 17
  14. wordsfromanneli – 16
  15. West Virginia Mountain Mama – 15
  16. Not just sassy on the inside – 13
  17. Friendly Fairy Tales – 12
  18. Pride in Photos Photography – 10

 

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
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Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

Halls of History—Billions and billions served

Halls of History

When I started college at Texas A&M University in September 1973, I lived in Moore Hall, a dormitory just feet from a McDonald’s restaurant at Northgate. It became my go-to dining experience if I missed eating in Sbisa Hall, and for late evening, midnight, and after-midnight snacks.

Texas A&M UniversityWhen I moved off campus for my sophomore year, it was more of an effort to get to McDonald’s at Northgate, several miles away. Fortunately, there was another McDonald’s a half mile from me on Harvey Road. Since it was on the way to campus, it became my daily dining experience for the final three years of my undergraduate experience.

I lived in Houston from May 1977 to April 1983 and never did find a McDonald’s to call my own.

When I moved back to College Station in April 1983, McDonald’s on Harvey Road again became my go-to eatery…. for ten years!

When I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993, I immediately looked for a McDonald’s. Amazingly, there was one in Hillcrest right behind the Center for Social Services, which is where I “came out,” and where my life was centered for the next eleven months.

Recently, I discovered that the McDonald’s at 1414 University Avenue in Hillcrest was built in 1977 but is an original McDonald’s location from the 1960s. Here it is:

McDonald's in Hillcrest, San Diego, California

My discovery came about because two of the three original locations remaining in San Diego County were in the news.

One is at 1146 East Valley Parkway in Escondido, about 30 miles northeast of Hillcrest, and the building was recent demolished and rebuilt, now looking like this:

McDonald's in Escondido, California

That restaurant was not yet open when I went by on June 6. It should be open now.

The third oldest location, at 137 Canyon Drive in Oceanside, about 30 miles due north of Hillcrest,  is the one that was making the biggest headlines here. It looked like this on June 6:

McDonald's in Oceanside, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Along with it being an original location dating from the 1960s, it also has one of the few remaining signs stating how many billions of burgers had been sold:

Mcdonald's in Oceanside, California

If you look at your local McDonald’s, it probably says something like “BILLIONS AND BILLIONS SOLD.” The sign at the Hillcrest location says “BILLIONS SOLD.”

McDonald’s pre-corporation history started when Richard and “Mac” McDonald opened a barbecue restaurant at 1398 North E Street in San Bernardino, California, on May 15, 1940. The San Bernardino location is now an unofficial McDonald’s museum owned by the Juan Pollo restaurant chain (not related to El Pollo Loco).

McDonald’s as a corporation was founded on April 15, 1955, when Ray Kroc opened the ninth McDonald’s restaurant after, according to one source, having purchased McDonald’s equity and assets from Richard and Maurice. The real story of Kroc’s purchase might never be known because there is a lot of disagreement about how it came about.

Ray Kroc’s aggressive business practices were the subject of the song “Boom, Like That,” released in 2004 by Mark Knopfler, formerly the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for Dire Straits.

Ray Kroc, who had joined McDonald’s as a franchise agent in 1955, lived much of his life, and died, right here in San Diego. He owned the San Diego Padres professional baseball team from 1974 until his death in 1984.

Just a mile down the road from me is The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, which has one of San Diego County’s year-round ice skating rinks. Regretfully, the Salvation Army is quite homophobic so I have not been by to visit the facility and, thus, have no pictures of it. And you won’t find a link from my blog to their web site; you’ll have to find it on your own if you’re interested.

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 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
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

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

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Play like there’s no tomorrow!

Out & About

 One of my favorite places to go walking is at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach.

Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

See location on Google maps

Following is Photographic Art of some of my favorite doggie pictures from a recent Dog Beach walk:

I’m back!I'm back!

So that’s the ocean….So that's the ocean....

I got it!I got it!

Sometimes you get wet….Sometimes you get wet

At the beach
At the beach

Tiptoe
Tiptoe

Happy dog
Happy dog

Play like there’s no tomorrow!
Play like there's no tomorrow!

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 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

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

SNIPPETS (6-18-14)

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

My friends who have known me throughout my business career sometimes call me the “Five-Year Man” because it’s rare for me to do anything for more than five years even though the five-year spans sometimes overlap.

13 reasons why you're not successfulOne of the business careers that I had for five years was as a marketing consultant, and I still really like marketing, helping people and companies find an audience for their products and services.

A few days ago I found a cool graphic that very directly explains why people are not as successful as they could be. The graphic had been around the world before I found it, but I tracked it down to Jim Kukral, a marketing expert whom I really identify with. Check him out at JimKukral.com, and see his graphic, “13 Reasons You’re Not As Successful As You Should Be.” I used a mini version of his graphic for beautification purposes here. It’s unreadable, so see the graphic at his web site which can be enlarged to be very readable.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

Jim and I got married on October 30, 2008.

A few days later, 7,001,084 voters (52.24%) of 13,402,566 valid votes cast, representing 35,000,000 Californians, decided via Proposition 8 that gay people should not be able to get married in California.

In May 2009, the California Supreme Court ruled that gay marriages which had occurred legally (such as mine!) would remain legal. In June 2013, the United States Supreme Court basically ruled (in a legal way) that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional, and gay marriages resumed.

It’s only a matter of time before gay people throughout the United States will be able to marry the person they love, as indicated by this MSNBC graphic from a few days ago:

Gay marriage is coming!

I find it interesting (NOT!) that the sky has not fallen, the ground has not opened up and swallowed mankind, and the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west.

Sunrise on Mt. Helix in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

A few days ago, when I went to the Bird Song gardens (Leave room in your garden for the fairies to dance), I had to pass through the area burned a month ago in what is called the Cocos Fire.

After 21 years in San Diego, I still find it odd that we name fires, but I grew up in Texas where named hurricanes often visited us. But why no named blizzards, floods, or tornadoes?

Here is a picture showing how close the fire came:

Close Call

Throughout the area, you can see scorched earth with untouched homes sitting in its midst. In the October 2003 fires, these homes probably would have burned. But after both the October 2003 and October 2007 fires, San Diego County has a rural defense law that requires defensible space around rural homes. That defensible space has been credited with saving many homes in the May 2014 fires. Of course, our firefighters get some credit, too.

Thank you EFF fire fighters

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

When I arrived in San Diego in April 1993, the local paper announced that there was not a single natural river remaining in the Los Angeles County north of us. All of them had been converted into concrete channels, similar to this one:

Southern California river

We now know that, during what little rainfall we get here, concrete channels exacerbate the flooding by allowing rainwater to move at a much faster rate, so when it does overflow those channels, it does a lot of damage.

San Diego was in the process of converting all of its rivers to concrete channels when peer-reviewed research reached the public confirming what many of us already knew. San Diego quit converting its rivers to concrete channels, and many of those throughout Southern California now look like that in the picture above, being allowed to revert to their natural form.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #5

While I was taking pictures of the concrete river, I saw two mallard ducks enjoying the stagnant water, which seems to indicate that stagnant water isn’t all that bad. Bottoms up!

Bottoms up

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #6

The San Diego County fair, purported to be the fifth largest in North America, is well under way, opening on Saturday, June 7. Last day is Sunday, July 5. Trust me. Go now. Don’t wait until the last weekend.

The Fair is closed on Mondays, as well as the first two Tuesdays of its run. Doesn’t make sense to me, which I guess is why I don’t run the Fair.

A couple of days ago, knowing that the Fair was closed, I went to get some pictures, also knowing that there would be parking places and that I wouldn’t get run over by traffic. Following are my two favorite pictures. Those who know me will not be surprised that there are trains in both of them.

Amtrak at the San Diego County Fair

Coaster at the San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #7

I’m proud to say that Jim Frimmer, Janelle DeStefano, and Joanne Regenhardt got a standing ovation from the 82 attendees at their performance this past Sunday at the new Central Library in downtown San Diego. I’m the official page turner………perhaps they were standing for me?

Jim Frimmer, Janelle DeStefano, and Joanne Regenhardt

Next performance at the Central Library is Sunday, June 29, followed by a final performance on Sunday, July 13. Both performances begin at 2:30 p.m. and are free!

New San Diego Central Library on March 23, 2013

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #8

Time magazine’s issue of June 18, 1956, reported on three cities which had banned “rock-and-roll and other forms of frenzied music.” Those three cities were Santa Cruz, California; Asbury Park, New Jersey; and San Antonio, Texas. Santa Cruz and Asbury Park are now rock and roll havens. Such auspicious beginnings.

A few rock and roll music personalities who lived in Santa Cruz:

Cornelius Bumpus—saxophonist for the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan

Derek Sherinian—keyboardist for Alice Cooper, KISS, and Dream Theater

Scott Weiland—vocalist for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver

Here is “Thank You Love” from The Doobie Brothers’ “One Step Closer” album issued in 1980. Cornelius Bumpus is the composer.

The University of California at Santa Cruz has a lot of rock and roll musicians as alumni, and the City of Santa Cruz itself now is a center of rock and roll bands calling California home, most of them in the genres of death metal, deathcore, and punk.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #9

My wise old grandmother taught me to add laughter to each day. Courtesy of our fine, furry, four-legged friends (cats), here’s enough laughter to last today, tomorrow, and perhaps the rest of the month:

Laughter for today

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #10

One of the great things about aquariums and zoos is that you get to see wildlife that you would never see in the wild. Here is a picture of a northern white rhinoceros living at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park:

Northern white rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Not only will you not see the northern white rhinoceros in the wild, but it’s highly unlikely that you will see it at a zoo, either. According to the San Diego Zoo, the northern white rhinoceros is “functionally extinct,” meaning that it is extinct in the wild and no breeding populations exist anywhere else.

In fact, there are only seven of these magnificent creatures left in the world, two here at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, and five at other zoos. When these seven individuals die, there will be no more. Probably in YOUR lifetime! Poaching and habitat destruction. How sad. 😦

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 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
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

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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

It was really tall, really really tall

How I Did It

As much as I like philately, my stamp frame wasn’t meeting the needs of my Photographic Art venture. I needed to develop a new frame which would allow me to include contact information. Julian and I are endeavouring (I added the U to endeavoring for my Canadian friends) to make Photographic Art a viable enterprise that might support me when I am no longer physically or mentally capable of working (some would argue that time is now!), so contact information is essential. I really want to stay off the public dole and develop something that will take care of me down the line.

I experimented for most of yesterday before I got a format for my contact information that looked decent when I posted it at the bottom of a picture. One requirement was that it had to look good for both landscape and portrait pictures.

Then I had to develop a frame to enclose both the picture and the contact information. I could have gone to CorelDraw X6 and accomplished my task in about thirty minutes. However, since January 2012, I have been working to make Photoshop my default program since I know that it can do everything that all my other programs (CorelDraw, Corel PaintShop Pro, Corel Photo-Paint, Adobe Lightroom) do. It’s just a question of learning; actually, I guess it’s a question of having the time to learn!

After about eight hours, here’s what I came up with:

Photographic Art frame

The frame is easily adjustable for the orientation and size of the picture, as shown in these last three pictures. The first two are from my trip to the fundraiser for Cat House on the Kings, the tail end of which was a trip through the giant sequoia and redwood forests in Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park.

Stained

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Stone & Wood

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I saved the best for last.

The following picture was created using Photoshop’s Photomerge function. Previous to this picture, the most pictures I tried to stitch together was seven. This is a Photomerge of sixteen pictures! That should tell you just how tall this tree was! The frame adjusts itself for the dimensions of the picture, so all I do is create Photographic Art, determine the final dimensions of the picture, and then apply the frame.

Really tall tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Julian will be uploading these Photographic Art to Russel Ray Photos’ Fine Art America picture galleries late Wednesday evening, so they will be available for purchase on Thursday. The really tall tree will be available at a maximum size of about 9×45 inches! My frames here are not included at Fine Art America since you choose your frame there, or choose no frame.

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 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

Music on Mondays (6-15-14)—A long time ago when the Earth was green

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Yesterday’s post, Leave room in your garden for the fairies to dance, inspired today’s Music on Monday’s post.

Let us see what kind of magical creatures we can find in the world of music. I only used songs in my collection and did not consider full albums.

“The Purple People Eater”
Sheb Wooley, 1958

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Puff (The Magic Dragon)”
Peter, Paul & Mary, 1963

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“The Unicorn”
Irish Rovers, 1968

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Werewolves of London”
Warren Zevon, 1978

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

click here to like us on facebook

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 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