Monthly Archives: October 2014

It was six years ago today (we got married!)

I livew in my own little world

On April 15, 1993, I was standing in line at the Bank of A&M in College Station, Texas, to transfer money from savings to checking to cover the check I was writing to the IRS later than afternoon.

Late that night, after packing the Mustang GT with 100 CDs, enough clothes for a one-week drive, and $5,000 in cash, I left for Canada to commit suicide. It wasn’t the IRS, although I have heard of the IRS driving people to death. Rather, it was sexuality—mine—which I couldn’t reconcile with my Mormon (mom) and Catholic (dad) upbringing. Thus, at the age of 38, I was going to choose suicide.

It’s a two-week story of how I wound up in San Diego, but I did…. And I stayed.

On May 26, 1994, I met Jim Frimmer at the Men’s Coming Out Support Group at the San Diego Center for Social Services. It was actually the gay and lesbian center, but even as recently as 1994 you couldn’t have a telephone number listed for anything “gay” or “lesbian.”

At that time I was working as a consultant in Detroit, Michigan. The company provided me with a free trip home once a month, and May 26, 1994, was my first trip home. We had dates on the 27, 28, and 29 before I had to go back to Detroit. After those three dates, we were pretty sure we were committed to each other.

In November 1995, after I had returned to San Diego permanently, we moved in together and commingled our finances and our lives—a common-law marriage, although not recognized as such since it was between two guys.

On July 31, 2004, we got domestic partnered (such an ugly term) when Domestic Partnership came to California.

Then, in May 2008, the California Supreme Court effectively made same-gender marriage legal in California with one of its rulings. Almost immediately, religious political extremists started gathering signatures for a voter referendum on “gay marriage” and succeeded in getting it on the November 2008 ballot. A week before the election, the polls weren’t looking good for same-gender marriage, so I asked Jim to marry me….

….and on October 30, 2008….

WE GOT MARRIED!
(legally)

The referendum passed, which meant that same-gender couples could no longer marry in California. But what about the 17,000 same-gender couples who had married in California between May and November 2008? Well, in May 2009, the California Supreme Court ruled that since those same-gender couples had married legally, their marriages would remain legal.

Religious political extremists sued to have them declared null and void, but they lost. Since that time same-gender marriage has been taking the United States state by state, and it’s only a matter of time before all 50 states recognize the love between two people of the same gender.

So happy anniversary to Jim Frimmer. Thank you for being a significant part of my life for over twenty years.

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My first Photographic Art sale to a Realtor

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I had great success in March and April 2014 when I set up my first galleries at Fine Art America. Then, on April 27, I hired Julian Rey Saenz to help me with my Photographic Art. He cataloged thousands of files, uploaded hundreds of files to Fine Art America, and created a database of over 8,000 Realtors to whom we could market Photographic Art as close-of-escrow gifts.

Photographic Art, and thus Julian’s job, had been capitalized for six months. I thought we would easily have appropriate sales at the end of six months to keep the company capitalized into the future as far as we wanted to go. That didn’t happen, and I’m not really sure why. I still have some analysis to do there.

Yesterday, though, I sold my first Photographic Art to Thomas J. Nelson, a La Jolla & San Diego Realtor who is using it as a close-of-escrow gift. Thomas and I have been working together since 2004; I have been doing the home inspections for his buying Clients.

Thomas bought a 48″x6.75″ metal print of San Diego Panorama. Looks like this:

img_5974 panorama 1200

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Click on the picture for a huger version, and then visualize that huger version (1200 pixels wide) as a metal print 48″ wide. That’s four feet! It’s going to be awesome!

Total cost, including shipping, was $126.49, and my profit was $23.26. Not much but it will buy half a tank of gasoline. More importantly, though, I have that first sale as a close-of-escrow gift, which allows me to do better marketing, i.e., marketing with a testimonial.

Now if I do some projections with those 8,000 Realtors in my database, all I need for first-year success is 50 Realtors to buy close-of-escrow gifts similar to that just once a month. That would allow me to continue to capitalize the company with ongoing sales, and those ongoing sales would allow me to do some very serious marketing, including keeping a small inventory to use as samples and emergency close-of-escrow gifts.

Julian got a job with one of our city politicians. Maybe after political season is over with, or during the spring when Julian will be playing high school tennis instead of working, I can hire him back and we can have another go at this.

With or without Julian, I can make this work. I’m going to go back to what I was doing in March and April and see what happens for the rest of the year.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Get it in writing

I livew in my own little world

Back in 1994 I met a Nevada attorney with whom I became good friends. We met in Detroit, Michigan, while working for the same company.

When he started a competing company in 1995, he asked me to come aboard as the CEO. He couldn’t match my current pay, so I didn’t go. At that time in my life, pay was everything.

He kept after me on a regular basis, and I volunteered many weekends to help create the infrastructure for his company. As his company grew, he kept asking me to work for him. I kept telling him that when he could match my salary, I was all his.

Finally, in March 1995, he said he could, and would, match my salary. My salary had grown substantially. He was shocked, but I gave him a pay stub as proof. He offered me the job and the salary. I gave two weeks notice and flew from Oakland, California, to Tampa, Florida, to begin my new job.

As his company acquired more Clients—specifically Clients in California and Nevada, he decided to move the company west. Since I was the CEO, I had some input into new headquarters, and we landed in my home town of San Diego.

During all my interactions with him, he kept promising me the world, and he kept delivering….

One of his promises was that if the company survived five years with me as CEO, I would get 5% of the company. As we came upon the four-year anniversary, he announced that he was dating one of our employees in Boston. At 4½ years, he announced his engagement. At 4 years and 11 months, he got married and they went to Europe on a 30-day honeymoon. When they returned, he announced that I was being let go and that his wife was going to be the new CEO. I had no employment contract because I trusted him immensely.

Life has been downhill ever since….

My only satisfaction with that story is that six months after they got married, they got divorced. Interestingly, even though he was an attorney with a net worth far in excess of hers, he had no prenuptial. She got $37 million, half of his net worth, in the divorce settlement.

Moral: Get it in writing.

I reached the pinnacle of my career in 1999-2000, and today I am at the bottom. I’m still trying but not really sure what I’m going to do, or how much longer I’m going to stick around….

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#4: Presidio of San Diego site, part 1

San Diego Historical Landmarks

San Diego Historical Landmark #4 is the site of the Presidio of San Diego.

Presidio of San Diego site

San Diego Presidio Site
Soldiers, sailors, Indians, and Franciscan missionaries from New Spain occupied the land at Presidio Hill on May 17, 1769 as a military outpost. Two months later, Fr. Junipero Serra established the first San Diego mission on Presidio Hill. Officially proclaimed a Spanish Presidio on January 1, 1774, the fortress was later occupied by a succession of Mexican forces. The Presidio was abandoned in 1837 after San Diego became a pueblo.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Only ruins of the Presidio remain, simple bumps in the ground:

Site of the Presidio of San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A walk around the surround grounds finds many items of interest, such as a statue of “The Indian” by Arthur Putnam (1873-1930)….

The Indian, by Arthur Puinam, in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

….a statue of “The Padre,” also by Arthur Putnam….

"The Padre" by Arthur Putnam in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

….and a hugemonstergiganticreallyreallybig cross made out of bricks:

The Cross in Presidio Park in San Diego California

The Cross in Presidio Park in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wouldn’t it be neat if we discovered that the bricks are from an old building in the area? Sadly, I could find nothing about the cross other than what is told on a plaque at the base:

In this ancient Indian village of Cosoy
Discovered and named San Miguel by Cabrillo in 1549
Visited and christened San Diego de Alcala by Vizcaino in 1602
Here the first citizen
Fray Junipero Serra
Planted civilization in California
Here he first raised the cross. Here began the first mission.
Here founded the first town, San Diego, July 16, 1769
In memory of him and his works. The Order of Panama 1913.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Just across the street from the ruins of the Presidio is the Junípero Serra Museum, one of the most familiar landmarks in San Diego.

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Junípero Serra Museum is often mistaken for Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá—indeed, for many years, I counted myself among the mistaken.

The Serra Museum was built in 1928-1929 for the purpose of housing the collection of the San Diego Historical Society (now named the San Diego History Center), which was founded in 1928. William Templeton Johnson was the architect and used Spanish Revival architecture to resemble the early missions that once dominated the Southern California landscape.

Following are three pictures from the Museum’s collection of the Museum in 1929:

Architect’s elevation drawingElevation of the Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Project completedJunipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dedication DayDedication day of the Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Prior to the Great Recession, the Museum was open seven days a week. Now, sadly, it is open only on weekends.

There are other markers from the past, and I’m sure I missed some because they are located in strange places, places which probably weren’t so strange many decades ago. An example is this tree, possibly as old as the ruins:

Presidio Hill in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

See the crooked gravestone-like marker at the right of the trunk? Obviously I had to go see what it said:

Presidio Hill in San Diego California

Dedicated in memory of
Father Francisco Palou
Biographer of Fr. Serra

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I also discovered a huge statue of a man on a horse:

Presidio Hill in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The plaque on the base is in Spanish:

DONADO A LA CIUDAD DE SAN DIEGO
POR EL SEÑOR LICENSIADO
GUSTAVO DIAZ ORDAZ
PRESIDENTE DE LA REPUBLICA MEXICANA
NOVIEMBRE DE 1970

Wikipedia tells me that Gustavo Diaz Ordaz (1911-1979) was president of Mexico from 1964 to 1970. That, however, doesn’t explain anything about this statue and why it is there. Research for another day….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I said earlier, the Junípero Serra Museum is open only on Saturdays and Sundays. I went a couple of weeks ago, and in my next posting about San Diego Historical Landmarks, I’ll take you inside the Museum. It’s quite beautiful and should not be missed if you make a trip to Presidio Hill.

The San Diego Presidio Site is also California Registered Historic Landmark #59. Considering that this is where California was founded, what 58 sites could be more important?

Junipero Sera Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

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2015 Photographic Art Rose Calendar

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think I might have to do more than one rose calendar because I have billions and billions and billions of rose pictures.

Here’s the first one:

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Current list of calendar subjects:

Birds – done
Little Cats I – done
Little Cats II
Big Cats
Dogs
Wildlife Variety I
Wildlife Variety II
Sunrises & Sunsets
Orchids – done
Roses I – done
Roses II
Roses III
Hibiscus
Flower Variety I – done
Flower Variety II
Scenes from San Diego County
Railroads & Trains
Great houses (idea provided by a reader)
Stamps (pictures will be framed like stamps)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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2015 Photographic Art calendars—Flower Variety

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Here is my first Flower Variety calendar:

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I thought I was only going to make one Flower Variety calendar but I simply have too many favorites, way more than 12. So I’m sure there will be a second Flower Variety calendar, and possibly even a third.

Current list of calendar subjects:

Birds – done
Little Cats I – done
Little Cats II
Big Cats
Dogs
Wildlife Variety I
Wildlife Variety II
Sunrises & Sunsets
Orchids – done
Roses
Hibiscus
Flower Variety I – done
Flower Variety II
Scenes from San Diego County
Railroads & Trains
Great houses (idea provided by a reader)
Stamps (pictures will be framed like stamps)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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2015 Photographic Art calendars—Little Cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I made a calendar today featuring little cats, but I have so many great pictures of little cats that I’m thinking of doing one of two things: (1) make several calendars featuring little cats, or (2) letting people choose which 12 pictures of the little ones they want on their calendar. I’ll have to think more on #2 and figure out a way to make it easy to choose. I’ve found throughout life that if you give people too many choices, they just leave. Anyways….

Here’s my calendar featuring little cats:

 

Surprisingly, I haven’t found enough good pictures of butterflies to make a butterfly calendar. I know I have enough; it’s just a question of finding which directory they have been misfiled in….

Current list of calendar subjects:

Birds
Butterflies
Little cats
Big cats
Dogs
All other wildlife
Sunrises & sunsets
Orchids
Roses
Hibiscus
All other flowers
Scenes from San Diego County
Railroads & Trains
Great houses (idea provided by a reader)
Stamps (pictures will be framed like stamps)
More little cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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2015 Calendars—Birds

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now that I have templates for the twelve months of 2015, it was fairly easy to create a second calendar.

I chose to do birds today, so I have two calendars finished:

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Below was the first calendar, which I’ll name Standard, and which will be the first one I print and hang on my wall:

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So now I can cross Birds off my list of calendars, which I guess means I’m doing Butterflies today:

Birds
Butterflies
Little cats
Big cats
Dogs
All other wildlife
Sunrises & sunsets
Orchids
Roses
Hibiscus
All other flowers
Scenes from San Diego County
Railroads & Trains
Stamps (pictures will be framed like stamps)

For more on the calendars, see SNIPPETS 5 in yesterday’s post.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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SNIPPETS (10-21-14)

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

For the past six months, I have been visiting up to 400 blogs a day and leaving likes and comments. That takes time.

With Julian gone (see Someone’s missing from Photographic Art), I need to use the four hours a day that he was working to find a substitute for home inspections (my main source of income) that will pay my bills. That means I’m going to have to cut down on blog visits.

Since I’m following 3,302 blogs, the result is that it’s going to be a longer time between my visits to your blog.

My records (yes, I really am that AR!) indicate that over the course of my WordPress blogging (since January 7, 2012), I leave one comment for every four LIKEs. I’m going to change that and try to make it one comment for every like.

For the near future, then, blog camping is on an extended vacation, but I hope to make up for it by leaving more comments when I do visit.

SNIPPET 2

Ever since Random Acts of Kindness came about (Wikipedia says it was 1982 or 1983), I have been a huge fan.

Well, last Thursday at 2:40 p.m. I had a tire blow out at a high rate of speed. Having never experienced that before but having visualized it hundreds of times, I had no problem slowing down and getting off the freeway.

I pulled onto a side street in front of a high school and proceeded to try to change the tire. My left shoulder is not capable of provide the torque necessary to operate the jack to raise a 4,400-pound car and untighten the five lug nuts.

I was hot and sweating by the time school started letting out at 3:00. A teenage girl stopped, said hello as she was looking in her backpack, and pulled out a bottle of water, giving it to me along with her kind words, “I know it’s hot out here and you look like you’re struggling.”

Well, I was struggling so I gave up and called AAA to change the tire for me.

I don’t know the girl’s name or even the name of the high school, but I wanted to give a shout-out to some fine parents raising that girl, not to mention to that fine girl herself.

SNIPPET 3

I moved to San Diego in April 1993 specifically so I could live my life as an openly gay man, something I didn’t see myself doing in my native Texas.

Never in my wildest dreams 21 years ago did I think I would ever be legally married, yet that happened when Jim and I got married, legally, in California on October 30, 2008. Prior to that, we had dated for 2 years, lived together for 9 years, and were domestic partnered (such an ugly term) for 5 years.

As of a few days ago, gay marriage is now legal in 31 states and the District of Columbia, covering about 61% of the American population.

gay marriage

It’s only a matter of time before gay marriage is legal across the land. I’m going to guess less than two years.

What amazes me is that gay marriage was legal in Iowa before California, and that Utah won’t be the last state carried screaming and kicking into the modern world. I’m predicting that the southeast will be last, all joining at the same time due to an Appeals Court decision covering those states, basically a repeat of history from June 12, 1967, when the United States Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional:

Interracial marriage

SNIPPET 4

California allows permanent voting by mail:

California mail ballot

It doesn’t mean that I have to return my ballot by mail, but I can. I usually simply drop it off at a polling place on election day since there’s one just two blocks from me.

I was a registered Republican from 1976 to September 2013. I was trying to work within the system to change the Republican Party, but with the advent of the so-called Tea Party taking over control of the Republican Party, I finally gave up and registered as a Democrat last year.

Today I will be filling in those little dots on my ballot.

SNIPPET 5

I have finished my first Photographic Art calendar. This will be the one that I print and hang on my wall:

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I plan on creating several more calendars:

Birds
Butterflies
Little cats
Big cats
Dogs
All other wildlife
Sunrises & sunsets
Orchids
Roses
Hibiscus
All other flowers
Scenes from San Diego County
Railroads & Trains
Custom (you pick any 12 Photographic Art from my Fine Art America galleries)
Double Custom (you provide 12 of your own pictures)
Stamps (pictures will be framed like stamps)

Note that calendar weeks begin with Monday and end with Sunday, keeping the weekend together.

I will be offering two versions: one without designations such as New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day…. Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. and one with such designations.

I have plans for one other version but it will be complicated to produce so I’ll not announce that yet, waiting until I’m sure I’m going to do it. I’ll do January this week and then decide.

I have looked at calendar-creating software online and am not happy with any of it. I have also looked at prices to buy calendars and can assure you that I will price my digital calendars for less. I am also considering having some printed for promotional purposes, maybe even for sale. I’ll keep everyone informed.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Someone’s missing from Photographic Art

A Piece Missing

Julian back at workSadly, Julian Rey Saenz is no longer with Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos.

I had capitalized the company as a full-time enterprise for six months, and Julian was working 20-24 hours a week.

We couldn’t get the company to grow as fast as I wanted it to, so I have taken it to a part-time enterprise, which meant that Julian’s job was eliminated.

Of course, I need to find something that will pay the bills. I don’t know what that’s going to be right now. I just know that it can’t be home inspections because my 59-year-old knees and shoulders just don’t like crawling around under houses and up in attics anymore. The money I make from home inspections is being spent on aspirin and Ibuprofen to alleviate the pain. Hmmm. Maybe I should buy stock in the pain-killer manufacturers……..

Julian Rey SaenzI have every confidence that Julian will find his next great job very quickly. In my 48-year business career with 33 companies—most of them startups—and over 1,100 people hired, I would put Julian at the very top, number one with a star.

Never did I have to explain anything to Julian more than once. He has one of the best memories I have ever witnessed, is an extraordinarily good typist, and knows his way around computers, software, and the Internet. For those few things which he did not know, he learned very quickly, and his contributions were always clear and professional.

Thank you, Julian, for all that you did, and helped me do, and for simply being the AWESOME person you are.

thank you

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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