Monthly Archives: September 2015

Is this Pete the Cat?

Out & About

Remember the classic movie scene where a train or bus goes by and one of two things happens: (1) the person on the other side is no longer there, or (2) there’s now a person on the other side.

Well, recently I was out taking pictures and videos of trains. I was in a location I had never been before but where there’s lots of train action. The only reason I had never been there before is because it’s simply too difficult to get to.

I had been watching trains for 1½ hours and had decided to leave after the next train. Well, after the next train passed, this was on the other side of the tracks:

Cat by the railroad tracks

Cat by the railroad tracks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m pretty sure (actually, 100% absolutely sure!) that the cat didn’t jump off the train as it went by but seeing it there reminded me of the beginner-reader book Pete The Cat’s Train Trip by James Dean.

After watching me watching her for about 15 seconds, she took off up the hillside, climbed over a wooden fence, and disappeared.

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Music on Mondays (9-28-15)—Have I helped eliminate a job?

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

I am really enjoying the 30 miles per gallon combined city/highway driving of the new Toyota Corolla, especially when I think of the 18 miles per gallon of the 2002 Camry. Instead of spending $40 on gas every three days, I’m spending $30 on gas once a week. Of course, gas prices have fallen drastically since we bought the new car…. Obviously Obama’s fault, both the much improved economy which helped us buy the new car and the lower gas prices………………………

The best part of the new car, though, is the little USB port which allows me to plug in a 32 GB flash drive with billions and billions of music files on it. I can’t envision me ever listening to the radio in the car again.

Since I listen to my vast music collection in chronological order (I’m in September 2010 this morning!), whenever I’m going out, I simply plug the flash drive into the music computer and copy the next few music files to it for car listening.

Technology is wonderful but I wonder if I have helped eliminate another job at the radio station………………

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Friday Flower Fiesta (9-25-15)

Friday Flower Fiesta

One of the things that I really like doing in Photoshop is replacing the dull, boring, uninteresting, cloudy, overcast gray skies with beautiful blue, partly cloudy skies.

However, I also enjoy it immensely when I get a picture directly out of the camera that I am pretty happy with, something that doesn’t happen often, which is why I became a Photoshop expert to begin with!

Following are some examples. Except for adding frames, only the last two were subjected to significant post-processing in Photoshop. That doesn’t mean that the other pictures can’t be improved upon, only that I was quite happy with what I had to start with.

Blue Sky Ecological Reserve

Friday Flower FiestaFriday Flower FiestaFriday Flower FiestaRed rose, Friday Flower Fiesta, October 12, 2012Friday Flower Fiesta 4-5-13Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray PhotosFriday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray PhotosFriday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray PhotosFriday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (9-21-15)—If you’re lucky, I’ll be there

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My senior English teacher in high school was Edith Head, but not THAT Edith Head. She taught me to use the shortest words, the fewest words, and the shortest sentences possible unless I had a specific purpose in mind. When the class inquired why, she said it was because short and few would ensure that our writing was read by the largest audience possible. What she was saying was that people couldn’t read long words and long, complicated sentences.

The first literacy surveys were done in 1935 and showed that the average reader was an adult reading at a late seventh-grade level. Reading levels have remained roughly the same but at least have increased to a ninth-grade level in eighty years.

So I don’t know whether to be happy or sad with all the emails I’m getting recently with people reaching out to me….

  • “I am reaching out to you today….”
  • “I thought I would reach out to you to see if you are interested….”
  • “Would you like to reach out to hundreds of people each day?”
  • “We are a company that reaches out to our customers….”
  • “Reaching out to your customers is good for your business.”
  • “Do you use email to reach out to your customers?”
  • “I wanted to reach out to you to see how you liked our products.”

In the days of old, we used to contact someone, either call them or write them a letter.

“Reach Out, I’ll Be There” would work as “Call Me, I’ll Be There” but imagine if Blondie had sang “Reach out to me” instead of “Call me”……………….

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Music on Mondays (9-14-15)—Lost in stereo in a nowhere town stuck in suburbia

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

True story about “Fun, Fun, Fun” by The Beach Boys: Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote it about a rich girl whom their bandmate Dennis Wilson was dating. Said rich girl would tell her father that she needed to borrow his Thunderbird to go to the library. What she actually was doing was hanging out with Dennis at his apartment. Then the inevitable happened: Daddy found out and took the T-bird away. Ah, yes. Parents. It’s a love/hate relationship when you’re a teenager.

Many decades ago I used to tell my wise old grandmother that I was going to the library to study. We had two libraries within blocks, the Kingsville city library three blocks in one direction and the Texas A&I University library six blocks in the other direction. I was like a kid in a candy store.

Although we were not rich, I confess that I didn’t always go to the library to study when I told my wise old grandmother that I was going to the library to study. Sometimes I would go to my other grandparents’ house (the two families were estranged at the time) or go out with friends whom my wise old grandmother approved of not.

When I did make it to the library, my favorite books were in the reference section, books like the Guinness Book of World Records and the Encyclopedia Britannica. (Yes, I was a nerd….) My favorite book in today’s world is online and is called Wikipedia.

One of the things I like to do whenever I discover a new musical group is go to Wikipedia to read about the group. Even though anyone can edit or add to Wikipedia, there are many volunteers like me who check the edits and additions to ensure that they are legitimate. In many cases, that requires appropriate credit, sourcing, and references. Sure, you’ll occasionally hear about people editing Wikipedia inappropriately, such as recently when edits were revealed to be by the Koch Brothers editing information that portrayed them negatively. Yes, you might get away with your edit for a day or two but ultimately volunteer editors will edit your edit!

New San Diego Central Library on February 2, 2013The cool thing about references is that they can be looked up at your local library (picture►). Within the text of the articles are various links that take you to other articles and sources. So when I find a new group, I’ll see if they have a Wikipedia page. Sometimes they don’t because of the Wikipedia notability guideline which states that the group has to be notable. That guideline prevents daddy from creating a Wikipedia page about his son’s newly formed band. So Stuck In Suburbia will have to get a little more notability before being eligible for a Wikipedia page; I’m rootin’ for them!

You can help them get that notability by following them on Facebook and Twitter, and listening to their new single on YouTube. I believe the single will be available at iTunes but since Apple lost me as a customer back in 1983 (and they’ve done nothing to encourage me to return), I don’t patronize iTunes. Thus, their single is only on my YouTube playlist right now.

After listening to Stuck In Suburbia‘s music last week, I had a lot of fun in Wikipedia reading about All Time Low and The 1975 and then clicking on links to take me to related articles. I also now have a complete collection of music by All Time Low and The 1975.

Following is “Lost In Stereo” by All Time Low. It’s from their 2009 album “Nothing Personal” and is one of my favorites of theirs. Listen to it with headphones to get the full effect of being lost in stereo.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (9-11-2015)—It was fourteen years ago today

Friday Flower Fiesta

Well, the last time I posted a Friday Flower Fiesta I was trying to get a new job as Marketing Coordinator for DeepSea Power & Light. After about nine hours of interviews over three weeks with twelve people, suddenly I never heard back from them even after the General Manager and Human Resources Manager had said, “We’ll contact you Tuesday.” Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday came and went. Finally, on Friday, I gave up on them. I really liked that company, the people I had met, and the job. Oh, well. Onward……….

Today is 9/11. Fourteen years ago Jim and I were scheduled to fly back to San Diego from San Francisco at 10:00 a.m. By that time, all planes in the United States had been grounded.

We had spent a week in the Bay Area specifically to visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose and the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey.

We finished exploring everything on our to-do list late on 9/9 so I called Southwest Airlines to see if we could change our flight to the last one out on 9/10 instead of the morning of 9/11. We did, arriving back in San Diego just after midnight on 9/11. If we had not done that, we would have been stranded in the Bay Area. Not near as bad, of course, as what happened that day to so many people and their family, friends, and businesses.

Today’s Friday Flower Fiesta is in honor of all those who died that day in 2001. May history remember the hatred espoused by all religions—see Mike Huckabee and Kim Davis as the most recent example on a long list (crucifixions, beheadings, genocide, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, Al-Qaeda, ISIS….)

african violet faa stamp

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lily of the nile 4x6 stamp

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IMG_3845 alstroemeria stamp

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amaryllis panorama art stamp

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img_1551 anemone stamp

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img_5142 anthurium stamp

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artichoke stamp

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begonia (11) altered stamp

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img_9314 stamp

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img_1865 bromeliad stamp

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img_6739 stamp

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