Monthly Archives: October 2015

Friday Flower Fiesta (10-30-15)—This is dedicated to the one I love

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On this date in 2008, Jim and I got legally married.

Just 5 days later, 13,743,177 votes were cast in California’s general election.

7,001,084 of those votes were cast in favor of taking away the right of same-gender couples to marry, a right that had only been won six months earlier. Kind of sad when rights have to be won, but throughout history the majority has never been kind to minorities….

After numerous lawsuits and court hearings, the California Supreme Court upheld the removal by the majority of the rights of the minority but also ruled, under the grandfather principle, that the marriages of those who had gotten legally married during that six-month period would remain legal.

Thus, our marriage remained valid and legal.

So today is our seventh wedding anniversary. For the record, we’ve been together since May 26, 1994, and got domestic partnered (such an ugly term) on July 31, 2004.

Today’s Friday Flower Fiesta is dedicated to the one I love (Ouch! Zoey! Quit biting!)

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosFriday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Happy National Cat Day from Zoey the Cool Cat!

Did you know?

Today is National Cat Day.

Here to help us celebrate is the one and only Zoey the Cool Cat.

img_1101 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1145 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1589 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1592 zoey the cool cat preparing for the weekend img_1619 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1803 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1808 zoey relaxed stamp img_1900 zoey carrier stamp img_1910 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1914 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1941 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1954 zoey the cool cat stamp img_4015 zoey the cool cat sleeping floor stamp img_5257 stamp img_5507 zoey the cool cat stamp img_5621 zoey the cool cat stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Are you happy?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The graffiti is getting better….

Out & About

When I came to San Diego in April 1993, I discovered the San Diego River. Although it is nothing like the mighty Mississippi, it’s hard to miss since it runs right through Mission Valley, possibly the most important area outside of downtown. After all, it’s where the San Diego Chargers claim to play professional football….

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There was talk of turning the river into a San Diego version of the San Antonio River Walk. That talk came from the powers that be, but the masses were having nothing of it. They loved their natural river and wanted it to stay that way.

Sadly, though, there was no way to really enjoy the river. Boating and swimming aren’t allowed in it, and since it likes to flood, there are no river bank walkways.

Mission Valley flood

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The San Diego River Conservancy, founded in 2001, is attempting to create riverside paths so that we can better enjoy the river in all its beauty.

Snowy egret

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One of the goals of the San Diego River Conservancy is to create the San Diego River Park system from the mountains to the ocean, a 52-mile stretch from its source to its mouth at the Pacific Ocean.

Recently I was at the mouth of the river and saw some of the work that the Conservancy has been doing:

San Diego River pathway

San Diego River pathway

San Diego River pathway

San Diego River pathway

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All of Mission Valley suffers from a graffiti problem as you can see in the following picture:

San Diego River pathway

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

But much of the graffiti on the River Path is getting better, so to speak.

San Diego River pathway

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Jamul Indian Village “Hollywood Casino” is coming along

Out & About

Powers more knowledgeable than I am say that San Diego County has a lot of gaming places, more popularly known as “casinos.” Those same powers say that San Diego County has the largest concentration of tribal governments in the United States. Those tribal governments love to building casinos on their lands and invite the masses to come lose their money gambling….

I have never been a gambler (or “gamer” as they are called now) so I don’t patronize the casinos other than to go by now and then and check out the magnificence of the buildings and the beautiful landscaping.

A couple of the casinos also have associated outlet malls where I occasionally do some shopping.

Native Americans were shuttled off to reservations many decades ago, and those reservations usually were far out in the boondocks. Those boondocks now are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the cities, and a mere ten miles down the road from me another huge casino is rising from the ground.

Jamul Casino

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is so massive that in order to get the whole thing in the picture, I had to go almost three miles away! I could get pictures closer but I couldn’t get the whole building in closer pictures because of the hills and valleys.

It’s the new Jamul Casino, a contentious project at best. The rural folks believe that it will bring crime and traffic to the rural community. However, although the money from the casino will go to the Jamul Indian Village, they have made commitments to traffic control, new roads, more police officers, more fire fighters, etc.

The developer, financier, and manager of the casino is Penn National Gaming, and the casino is projected to cost $360 million and open in mid-2016. It’s unofficial name at this point is “Hollywood Casino Jamul.”

The 3-story, 200,oo-square-feet casino will feature over 1,700 slot machines, 50 live gam(bl)ing tables, several restaurants, bars and lounges, and an underground parking structure with 1,800 spaces. An estimated 2,500 construction and permanent jobs will be created.

The community uproar resulted in the Jamul Indian Village changing the initial design of the facility, significantly reducing its height and footprint, including water and wastewater reclamation facilities, going with earth tone exterior colors and downcast lighting to integrate with and complement the surrounding area.

Jamul Indian Village Casino

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you like gam(bl)ing, I suspect that this is going to be one of the better casinos in the area and will be popular simply because it is closer to the masses than all the other casinos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Music on Mondays (10-26-15)—On this day in 1881

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

On this date in 1881, Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp, and Virgil Earp took on the Clanton-McLaury gang at the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, immortalized in many movies, arguably the best of which are Frontier Marshal (1939), Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), Tombstone (1993), and Wyatt Earp (1994).

Frankie Lane sang the title song for the 1957 movie:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Tombstone had become one of the richest mining towns in the Southwest after silver was discovered nearby in 1877.

Despite its name, the gunfight did not take place in or near the O.K. Corral but in a narrow lot on the side of C. S. Fly’s Photographic Studio, six doors west of the O.K. Corral’s rear entrance.

It was the result of a long-simmering feud between Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury, and town Marshal Virgil Earp, Assistant Town Marshal Morgan Earp, and temporary deputy marshals Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers were killed. Ike Clanton claimed he was unarmed and ran from the fight, along with Billy Claiborne. Virgil, Morgan, and Doc Holliday were wounded, but Wyatt Earp was unharmed.

The Earps represented law and order in Tombstone but they also had reputations as being power-hungry and ruthless. The Clantons and McLaurys were cowboys who lived on a ranch outside of town and worked on the side as cattle rustlers, thieves, and murderers.

The gunfight lasted all of 30 seconds and is regarded by some as the most famous shootout in the history of the wild, wild west. It’s still debated who fired the first shot but most reports say that the shootout began when Virgil Earp shot Billy Clanton point-blank in the chest while Doc Holliday fired a shotgun blast at Tom McLaury.

The gunfight was not the end of the conflict. On December 28, 1881, Virgil Earp was ambushed and maimed in a murder attempt by the outlaw cowboys. On March 18, 1882, cowboys fired from a dark alley through the glass door of a saloon and shot Morgan Earp, killing him. The suspects in both incidents had alibis supplied by fellow cowboys, resulting in no indictments.

Gunfight at the O.K. Corrall has come to represent a period in American Old West when the frontier was pretty much an open range for outlaws, largely unopposed by law enforcement spread thin over vast territories.

The gunfight did not get widespread coverage until 1931, two years after Wyatt Earp died, when author Stuart Lake published a biography about him, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal. The book captured the American imagination during the Great Depression and was the basis for the 1946 film, “My Darling Clementine,” by director John Ford. The shootout became known as the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” in 1957 with the release of the movie that year by that name.

I remember watching “The Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp” on television in the ’60s. The series originally ran from 1955 to 1961. Here’s the theme song:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Having a dandy good time

Picture of the Moment

When I moved to Houston after my time at Texas A&M University, I discovered wine tasting, wine & cheese parties, and Wine-of-the-Month clubs. It only took about a year to discover that I really was not a wine connoisseur.

With me, it’s white zinfandel, white zinfandel, and white zinfandel.

San Diego County has a few billion vineyards with wine tasting facilities. I have continued to resist trying wines again because I’m quite happy with my white zinfandel.

Recently, though, I was in Solana Beach in the Cedros Avenue Design District when I came across the Winery Queen. Looks like this:

Winery Queen

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Winery Queen belongs to Carruth Cellars, An Urban Solana Beach Winery.  I did not go in since, as I said, I’m quite happy with my white zinfandel. I did like their Winery Queen, though. She looks like she’s have a dandy good time.

Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach, California

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Friday Flower Fiesta (10-23-15)—A flower is a flower, and that’s enough

Friday Flower Fiesta

If the days don’t stop flying by I’m going to be 60 before I know it.

Wait.

Nevermind.

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Mall walking

Out & About

During my first year at Texas A&M University I lived on campus. Sadly, the two dorms I lived in, Moore Hall and Puryear Hall, were destroyed several years ago in the name of progress, i.e., bigger, more beautiful, more progressive dorms.

During my second year, I moved off campus into an apartment that was, at the time, way out in the boondocks. Fortunately, my bicycle found a back roads shortcut to campus.

I lived out in the boondocks for my remaining years of college. After graduation I spent five years in Houston before moving back to College Station where I bought a duplex in the same boondocks. However, that area was no longer the boondocks. With several new apartment complexes, sorority row with 12 sorority houses, and the new Post Oak Mall, it was pretty much the center of non-campus activity.

Post Oak Mall stores didn’t open until 10:00 a.m. but the mall itself was open at 7:00 a.m. for the Post Oak Mall Walkers, of which I was one, probably the youngest one.

I still like to walk malls, but I do it more now to get pictures rather than simply exercise.

Recently I walked one of San Diego’s largest and more beautiful malls. It was 8:00 a.m., and here are a few of the pictures I got:

University Towne Center, La Jolla, California

University Towne Center, La Jolla, California

University Towne Center, La Jolla, California

University Towne Center, La Jolla, California

University Towne Center, La Jolla, California

University Towne Center, La Jolla, California

University Towne Center, La Jolla, California

University Towne Center, La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The mall in question was Westfield UTC in La Jolla. Those of us who have been here more than a few years still call it University Towne Center. It’s a great place to shop, a great place to eat, and, if you enjoy putting on ice skates and falling on your butt many times, a great place to go ice skating….

University Towne Center La Jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Is it live, or is it Memorex?

Picture of the Moment

One of my favorite restaurants is Islands because they are not showing sports on all the televisions throughout the restaurant. Instead, they show videos of extreme events like mountain climbing, wind surfing, rock climbing, snow and water skiing, and sea creatures.

I recently visited an ocean-side restaurant where they were showing videos of aquariums on their only television, a huge monster gigantic TV that took up the whole wall. I felt like I was in the aquarium with the creatures, like this one:

Jellyfish

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SNIPPETS (10-20-15)—Give up beer and lose weight!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Since May 15, 2015, I have lost 40 pounds. I’m not looking to find them either, so if you’re with Lost & Found, just keep ’em.

I didn’t set out to lose 40 pounds, it just happened. I could blame it on Costco, though. They quit carrying their Kirkland brand craft beers so I quit buying beer. I thought all the other beers either were just flat-out nasty (American beers) or too expensive (foreign beers).

I needed something that could quench my thirst, though. Soft drinks never have.

On May 16, Jim and I went to Mimi’s which offers strawberry lemonade with real bits of strawberry floating around in it. It’s the best lemonade in town. Free refills, too!

Lemonade quenches my thirst so I checked at Walmart and found Country Time pink lemonade. Love, love, love pink lemonade!

The Country Time container costs $2.50 (was $1.98 back in May) and makes 10 quarts. That’s 2½ gallons. A case of Kirkland craft beer cost $20.00. So not only am I losing weight, I’m saving a lot of money.

However, at this rate, I will be at zero pounds sometime in August 2017.

stick man

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

I have decided to give up the toaster in favor of the toaster oven. The toaster only let me toast bread slices. The toaster oven not only lets me toast bread slices, but I can toast odd-sized pieces of bread, like dinner rolls with a slice of jalapeño cheese on them; or make mini pizzas with pepperoni, jalapeño slices, and shredded cheese; or toast garlic sticks. All sorts of options with the toaster oven without using all that electricity for the big range oven….

Oster toaster oven

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

My home office faces the east and since I’m up every morning before the sun, I get a beautiful sunrise each morning. Here are three of them:

Sunrise in La Mesa, California

Sunrise in La Mesa, California

Sunrise in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

I finished watching all episodes for the first five seasons of “Game of Thrones.” What a mesmerizing series. Maybe a little too much nudity….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #5

I also finished watching all of the movies released in 2014 that interested me. 2015 movies aren’t completely available online yet so I decided to work my way through those released in 2013.Broken City

The Last StandA couple that I really enjoyed were “Broken City” starring Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg, and “The Last Stand” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, his first movie post-California governor.

Two that were so-so: “Mama” (a horror/thriller movie) starring no one I knew, and “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” also starring no one I knew.

One I watched, “John Dies At The End,” is 99 minutes of my life that I will never get back….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #6

I have been practicing using a couple of the more esoteric tools in Photoshop, tools that I never found any use for or tools that just took too long to use. The Pen Tool comes to mind. Once one realizes that “Pen Tool” is one of the world’s greatest misnomers and understands how it actually works, it can be quite useful.

In the following picture, the sea lavender blossoms were lost in a sad, busy background in the original picture. Using the Pen Tool, I removed the blossoms and placed them in front of a wooden fence and then framed the resulting picture.

Sea lavender

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #7

I have been a member of the Facebook group “Flowers Exchange” for about ten months. We’re allowed to post up to three images each day. I only post one. The sea lavender picture above is my most popular post yet, with 45 likes.

I also like it but I didn’t think it was my best ever. Facebook needs a WHY? button. When you click on it, you get asked why you liked the post….

I would love to know why that picture resonated with so many people. If it resonates with you, comment why.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #8

I haven’t been blogging as much since our move in May because I have been trying to get a full-time job working for someone else instead of being self-employed with my home inspection company.

I can tell you that age discrimination is alive and well in the job market. No one wants a 60-year-old guy regardless of his qualifications, at least not in the areas where I have my expertise and experience.

One company that I was talking with finally emailed me with what probably is the truth for all the other companies:

We’re looking for someone who can make a career here at *****.

And there you have it. We old folks are going to die tomorrow if you hire us today.

Didn’t Betty White tell us that 90 was the new 60, which would mean that 60 is the new 30….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #9

I had an interview with a start up company that is a subcontractor to Amazon Prime. I don’t think Amazon is going away anytime soon, so the job and the new company piqued my interest. I got offered the job at the interview, and I accepted. Since it’s a new company, time lines are, shall we say, flexible, but it looks like I’ll be starting work on Monday. Yahoooooooooo!

Since I will have a definite work schedule, I expect my blogging to return to normal, meaning at least one blog post per day. I look forward to continuing my many blog series.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #10

The days are getting shorter, which means Christmas is just around the corner.

Zoey the Cool Cat and Christmas tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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