Monthly Archives: March 2017

Music on Mondays (3-27-17)—Yertle the Turtle in Pet Sematary

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Bookless, I am.

My life is in turmoil when I don’t have a book of fiction to read. Such is the case today because I finished my book (Golden Lion by Wilbur Smith) Saturday night but the public library is not open on Sundays. Just a few more hours….

So I went looking for songs about, or inspired by, books for today Music on Mondays post. Here are five I found:

“1984” by David Bowie was inspired by George Orwell’s book with the same title. David Bowie was intending to do a 1984 musical but the project was killed when Orwell’s widow objected. Other tracks on Bowie’s 1974 album, Diamond Dogs, feature other Orwell references, including the song titles “Big Brother” and “We Are The Dead,” Winston Smith’s final words before being captured by the thought police in the book.

I never read J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings so I never completely understood “Ramble On” from Led Zeppelin’s 1969 album, Led Zeppelin II:

Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor
I met a girl so fair
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up
And slipped away with her.

I’m completely unfamiliar with “that book by Nabokov” (Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita) that inspired The Police in 1980:

Young teacher the subject of schoolgirl fantasy
This girl is half his age
He starts to shake and cough
Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov.”

I don’t really like the Red Hot Chili Peppers but I did understand “Yertle the Turtle” from their 1985 album Freaky Styley as soon as I saw the title because I am quite familiar with Dr. Suess.

I’m Yertle the Turtle
The things I now rule
I’m king of a cow
I’m king of a mule

“Pet Sematary” by The Ramones, from their 1989 album Brain Drain, was written for the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Pet Sematary, still one of my favorite books by King.

Molars and fangs
the clicking of bones
Spirits moaning among the tombstones.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Advertisements

Training for women teaches them to keep their boobs out of the way

Out & About

As much as I love taking pictures of industrial stuff, I rarely hang around industrial areas. It might have something to do with the dirt, noise, and traffic.

Last year when I was delivering packages for Amazon Prime Now and people for Uber, I was forced to go through and into some industrial areas that I never ever would have gone through or into before. That’s when I discovered that one can go to the University of Iron and get a “degree” in iron work. Who knew?

University of Iron San Diego

University of Iron San Diego

University of Iron San Diego

The University of Iron offers training for Apprentices and re-training for Journeymen. They even have training for women! Imagine that. I guess training for women teaches them how to keep their boobs out of the way…..

My grandfather and one of my uncles taught me iron work when I was a teenager back in the ’60s and ’70s. I helped build iron and steel barns both for members of my family in South Texas and neighbors who saw what we were doing and wanted us to build them a bigger and better barn that would withstand hurricanes and tornadoes. We did build them bigger and better but they came with no wind-survival guarantees. In looking at Google Street and Google Earth, I do see that many of the barns I helped build 45+ years ago are still standing.

Being forced to build all those barns, though, was when I definitively decided that I was going to college because I had no intent of doing such hard manual labor for the rest of my life. Now one can go to college to learn how to do all that hard manual labor. I just wonder, though, “What was the last bowl game that the University of Iron football team went to, and did they win or lose?”

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

How I Did It—Works for me

How I Did It

I pretty much try to abide by the rule of thirds when I take pictures. I think it creates more aesthetically pleasing photographs.

The rule of thirds might be the most well-known rule of photographic composition since it is one of the first things one learns in photography class.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken, but if you’re going to break a rule, make sure you know it very well so that breaking it is even more effective.

The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts:

Rule of thirds

The exact center rarely is a good place to put your focal point unless your intent is to show symmetry. Too high, too low, too far left, or too far right is kind of like dissonance in music; it just doesn’t feel right/sound right/look right. The grid, then, identifies four areas of the image—where the lines intersect—where you should consider placing points of interest in your picture.

Along with the four intersections, the rule of thirds also gives you four lines along which to place elements in your picture.

Rule of thirds lines

The theory behind the rule of thirds is that placing points of interest at the intersections or along the lines provides a more balanced picture with which the viewer can interact more naturally. Apparently, research shows that when looking at a picture, your eyes go naturally to one of the intersections much more naturally than to the center of the image.

I don’t know if the rule of thirds comes naturally to me or whether fifty years of photography has simply made it a habit. Maybe I’ll intentionally break the rule to see what happens.

If your picture looks or feels awkward, don’t hesitate to take it into a digital photo editing program like Photoshop and crop it to give it a better feel or look.

Following is a panorama of the Music Building at San Diego State University that illustrates the rule of thirds. This panorama was created by taking 8 separate pictures into Photoshop and then using the Photomerge function to stitch them together. Afterwards I cropped the panorama to get this:

Music Building at San Diego State University

My landscape-oriented pictures often use the top, middle, and bottom thirds, as I have done that picture. I really like this picture, first and foremost because it’s the Music Building and connects with my 60 years of music (violin, piano, and voice). Additionally, though, I really like the dominant but different colors in the thirds—blue in the upper third, white in the middle, and green in the lower. Notice, however, that the transitions are not too sharp or abrupt. The white clouds in the blue sky lead one’s eyes to the white building. The green trees against the white building then lead one’s eyes to the green grass in the lower third. In every sense, this picture works for me.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Friday Flower Fiesta (3-24-17)—Flowers, and more!

Friday Flower Fiesta

When I was in 7th grade (1966), my wise old grandmother bought me a microscope set. I had so much fun picking things out of the yard and then looking at the under the microscope. I think that was what enticed me into wanting to go into forestry research. I did get a degree in forestry but the research part never happened. I know microscopes are still for sale but I haven’t seen one for sale in a store in a couple of decades.

I find microscopic pictures to be quite interesting, such as this picture of my left eye:

Russel's left eye

If I had a microscope, microscopic pictures of flowers could easily be my favorite pictures. Since I don’t have a microscope, you’ll have to do with these “Flowers, and more!” pictures for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta. See if you can identify the “and more!” in the pictures.

Yellow wildflowers in San Diego

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About—Cruise historic Highway 80

Out & About

More sights from my driving tour of Old Highway 80 through East San Diego County.

Cruise Highway 80

The Alpine Town Hall (two pictures below) was built in 1899 and served through 1999. Alpine began in the 1870s as a local center for ranching. The building currently is owned by the Alpine Woman’s Club which pretty much has to missions: to preserve the town hall and to provide scholarships to Alpine graduating seniors heading to college.

Alpine town hall in Alpine CA

Alpine town hall in Alpine CA

The Descanso Junction Restaurant is quite popular. I was there around 8:00 a.m., and it was packed. Descanso Junction’s original name was Bohemia Grove, and the original name of the restaurant was El Nido. That’s my car at the left parked next to the truck.

Descanso Junction Restaurant

The Descanso Town Hall was built in 1898. It still is a popular venue for local events and is one of the few community halls still operating in the mountains.

Descanso Town Hall

The Perkins Store has been in operation since 1875. The store in the picture below was built in 1939 after the original store burned.

Perkins Store

The old Guatay Service Station dates from the 1920s but is now just a shell of its former self. The round metal shed was the service bay.

Ruins of the Guatay Service Station

Behind the service station ruins sits a cool stone house, also built in the 1920s and still being used as a private residence.

Stone house

The immensely popular Frosty Burger in Pine Valley occupies another 1920s-era service station. I can highly recommend Frosty Burger. It can get cold in the high desert mountains, and Frosty Burger has only outdoor seating, so take a jacket or plan on eating in your warm car.

Frosty Burger in Pine Valley

The Pine Valley Inn was the main business in Pine Valley for many years. The main dining hall (right in the picture below) is still used as a restaurant, and the rental cabins, although remodeled and updated, still are in use. One of the rental cabins can be seen at the left.

Pine Valley Inn

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About—Thank you, Amy. You’re great!

Out & About San Diego

El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego currently is signed as a business loop for Interstate 8. Prior to that, it was the principal thoroughfare from San Diego to El Cajon and points farther east as U.S. Highway 80. In the ’50s and ’60s it was known locally simply as
“The Boulevard” and was the cruising strip where high school and college  students went to see and be seen.

I drive El Cajon Boulevard quite often, but since it’s a heavily used, I’m usually watching traffic instead of looking at sights. In early January when I decided to take a driving tour of what remains of U.S. Highway 80, now called “Old Highway 80” or “Historic Route 80,” my tour started at the corner of Park Boulevard and El Cajon Boulevard. My goal was to see sights, traffic be darned.

One of the earliest stops on the tour was 3727 El Cajon Boulevard, a 5-story building with a huge mural on the corner:

Mural at 3727 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, California

Mural at 3727 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, California

Other than the mural showing old cars on El Cajon Boulevard and a California US 80 sign, I have not been able to find out anything else about it. The building, however, is the historic Bekin Building. It originally was constructed as a storage facility for Bekins Van Lines, founded in 1891 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and used by Bekins for several decades.

Currently it hosts a variety of light manufacturers, office dwellers, artists, and creative craftsman. Tenants include The Boulevard Business Improvement Association, a cabinet shop, several upholsterers, a mid century modern furniture reseller, an industrial lighting designer, and several Etsy & Ebay professionals.

According to public records, the building has 31,500 square feet and was built in 1941. The property is zoned warehouse industrial. Interestingly, the current owner is R&C Bekins LLC. R&C Bekins does not appear to be related to Bekins Van Lines, and the company was founded just a couple of weeks before buying the building. I’m thinking that the owner of R&C Bekins, Amy Campagna, had a soft spot for Bekins and this building and decided to buy it. Maybe she worked there for many years.

According to sources, her intent is to provide an affordable and unique environment with a flexible range of spaces to house small businesses and creative persons. With property taxes on this building being in the $30,000 range annually, I can’t believe that she makes enough money from rents to pay both the taxes and the mortgage on the building, so all I have to say is, “Thank you, Amy. You’re great!”

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays (3-20-17)—No particular place to go

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

I was born in 1955. In my youth, most historians agreed that the rock ‘n’ roll era began in 1955, so as late as 2003, I had a complete collection of all the Billboard #1 singles and #1 albums of the rock ‘n’ roll era. Then the vulgarity of rap and hip hop caused me finally to quit collecting music that I wasn’t going to listen to.

The Beatles have always been my favorites, but I have a great appreciation for the rock ‘n’ roll artists who preceded The Beatles, as did The Beatles themselves. One of my favorites is Charles Edwards Anderson Berry, who died Saturday at the age of 90. You might know him better as Chuck Berry. Here are my five favorite Chuck Berry songs:

“Maybellene,” 1955

“Roll Over Beethoven,” 1956

“Rock & Roll Music,” 1957

“Johnny B. Goode,” 1957

“No Particular Place To Go,” 1961

Interestingly, Chuck Berry only had one #1 single, a throwaway novelty song in my opinion.

“My Ding-a-ling” from 1972

When you’re a forerunner of something, people like to copy you, emulate you, try to be you. Here is my favorite cover version of a Chuck Berry song:

“Maybelline” [sic] by Foghat, 1972

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat