Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego County claims to have more casinos than any county outside of the State of Nevada. Here’s our newest one, Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego, 10.9 miles from me.

Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego

The $400 million casino was developed in collaboration with the Jamul Indian Village. It opened on October 10, 2016, and has a three-story gaming and entertainment facility of approximately 200,000 square feet; over 1,700 slot machines; 40 live table games; multiple restaurants, bars, and lounges; and an enclosed below-grade parking structure with approximately 1,800 spaces.

Here it is under construction back on October 27, 2015:

Jamul Indian Village Casino

Although the project created an estimated 2,500 construction and permanent jobs in the area, 97½% of the area residents were against it, mostly because of traffic concerns for their rural area.

I did not go inside since I’m not a big casino/gambling person. I only go to the casinos if there is something else to do there, like shopping at outlet malls, eating at the buffet, etc. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

My favorite railroad car: The Railway Post Office

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One might have noticed that many of my pictures are framed to look like postage stamps. That’s because when I was six, in 1966, I discovered a big box in the attic. Full of letters. With beautiful postage stamps on them. I instantly became a philatelist (and a historian).

It was only natural, then, that I combine my interest in stamps with my interest in trains. So although I love locomotives and cabooses, my favorite railroad car is the Railway Post Office (RPO). I had never seen one, much less been inside one, until several years ago when I visited the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris CA, about 90 miles up the road from me here in La Mesa. They had Santa Fe RPO 60, built in 1924 by Pullman. Here’s its interior, looking like it did in its heyday with letter cases, sorting racks, and pouches of mail.

Railway Post Office

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Railway Post Office literally was a traveling post office. They were attached to regularly scheduled passenger trains and under contract to the United States Post Office. Mail was picked up and dropped off at cities and towns along the route, and sorted while the train sped on down the tracks. By the mid-1940s, there were 1,500 RPO routes criss-crossing America with 30,000 men (sorry, women) working in more than 4,000 RPO cars. More than 90% of the nation’s mail was handled in RPO cars.

Mail could be picked up and dropped off even if the train was not scheduled to stop. It would slow down slightly and a man would lean out of the car door with a catcher arm and grab a bag off of a special post at the side of the track. Pity the man who was not strong enough or who missed the bag….

Mail that needed to be dropped off was simply thrown out the car door at a designated spot to be picked up and delivered to the Post Office.

Santa Fe RPO 60 was used to sort and distribute mail between Los Angeles and Kansas City on Santa Fe trains #7 and #8, the “Fast Mail & Express” trains. The average crew numbered 12 men. The USPS discontinued the route in 1967.

Back in those days, it was not unheard of for a letter to be picked up at 6:00 a.m. and delivered by 6:00 p.m. Even letters going from New York to Los Angeles might only take a couple of days. In today’s world, even with all this modern sorting machinery and zip codes, a letter going from New York to Los Angeles and mailed this morning might get there a week from today, with luck.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Alone but not lonely

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My dad was in the Air Force from 1950 to 1954, receiving an honorable discharge in December. After his discharge he worked for Missouri Pacific in Texas until his death by self-inflicted gunshot in 1961. Mom moved us to Brigham City UT after his death, which is where her side of the family was from.

Granddad also worked on Missouri Pacific, and the two of them often let me ride on the trains with them, either in the engine or the caboose (my choice!), between Kingsville TX and Bishop TX, a round trip distance of 10 miles. It was just a switch engine switching cars on tracks in rail yards in the two cities, and between them, so track speeds were not high.

The fascination with T&T (Tracks & Trains) had infected me, and northern Utah was a hot bed of activity for the Union Pacific Railroad. I was a fan.the-box-car-children

When I was in first grade in 1961 in Brigham City I read a book published in 1924 titled “The Box-Car Children.” I sooooooo wanted to be a Box-Car Child, and I did everything I could to make it happen, hanging out on the UP line between Brigham City and Ogden. I often walked the tracks down to Ogden and hopped a box car ride back, a round trip of 50 miles. Mom never knew because she was always too drunk. The life of a child with no love or discipline. The life of a box-car child.

The picture below, although taken in San Diego, very much reminded me of a time and a place 56 years ago, a time when one could walk the tracks, stand on the tracks, wait for the trains, no one else around, alone but not lonely…….

Tracks at sunset

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

It must be spring ’cause the spring tides are hitting San Diego next week

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It must be spring ’cause the spring tides are hitting San Diego next week, and they promise to be pretty good, if not spectacular.

Each day there are two high tides and two low tides. However, not all tides are equal. The highest of the high tides are called king tides, and there will be four days next week, January 10-13, when the king tides are proving their royalty:

  • January 10 — 7.23 feet at 7:12 a.m.
  • January 11 — 7.43 feet at 7:57 a.m.
  • January 12 — 7.41 feet at 8:41 a.m.
  • January 13 — 7.16 feet at 9:23 a.m.

The lowest of the low tides often accompany king tides. And that’s the case here:

  • January 10 — -1.59 feet at 2:16 p.m.
  • January 11 — -1.84 feet at 3:00 p.m.
  • January 12 — -1.83 feet at 3:41 p.m.
  • January 13 — -1.60 feet at 4:22 p.m.

Although I could not find a name for the lowest of the low tides, the combination of the lowest of the low and the highest of the high is called a spring tide (also neap tide).

Spring tides often are distinguished by the tidal range between the lowest low tide and it’s accompanying king tide. The largest tidal range for a spring tide in San Diego is 9.50 feet. We are predicted to fall short, but not by much:

  • January 10 — 8.82 feet
  • January 11 — 9.27 feet
  • January 12 — 9.24 feet
  • January 13 —  8.76 feet

Remember that these are predictions. Who knows what might happen with all this global warming and climate change stuff going on?

Low tides often expose rocky beaches that normally are completely under water….

Low spring tide in La Jolla CA

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And fun for the family members of all ages exploring ocean wildlife caught in the tide pools….

Tide pools in La Jolla CA

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

High tides on the other hand provide a different kind of opportunity—a little danger thrown in for excitement; don’t get washed out to sea.

High tide in Ocean Beach CA

High tide in Ocean Beach CA

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since king tides often occur during the winter months here in San Diego, the best ones are when they are in combination with a Pineapple Express winter storm as it rolls in from Hawaii and pushes tides even higher.

So…. Any guesses as to where I will be taking pictures and videos next week?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Did God help USC beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl yesterday?

I live in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Long-time readers know that I’m not much into religion. Haven’t been since 1993 when I spent 11 months studying the world’s great, and no so great, religions to see if there was a place in any of them for a newly out gay male. There wasn’t. Still isn’t. There are some that are, perhaps, tolerant, until a certain Sunday sermon comes along, and then it’s a little awkward to say the least.

Even if there were an all-knowing all-powerful god, if s/he is sitting around watching football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and all the other sports where some person on the victorious team thanks Jesus and God for letting them win, s/he is not the type of god that I would want to be associated with. An all-knowing all-powerful god should be putting an end to children’s hospitals, natural disasters, and accidents that take these people who are “too young to die.”

On the other hand, if God is in Ocean Beach fixing people’s cars so they don’t get into accidents, well, I’m all for that.

God's Garage in Ocean Beach, California Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I took that picture on Monday, January 2, around 10:30 a.m., which makes me think that it was closed because God had gone up to Pasadena to watch the Rose Bowl and help USC beat Penn State…………….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays (1-2-17)—Hit me with a shot of Black Velvet

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A couple of years ago one of my employees asked me who my favorite female singers were. He had noticed that my huge collection of music was pretty much devoid of female singers other than the occasional hit, such as “The Wayward Wind” by Gogi Grant.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since that time I have continued adding to my digital music collection by going through “Top Pop Singles” by Joel Whitburn. Page by page. Song by song. Listening to those songs on YouTube. If a song doesn’t make a hit with me within 30 seconds, I move on. Occasionally I find a song that I really like, such as “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I find something I really really like, such as “Black Velvet,” I will go to Wikipedia and look up that artist’s discography and listen to more of the artist’s music. I bought Alannah’s first album, “Alannah Myles,” but that was it.

This process has resulted in me adding some female singers to my collection.

I discovered The Bangles beyond “Manic Monday” and “Walk Like An Egyptian.” I now have a complete collection of The Bangles’ music.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I also discovered Bananarama, beyond “Venus,” which I had never liked anyway because it was a cover of the #1 hit by the Shocking Blue in 1970. I was 15 in 1970 and big into music, so a cover of that song 16 years later didn’t make it with me.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Listening to Bananarama’s version of “Venus” in 2016 with more of an open mind caused me to actually like it, and that caused me to check into Bananarama’s discography, of which I now have a complete collection, too.

They are not my favorite favorite female singer(s), though. That honor still belongs to Joan Jett.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Other favorite female singers that always have been well-represented in my music collection: Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship), Karen Carpenter, Stevie Nicks & Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac and as solo artists).

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Other female singer(s) that I have discovered using my new technique: Bonnie Tyler, Laura Branigan, Adele, and Pat Benatar.

I have several songs and albums by the first three but not a complete collection of any of their music.

With Pat Benatar, however, I now have a complete collection of her music. She might be my #2 favorite female singer now behind Joan Jett.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Snippets (12-28-16)—You’re a little different….

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something
Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

When two of my hard drives crashed concurrently in early October, my main concern was retrieving over a million photographs and videos. Fortunately, I got them all back, albeit at a cost of a couple of grand.

Now I’m in the process of cataloging all of them, deleting duplicates, and then, instead of backing up to an external hard drive, which is what I was doing when both drives crashed, I’m going to do backups to the cloud where there are multiple redundancies to prevent crashes and losses.

I have not chosen a cloud storage service so I’m open to suggestions.

SNIPPET 2

I am enjoying going through all the uncatalogued pictures and finding some gems, such as the following two. Feel free to provide your own caption.

A seal praying that Trump doesn’t destroy the worldSeal praying that Trump doesn't destroy the world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When one of the gang realizes you’re a little different
and still comes over to say hello.Seals & pelicanPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET 3

Joey Thaidigsman, freshman computer science major at the University of California at BerkeleyJoey Thaidigsman, the IT Director of Russel Ray (which comprises Photographic Art, Russel Ray Photos, and House Key News) is a freshman Computer Science major at the University of California at Berkeley. I’m proud to tell you that he earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average for his first semester. He wants to go into artificial intelligence. Hmmm. Maybe he IS artificial intelligence. I’ll keep an eye on him….

SNIPPET 4

Since Trump is intent on blowing up the world, Jim and I figured we would go out in style, so Christmas Eve afternoon we traded in our 2015 Honda Civic EX-L, which we bought on February 6, 2016, for a 2017 Honda Civic EX. We switched from a white exterior with beige leather interior to a “modern steel metallic” exterior (very dark gray, basically) with a black interior. The white/beige showed too much dust and dirt all the time, so we’re going to try the darker colors for a couple of years.

I think it’s the second most fun car Jim and I have owned, behind the 1998 Pontiac Trans Am. The other cars were a 1989 Saleen Ford Mustang GT, 1991 Honda Civic, 1998 Toyota Avalon, 2000 Honda Accord, 2002 Nissan Maxima, 2003 Toyota Camry, 2005 Nissan Altima, and a 2015 Toyota Corolla (which we still have).

It has two USB ports for the stereo system, great cruise control, dual-zone heating and cooling (convenient since, in 22½ years, Jim and I have never agreed on comfort temperature), and a moon roof for those starry starry nights.

2017 Honda Civic EX

2017 Honda Civic EX

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET 5

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season! Best wishes for health, happiness, peace, and prosperity in 2017 and beyond!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift for a special occasion?
Visit
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America

Photographic Art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat