Tag Archives: el cajon california

SNIPPETS (5-27-2018)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

Yesterday, Jim and I celebrated 24 years of knowing each other. Since we really never thought that we would be able to get married in our lifetimes, we decided to celebrate our anniversary as the day we met.

Then along came “Domestic Partnerships.” Such an ugly term. Nonetheless, we got domestic partnered on July 31, 2004. We even have a “Certificate of Domestic Partnership” issued by the California Secretary of State.

Then along came “Same-Sex Marriage.” Wrongly named. It should be “Same Gender Marriage.” Why is it always about sex? Nonetheless, when it looked like the voters were going to repeal same-sex marriage on the first Tuesday of November in 2008, Jim and I got married. On October 30.

So, basically, we get to celebrate three times each year. More margaritas for us! Yahoooooooooooo!

SNIPPET 2

Back in 1966, my wise old grandmother was sitting at the dining room table with her scissors, tape, Elmer’s glue, photo albums, scrapbooks, and dozens of pictures. She was cutting pictures apart and taping different sections together to give her the picture and story she wanted.

Pre-Photoshop cropping and merging.

She told me then that what comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with, teaching me to never throw away “throwaway pictures.”

Here is what many would call a throwaway picture of Zoey the Cool Cat:

Zoey the Cool Cat throwaway picture

Not sure what was going on at that time that resulted in such a cruddy picture. Nonetheless….

Here is what I created in Photoshop with that cruddy picture:

Zoey the Cool Cat drawing

I think the result is beautiful, perhaps even hauntingly beautiful.

SNIPPET 3

Beautiful, interesting sunrise this past Friday morning.

Sunrise in El Cajon CA

SNIPPET 4

I usually am not satisfied with panoramas that I create using Photoshop’s Photomerge function. It’s not Photoshop or Photomerge. It’s me not taking enough pictures to fill in the outside areas so I have to crop them.

In this panorama of the Point Loma Submarine Base in San Diego, with me standing smack dab in the middle of the base, I still didn’t take enough pictures but I like the effect that the missing pictures leave:

Point Loma submarine base in San Diego CA

SNIPPET 5

I’m making an educational display for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society’s Summer Show & Sale next weekend. It’s on container gardening, titled “You CAN grow any plant in any pot!”

I’m specifically focusing on containers without drainage holes so I’m making a slide show of all my plants that are growing happily in containers without drainage holes. I was so focused on this Ming Aralia that I did not see that I got photobombed by Zoey the Cool Cat.

Ming Aralia being photobombed by Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 6

The look on Zoey the Cool Cat’s face…..

Zoey the Cool Cat

Either she is upset that I found her, or she’s upset because she knows I’m going to put her on the Internet yet again.

SNIPPET 7

For my zombie friends.

Sticker on the back of a huge F350 pick-em-up truck in East San Diego County boondocks:

Zombie

SNIPPET 8

Ooopsy.

No photography

SNIPPET 9

When I was a freshman at Texas A&M University in 1973-1974, I would not be stretching it to say that I survived on Kraft macaroni & cheese, and PB&J (Peter Pan peanut butter and Bama Apple Butter) sandwiches.

At the age of 63, I could still do that except that Bama is not around here in San Diego.

With the Kraft Mac&Cheese, I modify it somewhat by adding chicken and jalapeños. Couple that with a margarita, and I’m in culinary heaven.

Chicken, jalapeños, and Kraft macaroni & cheese

SNIPPET 10

I have been squirrel- and rabbit-proofing my property. It seems to be working because this squirrel couldn’t get in and had to eat an Opuntia cactus in the Open Space Preserve on the other side of the fence.

Whenever I get in the cactus, I get a lot of thorns in my skin. Wish I were a squirrel!

SNIPPET 11

Zoey the Cool Cat has a rotation that she gets into. She’ll choose a spot and that will be where I can always find her for 3-5 days. Then she’ll choose a different spot. 3-5 days. Different spot. 3-5 days. On and on. When she runs out of spots, she’ll simply start over. Her spot for the past two days provides me with this view from my office:

View from the office

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 12

I just finished reading “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand. Published in 1943. Interestingly, I have a hard copy first edition in my library. Not sure where it came from, but since Jim has worked for Borders, Barnes & Noble, Warwick’s, B. Dalton, and Waldenbooks for 40 years, I’m pretty sure it was in his collection when we merged. He claims he doesn’t know where it came from either, though.

When I was trying to decide whether or not to read a book from 1943, I searched for online review. One was from President Dumb Jerk Twitler, saying that he had read it and considered himself Howard Roark, one of the main characters. Ha! The words, sentences, paragraphs, and book are waaaaaaaaay too long for his little brain, and he’s definitely NOT Howard Roark.

SNIPPET 13

Just started reading “The Crooked Staircase” by Dean Koontz. Jim brought home the “Advance Readers Edition” a couple of months ago but I was reading “The Fountainhead” so I just now started “The Crooked Staircase.” It went on sale My, 8, 2018, so check it out. I’ve read 50 pages, and like his two previous Jane Hawk novels, this one is going to be good. Read good.

Next up is “The Forbidden Door,” also by Dean Koontz. Jim brought home the “Advance Readers Edition” a couple of days ago. It goes on sale October 9, 2018, so I’ll definitely have read it by that time, probably by July 9, 2018.

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

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….and I had a college degree

Did you know?

According to the USPS, I now live in El Cajon CA, hometown of Jimmie Johnson, 2-time winner of the Daytona 500 as well as 7-time champion of the NASCAR Cup Series.

When I first started exploring El Cajon after moving out here, I discovered Jimmie Johnson Drive. It’s an extraordinarily busy main thoroughfare so I wasn’t able to get this picture until yesterday when I was on foot nearby after all the morning rush-hour traffic had dissipated and the traffic signals at both intersections were cooperating.

Jimmie Johnson Drive in El Cajon, California

Johnson’s rookie year was 1998, and, yes, he did win Rookie of the Year. Arguably, Jimmie Johnson’s best year was 2006 when he won the NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR All-Star Race, the Daytona 500,  the Brickyard 400, and his first Driver of the Year.

His first big year in terms of wins was 2003 when he won the NASCAR All-Star Race and the first of three consecutive Coca-Cola 600 races. He also came in third at the Daytona 500, on February 16, for which he won $717,526. His total earnings for 2003 were $7,745,530.

For the rest of the story, though, we need to go back to 2002 when he earned $3,788,268.  That’s a lot of money, and Johnson was living in a modest El Cajon home, which he decided to sell.

In early 2003 I, a home inspector at the time, got a call from prospective Clients, and agreed to do their home inspection for them. Whenever I scheduled a home inspection, I would always look up the public records to see how old the home was and who the owners were. The age would tell me a lot about the systems I would be inspecting, and knowing the owner’s name would allow me to address the owner properly (Mr., Mr. & Mrs., Miss, Dr.) if the owner happened to be there.

The owner in this case was Jimmie Johnson. Well, Jimmie and Johnson are somewhat common names, so no big deal. However, when I got to the house, there was a race car in the garage, being worked on, and racing trophies everywhere inside. That’s when I knew it was the one and only Jimmie Johnson.

I have been interested in racing ever since my second semester at Texas A&M University in Spring 1974. Terry LaBonte was one of my rampmates in Puryear Hall (sadly, Puryear and its mirror sister, Law, were demolished in 1997). Terry’s younger brother, Bobby, also got into racing, and both were extraordinarily successful. Terry & Bobby were from Corpus Christi, Texas, and since I was from Kingsville, 40 miles farther south towards the Mexico border, I had something in common with them. Our high schools were rivals.

Although Terry was enrolled at Texas A&M University, he wasn’t there much. He went home every weekend, or to Houston, to race in the local circuits there. Our rampmates didn’t understand why he was even at Texas A&M because he had no interest in anything that didn’t have something to do with cars and racing. Ultimately he did drop out of college and went full time on the racing circuit.

Terry’s first race as a professional was the 1978 Southern 500 (where he came in fourth and won $9,875) and his first win was the 1980 Southern 500. He won $222,501 in 1980. In comparison, I made something like $40,000 in 1980, and I had a college degree….

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

Out & About—Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Out & About

I found an online resource a couple of weeks ago that basically updates my library of San Diego books, all of which were published from 1989 to 1994. One of the first places I went after reading about it online was the Crestridge Ecological Reserve.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crestridge Ecological Reserve currently comprises 2,638 acres. Acquisition began in 1995, which explains why it is not in any of my San Diego books.

Before I even set foot on the Reserve, I was notified that some of the Republicans’ friends might be found:

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Visitors also were asked to stay alert for badgers and to inform the Reserve if any were seen.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crestridge Ecological ReserveSadly, during the 2½ hours I spent walking around the Reserve on the trails, I saw not a single species of wildlife—no snakes, no badgers, not even a bird!

Maybe birds don’t get up as early as I do…. Wait! I thought the early bird got the worm! Oh, I am so confused.

Just past the various signs but before the Visitor Center, I found a graveyard.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since my Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University is in forest management, I knew that it wasn’t a graveyard. Those are protective cones used to prevent wildlife like rabbits and deer from eating the vegetation inside the cone.

Just across the trail from those cones was a 10-acre meadow, the Crestridge Grasslands, where serious restoration is in progress:

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Purple needlegrassIn this case, most of the cones are protecting purple needlegrass (Nasella pulchra).

Purple needlegrass became the state grass of California in 2004. It ranges from the Oregon border at the north to the Mexico border at the south, and an individual plant can live for a hundred years. It was a food source for native Indians, as well as being the main food source for horses and cattle in California’s wild, wild west. It also happens to be the preferred material used by the California Indian Basket Weavers to teach children the art of basket weaving.

In an ecological reserve, one of the primary purposes is to replace non-native vegetation with native vegetation. In the Crestridge Grasslands, students from several school districts, as well as volunteers, plant and care for the area, providing a service to the community while learning science and restoration skills.

The visitor center, not open at 7:00 a.m. when I was there, is quite beautiful. It has some interesting benches, and there are unique tiles in the grounds surrounding the center.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Part of the mission of the reserve is education. There was a very interesting area set up for composting.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s easy to forget that this reserve is smack dab in the middle of a suburban area and bounded on one side by busy Interstate 8. The rust-colored trails reveal the soil’s iron-rich composition, and huge granite boulders and outcroppings occur throughout the reserve, including this Hobbit House:

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The trails are wide and clean, with no major long-distance gains in elevation, making for a leisurely walk. You do have to stay on the trails, though, because poison oak and poison ivy like it here, too.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crestridge Ecological Reserve is one of the most significant pieces of land set aside for nature in Southern Californa. It has everything ecologically significant to Southern California, including sensitive butterflies, bobcats, and an ancient Indian village where people once ground acorns in mortars of smooth boulders.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since the reserve is in the midst of so many suburban cities—Lakeside, Santee, Crest, El Cajon, Alpine, and Blossom Valley—other problems have to be dealt with. In October 2003, someone drove a bulldozer onto the reserve and destroyed an acre of native vegetation, including at least one 200-year-old oak tree, and built 8-foot-high motorcycle jumps. Shortly afterwards, surveillance cameras documented 18 motorcycles on the reserve.

There is a house on one of the peaks, apparently belonging to the Reserve’s main caretaker. From the driveway around the house, there is a nice view of Interstate 8 and the cities below.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crestridge Oak GroveAlso within the reserve is the Crestridge Oak Grove. It’s in pretty bad shape, so there weren’t any good pictures to be had. Most of the oaks are Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia), but there are also some Engelmann Oak (Quercus engelmanii) and Shrub Oak (Quercus dumosa). The mature Coast Live Oaks range in age from 100 to 200 years. I didn’t see any mature Engelmann oaks, but I did find a couple of young’uns.

Engelmann Oak

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Oak woodlands provide food, water, and shelter for about 350 species of wildlife, as well as providing the basis of watersheds which provide drinking water for millions of Californians. At one point a couple of hundred years ago, oak woodlands covered about 10 million acres in California. Population growth resulting in urban and suburban sprawl through agricultural conversion have profoundly affected the land and our resources.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Under Cloudy Skies

Picture of the Moment

We don’t get a lot of beautiful cloud formations here in San Diego. It’s usually either sunny or a dull, gray, overcast nothingness.

When we do get nice cloud formations, the masses take to the outdoors to capture pictures. The masses, yes, includes me.

Here is downtown El Cajon, California, recently, under a late afternoon partly cloudy sky:

Downtown El Cajon, California, Under Cloudy Skies

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture titled “Under Cloudy Skies” is for sale at Fine Art America.

Location of El Cajon, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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Visit Russel Ray Photos.

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U.S.A!

Two of the biggest, baddest birds to ever fly the skies

Halls of History

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have always loved history. A history teacher was my second desired profession when I was a youth — my first was an anesthesiologist, simply because I could spell it.

My interest in history demands that I attend air shows whenever and wherever I can. Started that as a freshman at Texas A&M University in 1973.

Our “Wings Over Gillespie” air show was this past weekend in El Cajon, and I was there to see one of the biggest, baddest birds to ever fly the skies:

Douglas C53-D Sky Trooper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Douglas C53-D Sky Trooper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Douglas C53-D Sky Trooper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Douglas C53-D Sky Trooper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Douglas C53-D Sky Trooper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That’s a Douglas C53-D (DC-3) Sky Trooper — parked to takeoff to flight to landing. It is based in Riverside, California, as part of the Commemorative Air Force. This specific Sky Trooper, M2-R 268830, actually took part in delivering paratroopers to the beaches of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. A big, bad bird.

And here’s the second of our biggest, baddest birds to ever fly the skies:

Bald eagle in residence at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That big, bad bird is a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), the national bird of the United States of America. Rescued as an injured juvenile and rehabilitated by the San Diego Zoo, its injuries prevent it from being released back into the wild. It has to live out its life at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park. Big, bad bird.

And one final picture from the “Wings Over Gillespie” Air Show in honor of our living soldiers and in memory of our fallen soldiers who gave their lives so we could live:

U.S.A!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

United States Air Force

If America can’t produce products for our own Government, what chance do we have?

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yesterday I went to the “Wings Over Gillespie” air show in El Cajon, California. I’ve been to the last ten but I still had to go by myself. My friends just don’t want to get up early to beat the crowds. I need new friends…..

The parking attendant was soliciting for military families in need and he offered me a real nice United States Air Force cap for a donation:

United States Air Force

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since I’m the son of an Air Force pilot, I was only too happy to choose the United States Air Force cap for my donation.

When I got home I found that it is an official licensed product.

Official licensed product of the U.S. Air Force

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That’s great, but see that black square. I did that because I didn’t want you, dear reader, to get ahead of things here.

I think that if an official part of the United States Government — i.e., the United States Air Force — has an official licensed product — this baseball cap — it would be reasonable to presume that the official licensed product of the official part of the United States Government might be made in, oh, I don’t know, maybe the United States? Ha!

Hecho in China

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Made in China! Okay, I can understand that…. kind of…. Actually, no, I can’t. An official licensed product of a section of the United States Government — and the Air Force of all sections! — should be made in the good old U.S. of A.

If America can’t produce products for our own Government, what chance do we have?

And what’s with the “Hecho en China”? Hecho en is Spanish. It’s not English or Chinese. Who are they kidding? Was this made in Mexico for the Chinese? Oh, the horrors of this whole situation. I think I’m going to go take a catnap.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blue Angels Mustang

I want one!

Out & About San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blue Angels Mustang

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blue Angels Mustang

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blue Angels Mustang

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blue Angels Mustang

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blue Angels Mustang

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unfortunately, it is the only one in the world, and the Blue Angels were not willing to give it to me, even though I told them that I really, really, really, really, really, really, really like them.

Blue Angels Mustang stats:

  • 624 horsepower
  • 5L Whipple Supercharged Engine
  • Custom real spoiler with vertical tail fins and one-of-a-kind chrome blue paint with “screaming yellow” gloss accents
  • Leather Recaro racing seats
  • Designed by Darrell Behmer, Mustang Chief Designer; Melvin Betancourt, Design Manager; and David Pericak, Mustang Chief Engineer

Pictures taken on June 3, 2012, at “Wings Over Gillespie” air show in El Cajon, California.

I want one.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos