Tag Archives: joey thaidigsman

Fine fine fine super computer makes picture editing fun again

Out & About

I have a few billion pictures that are uncatalogued, mainly because I never had a good computer that made it fun to catalog them. That is not the case anymore. My fine fine fine new super computer, running Windows 10 Pro, makes it fun. Adobe’s products seem to be able to take advantage of Windows 10 Pro, too, not to mention all the cool stuff (like 32 GB of RAM) that is in my fine fine fine new super computer, so Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop just zoom along like there’s no tomorrow.

I’m currently cataloging pictures of Imperial Beach which I took from 2010 to 2015. Following are a few for your viewing pleasure. The panoramas were created from multiple pictures stitched together using Photoshop’s Photomerge function.

An ocean bird paying homage to the Great Ocean where it gets its food:

Bird praying to the ocean

The Tijuana River is said to be one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Although it has several tributaries that originate in the United States, the main part of the river runs through Mexico for over a hundred miles before meandering into the United States for its final five miles. Mexico has few regulations regarding pollution relative to the United States, so it picks up a lot of really yukky stuff in Tijuana (pop. 1.6 million) and carries it into the United States, leaving the U.S. to do all it can to clean the water before it reaches the Pacific Ocean. Thanks to President Twitler’s destruction of the EPA, soon we will match Mexico in out disdain for clean rivers. Following is the Tijuana River where it meets the Pacific Ocean near Imperial Beach, looking rather beautiful on October 3, 2012. Click on the pictures for larger versions in separate windows or tabs.

Tijuana River near its mouth with the Pacific Ocean

Tijuana River meeting the Pacific Ocean

If you love wildlife, especially ocean and beach birds, the mouth of the Tijuana River is a great place to watch them.

Birds at the mouth of the Tijuana River

Imperial Beach, just south of the Tijuana River, is the most southwesterly city in the lower 48 states. It has one of the cleanest and widest beaches and one of the best piers, and it’s not a tourist trap like many of San Diego County’s beaches.

Imperial Beach's clean, wide beach and the Imperial Beach pier

A bird’s eye view of Imperial Beach surfers from the pier; the San Diego skyline barely visible at upper left is 10 miles in the distance:

Bird's eye view of Imperial Beach surfers and Imperial Beach

Another another shout out to Joey Thaidigsman, a sophomore computer science major at the University of California at Berkeley, who built my fine fine fine super computer, named THE BEAST.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPETS—I’m exhausted. I quit. It’s margarita time.



I went to a photographer’s wine tasting yesterday in the Temecula Valley Wine Country. There is mile after mile after mile of vineyards, wineries, and tasting or other special events. I was the only guy in our group (ignore the photobombing dogs, one of which was a guy). I always have been an outcast.

Winery tour


I want to give a shout out to Joey Thaidigsman who just finished his freshman year at the University of California at Berkeley with a 3.96 GPA in computer science. I may need to help him with future courses involving the subject matter of that course he got an A- in………….

Joey Thaidigsman, freshman computer science major at the University of California at Berkeley


I give a specific shout out to Joey Thaidigsman because, now a sophomore computer science major at the University of California, Berkeley, but home for the summer, he built me a fine fine fine super computer for all my photo and video editing.

It’s a beast.

What used to take 30 minutes now takes 30 seconds.


  1. Intel 7th Gen Core Desktop Processor i7-7700K (BX80677I77700K), $337.00
  2. Samsung 850 EVO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E1T0B/AM), $349.99
  3. ASUS PRIME Z270-A LGA1151 DDR4 DP HDMI DVI M.2 USB 3.1 Z270 ATX Motherboard, $159.99
  4. Corsair LPX 32GB DRAM 3000MHz C15 Memory Kit for DDR4 Systems, $259.99
  5. MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 DirectX 12 VR Ready (GeForce GTX 1060 GAMING X 6G), $259.99
  6. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan, $24.99
  7. Corsair Carbide Series 200R Compact ATX Case for H55, H60, H75, H80i (CC-9011023-WW), $58.99
  8. Sabrent 75-in-1 Multi Flash Media Card Reader/writer(With power cord) (CRW-UINB), $12.14
  9. EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G1, 80+ GOLD 650W, Fully Modular, 10 Year Warranty, Includes FREE Power On Self Tester Power Supply 120-G1-0650-XR, $79.99
  10. LG 27UD58-B 27-Inch 4K UHD IPS Monitor with FreeSync, $344.99

Pictures, new on the left, old on the right:

Fine fine fine new super computer compared to old computer

Fine fine fine new 4K super monitor compared to old monitor


When I graduated from Texas A&M University sometime in the late 1970s, I wanted to work in a forest somewhere, sitting in a lonely fire lookout tower like the one below, where I sat today for about an hour watching the beginnings of the Gate Fire 80 miles away. My 600mm lens made the Gate Fire look like it was just down the road. It burned over 2,000 acres and is now 100% contained. High overnight humidity and low winds for two consecutive days helped fire fighters control the fire with no loss of buildings or life, other than the plant life, of course.

Boucher Tower, a fire lookout tower
built in 1948 on Palomar Mountain in Southern California
to replace an older tower built in 1921.
Boucher Tower was closed in 1991
but has been open to tourists since 2013.
There are volunteers who staff the tower
during fire season, which began May 1.

Boucher Tower, a fire lookout tower on Palomar Mountain in Southern California

The Gate Fire near Jamul CA
about 30 minutes after it started
and seen from 80 miles away
and 5,438 feet elevation in the Boucher Tower.

The Gate Fire near Jamul CA about 30 minutes after it started and from 80 miles away and 5,300 feet elevation

With the amount of rain we had this past winter, I think it’s going to be a bad fire season.

Fire on the freeway


I have resisted moving from the classic WordPress editor to the new one. I thought the new one was disorganized, clunky, and slow.

Normally I do 10 SNIPPETS in a SNIPPETS post. Takes me about an hour. Using the classic editor.

Today I switched to the new, disorganized, clunky, and slow editor. It has taken me three hours to create this SNIPPETS post with just 5 SNIPPETS in it.

I’m exhausted.

I quit.

It’s margarita time.

Margaritas at On The Border in El Cajon, California

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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


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.


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


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….


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


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?
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

Music on Mondays (10-3-2016)—”Daddy’s Car”

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Although I am officially a Baby Boomer, I identify much more with the post-World War II television generation. Not sure if there is such a gen, but if there isn’t, there should be.

My favorites were TV programs that my wise old grandmother deemed “silly.” In other words, things that “aren’t true and never will be.”

She was watching “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.”

I was watching “The Twilight Zone.”

Her, “Mayberry R.F.D.”

Me, “The Outer Limits.”

Her, “Leave It To Beaver.”

Me, “It’s About Time.”

I have always been fascinated by robots, artificial intelligence, the future, the unknown. Even my favorite cartoon was about the future—“The Jetsons,” a 1962 cartoon depicting a family of the future. What would my wise old grandmother say about all the silly Jetsons’ stuff that has come true? Flying cars, jet packs, robotic help, holograms, 3-D printed food, drones, smart shoes, smart watches, even little Elroy taking a trip to the moon with his Cub Scout pack.

Technology here, today.

It got more exciting for me: “Star Trek,”  “Lost In Space,” “The Time Tunnel.”

My fascination with all things silly and not possible shot up last week when it was announced that an artificial intelligence (AI) program had written a Beatles song. Hmmmm. Here it is:

“Daddy’s Car”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In all fairness, only the music was composed by the AI program. French composer Benoît Carré arranged and produced the song, and wrote the lyrics.

What do I think? Well, I can see “Daddy’s Car” being on “The Beatles Anthology” CDs right alongside “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love.”

“Free As A Bird”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Real Love”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As Sir Paul McCartney said about “The Anthology” CDs, loosely quoted: “There’s a reason we didn’t release this stuff. But if people want to hear it…..” None of the three songs are classic Beatles, of course. Two are early outtakes by John Lennon, post-Beatles breakup. The other one is interesting, but AI still has a way to go. I’m thinking AI might get there, though, perhaps even in my lifetime. After all, Deep Blue plays a better game of chess then do I….

Here I have to give a shout out to a business partner friend,
Joey Thaidigsman, who is a freshman computer science major
at the University of California-Berkeley, wanting to go into
artificial intelligence.


My considered opinion after being a Beatles fan for 51 years? I’m going with “Daddy’s Car.”

And while this post is about AI and The Beatles, I end with my favorite song about AI and the future:

“Yours Truly, 2095” by Electric Light Orchestra, 1981

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat