Tag Archives: wordpress

SNIPPETS (9-16-2018)



Oh, dear.

I never switched to the “easier way to create posts on WordPress.com” because I didn’t find the new editor easier.

I just logged in to my blog and find that WordPress.com now is developing their “Gutenberg” editor. I was offered the choice to try it out while it’s still in development, so I did. One look at it, and I deactivated it.

Gutenberg is a “block editor,” which means you edit things in blocks. I have vast experience with block editors since most of the email programs use block editors (I have been using Mailchimp for six years); I absolutely despise them. They are the most difficult things in the world to use. Just give me a good HTML editor and I’m happy.

If WordPress.com forces us to use Gutenberg once it’s fully developed, my blogging days at WordPress.com here at Russel Ray Photos shall come to an end. Since I have an upgraded blog that costs $99 a year, if I quit paying that $99, everything I have written over the past six years will disappear into thin air.

Oh, well.

That just means I can start over again on a different blogging platform, and everything old shall be new again!


I have been looking for nice, durable, strong, good-looking outdoor furniture that I can display some of my larger plants on. Finally, at Wayfair.com, I found a lot, and I ordered a lot. My first order arrived this past week. Here it is, a two-shelf wood/metal table with my huge Mammillaria displayed nicely on it.

Outdoor table from Wayfair

The wood is solid Paulownia, lightest-to-strongest-ratio wood species in the world, and the metal is recycled aircraft-grade aluminum pipes. Extremely easy to assemble (i.e., NOT IKEA!). I like it so much that I ordered two more.


My first experience with Wayfair.com was several months ago when I ordered a “mushroom stool” to use as a side table outside on my patio. It is exposed to the elements, which here in San Diego means mostly sun, and still looks as new as the day it arrived. Recently I ordered three more and moved the first one to the other side of the house where I display an expensive Aloe in a custom display that I made specifically for it:

Mushroom stool from Wayfair

The rocks are real rocks from out here in the East San Diego County boondocks. They are glued together with GE 100% silicone with a hole in the middle filled with cactus soil. The pot and rocks (and plant!) weigh 53 pounds, so it really did need something strong to sit on besides the ground. When the other mushroom stools arrive, that pot sitting on the ground to the right also will be placed on one but about twenty feet down the deck.


When I win the lottery

(which will be never because, uh, I would have to play the lottery, and I don’t),

I want to buy about 5,000 acres and create a dog sanctuary with 2,000 acres, a cat sanctuary with 2,000 acres, and an “Other pets” sanctuary with 1,000 acres, and have enough money left over to hire people to manage the place so that all I have to do is walk around and give lots of love to lots of pets.

Texas A&M UniversityOf course, I’ll have 5,000 acres of gardens, too, so the cats can climb in trees, the dogs can, uh, raise their legs on trees, and I can finally use my forestry degree from Texas A&M University (Class of ’77).


Update on Zoey the Cool Cat’s diabetic diet.

End of week four.

After becoming a floor cat and refusing to jump up on anything for four months, she now has jumped up on the bed four consecutive nights and made herself at home, usually between my legs. She’s losing weight; moving about the house to find all the sunny spots during the day; jumping up on shelves, chairs, and beds; and returning to her old feisty, playful self.

Thank you Hill’s W/D prescription diet!

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat


I guess margarita didn’t fit.

Bureeto car


Found deep in in the East San Diego County boondocks, but what is it?

What is it?


Uh-oh. The chicken is heading towards the road. You know what that means but we still don’t know why.

Chicken heading for the road


I was in the El Cajon Home Depot a few days ago at 6:00 a.m. Dad and his 6-year-old son were there. Son was standing in front of the skeleton canines pointing and crying. He was frightened.

Halloween at Home Depot two months early

Dad was over at the battery rack ignoring his son. I felt so sorry for the little kid. My first question, though, was “What dad takes his 6-year-old son to Home Depot at six in the morning?” Kids should be in bed at that time of day!


Killers of the Flower MoonI have always enjoyed history, which includes etymology. I just started reading “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Gramm.

On page 11 is the etymology of Whizbang, Oklahoma (no longer a town, just a road – Whizbang Road – on the Osage Reservation):

“….the reservation’s tumultuous boomtowns, which had sprung up to house and entertain oil workers—towns like Whizbang, where, it was said, people whizzed all day and banged all night.”

Stunning visual, but I could not find a video on YouTube…..


We get lots of beautiful sunsets in the east here in San Diego, but only after the sun goes down in the west. Something to do with the curvature of the Earth, reflections, etc. Here’s a sunset in the east taken by the dash cam in my car on September 14, 2018:

Sunset in the east in San Diego, California


Zoey the Cool Cat has something to say about the current election season:

Elect functioning adults in November 2018


“I give the fight up: let there be an end, a privacy, an obscure nook for me. I want to be forgotten even by God.”

—Robert Browning, “Paracelsus,” 1835


From a news story:

“Families help shape you as an individual, and they’re always there for you, no matter what.”

Well, if the family happens to be Mormons and Catholics, and you happen to be gay, no, they are not “always there for you, no matter what.”


From a news story:

“….[M]any corporations donate to both political parties. You never know which way the winds will turn, so you might as well have a bribe in both camps.”

Fight organized crime


This little cat often welcomes me at the back door when I arrive at Friends of Cats. It’s a Turkish Van, a breed that I had never heard of. Very beautiful!

Turkish Van cat at Friends of Cats sanctuary in El Cajon, California

Turkish Van cat at Friends of Cats sanctuary in El Cajon, California


Slowly but surely I’m working my way out of this severe depression caused by retirement, i.e., not having anything to do.

My mother-in-law’s boyfriend told me about San Diego Oasis, providing programs for the elderly. I checked them out and immediately volunteered to help K-6 children who have been identified as lagging behind their classmates in their reading skills.

I also proposed a new program for them, a chess club. In my proposal I mentioned my playing experience, my teaching experience, and my chess club experience. I also told them that I was a firm believer in keeping the mind active and that an active mind can prevent the onslaught of dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, etc. The San Diego Oasis Program Council liked my idea for creating a chess club, called me for further details, and has approved me starting a chess club with the Spring 2019 curriculum. I’m so happy!

Here is a picture of some of the members of the La Mesa Outdoor Chess Club that I helped start in August 2013:

La Mesa chess club


Every bookshelf needs a great adornment.

Zoey the Cool Cat on the bookshelf


This little one is Max. He is one of my favorite cats in Cozy Cottage at Friends of Cats.

Max at Friends of Cats sanctuary in El Cajon, California

I love his long ear hairs. Max is in Lifetime Care and is not adoptable. Usually Lifetime Care means that the owner died or otherwise had to give up the cat, possibly going to assisted living himself. Friends of Cats will take cats into Lifetime Care with just a $5,000 contribution. Doesn’t matter how old the cat is.

Max is described as a “long-hair brown tabby with white.” Since tabby is a coloring and not a breed, that probably means that Max is a Domestic Long-haired cat, or as we knew them back in my youth in Kingsville, Texas, an “alley cat.”

He’s such a sweetie.


My wise old grandmotherMy wise old grandmother was a conservationist before it was fashionable. She constantly told me,

“Do not throw things away! There is no away!”

To this day, I recycle whatever I can because I firmly believe something else that she told me:

“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

In today’s world with eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and all these groups on Facebook where one can buy or sell things, it’s amazing what people are willing to buy and how much they are willing to pay. I speak from experience, both as a seller and as a buyer.

One can even buy and sell plants online, and in plant auctions. Here’s the first plant that I bought in an online plant auction, an Operculicarya pachypus:

Operculicarya pachypus

I’m not telling you how much I paid…………..

The seller was located in West Hollywood (suburb of Los Angeles), and I guessed who it was based on his email address at eBay. Since I knew him, and had his phone number, and wanted this plant badly, I called him and asked if I could drive to his place and pick it up instead of having him ship it to me.

The problem with shipping plants is that sellers almost always ship plants “bare root,” which means they take them out of the containers, shake off all the soil from the roots, wrap the roots in moist napkins and such, and ship the plants. Shipping expenses are less.

Some plants can take that, some can’t.

Because of what I paid for this beautiful little tree, I didn’t want to take the chance, especially since I was unfamiliar with its growing requirements, so I drove to Los Angeles to pick it up.

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



WordPress problems resolved!

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 is fast, fast, fast, fast, fast.

As many of you know, I have been having WordPress problems since January 2, 2014. Many things:

  1. LIKE buttons were not loading on any blog whose URL ended with wordpress.com. Other blogs were fine. Just those ending with wordpress.com were problematic.
  2. Most of the time, not always though, I could not comment on blogs either. This problem affected all blogs, not just those whose URL ended with wordpress.com.
  3. My blog would not load correctly the first time. I would have to refresh or reload it in order to get it to work.
  4. My site stats would not load at all. Never.
  5. The gold star notification at the upper right would not work unless I clicked on the star twice.

SkyTower at SeaWorld San DiegoToday I had some extra time while preparing to go Dine With Shamu at SeaWorld. I could not access the WordPress Help Forums from anywhere on my blog like I could prior to January 2, 2014, so I went to Google, typed in wordpress help forums, and got to them that way.

I spent several hours reading through several hundred threads in the Help Forums before I finally found a clue about what might be happening. The clue was in a very long thread and was about the hundredth comment from someone outside of WordPress, someone like me who was having problems.

The clue was that the commenter was of the firm belief that WordPress was not compatible with Internet Explorer 10. I knew that I had upgraded from IE9 to IE10 but I didn’t know when. I pulled up my computer records and what do you know? I upgraded from IE9 to IE10 the night of January 1, 2014. Ah-ha!

I tried to downgrade from IE10 to IE9 but that apparently isn’t possible. All of the computers that I use daily are running IE10. I pulled out an old laptop computer that I don’t use anymore but which I knew had IE9 on it. Sure enough, I had no WordPress problems on the old computer using IE9.

I saw that IE11 was available, so since I couldn’t downgrade to IE9, I considered upgrading to IE11. I created a restore point on my Windows 7 computer so that if IE11 really caused problems, I could easily go back to IE10. Well, not only did IE11 load easily and quickly, but I have no more WordPress problems. LIKE buttons are loading, my stats page is showing up again, etc.

So there you have it! The problem wasn’t with my computer per sé but with a computer program that I needed in order to even get to my WordPress blog. The interesting thing is that apparently when Internet Explorer is your main browser, Firefox, Chrome, etc., don’t override everything in Internet Explorer. That explains why I was having the same problems in Firefox and Chrome.

I’m so happy! I can go blog camping again now, something that I really missed doing these past three months.

Lastly, not only is my Internet browsing so much faster than it was with IE10, but my whole computer seems to be much faster. Can’t explain it, but it is what it is.

And following a close-up of Shamu from this evening’s Dine With Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego. Jim and I were sitting about three feet from four Shamus, separated only by a piece of glass four feet tall.

Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego on March 29, 2014

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

Zoey the Cool Cat

It’s a good thing I can multitask


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yesterday afternoon it started.

Seems every blog post I visited and tried to like or comment on refused to accommodate me.

It’s been that way all day today.

Fortunately, I’ve been cataloging pictures and creating some necessary documents for my new enterprise.

Photographic Art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So I haven’t been slowed down other than in my daily rounds of reading blogs, liking, and commenting (RLC).

Of course, now I am far behind, and I suspect some of my new followers in this new year have decided to unfollow me since I haven’t been over to their blogs to do any RLC.

What I discovered today, though, is that the only blog posts that are problematic are those which have a URL ending with wordpress.com. If your blog is like mine, either a self-hosted blog or an upgraded WordPress.com blog without wordpress.com in the URL, they are okay. It’s just the blogs ending in wordpress.com, so if you have such a URL and are wondering why no one has been by to like or comment on your posts, now you know.

As soon as WordPress gets its act together, I shall continue my daily rounds.

Dear WordPress: Please send me an email when you have everything working again.

Which reminds me of a joke I heard several years ago on The Comedy Channel: “The best thing about Wikipedia is that anyone can add to it or edit it. The worst thing about Wikipedia is that anyone can add to it or edit it.”

Such similarly is the case with open source software such as WordPress—Anyone can contribute, but that doesn’t mean that what they contribute is worthwhile or free of bugs.

With that out of the way, I leave you with a picture of Zoey the Cool Cat in her newest home.

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Is she not a content little kitty?

She gets a new home each week, courtesy of Costco. However, I recently discovered that she doesn’t have to have a new home each week as long as the old home gets remodeled. Remodeling is easy. A few bags, sacks, or scrap paper torn up or wrinkled up and thrown into the bottom of the house and she’s a happy little one.

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, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bird of Paradise

Roll with me, Henry


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since this post requires work on your part, I think it’s only appropriate that your employer (me!) provide you with music to work by, so roll with me here, Henry.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many people use WordPress for blogging without actually meaning to make WordPress work for them in terms of Internet exposure and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I do both. Let me explain.

WordPress will love you if you will love WordPress. It takes a little work on your part, such as a consistent blog post. I do at least one blog post per day, sometimes two, and I’ve even done five in one day. Just depends on what else I have going on, but at the absolute minimum I make sure that I get that one blog post up each day.

Another part of your work is to use tags. Let me show you how this works and why it’s important to WordPress.

Early this morning (very early, like sometime around 4:00 a.m.), I published a post titled “In honor of Mitt Romney & snake oil salesmen everywhere.” I used three tags:

  1. snake pictures
  2. San Diego Zoo pictures
  3. Mitt Romney is a snake

The last tag I added by editing the post several minutes after I had published it, just to see what might happen with the search engines.

Here’s where you have to work. Go to Google (google.com) and in the search box type “Mitt Romney is a snake.” The very first return is Romney’s own web site. How funny.

The majority of the other search returns are from such famous and well-known people as Mark Hamil/Luke Skywalker, Lawrence O’Donnell, Tommy Holeman, and Run DNC. They take up the first four pages of Google search returns. One would think that little ol’ Russel Ray of Russel Ray Photos could not compete with those people. But go to page 5 of your search returns. Look at the return that is third from the bottom! That’s me!

Mitt Romney is a snake, by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you don’t see me on page 5, look on page 6, or 7, etc., until you find me. I will never move up, but I will move down as people search for “Mitt Romney” and “snake” relating to those famous people.

The key to this is “fresh content,” and that’s where your daily blog post comes in. As you get started, Google might only visit your blog once each quarter. However, when Google comes by and finds that you’ve done 90 posts during that quarter, one each day, Google says to itself, “Self, come by this blog more often to see what this blogger is up to.”

For the next quarter, Google might come by once a month. If you continue to do 30 blog posts per month, Google will say to itself, “Self, let’s come by this blog once a week instead of once a month.”

See where we’re going with this?

Eventually, due to your blogging consistency, Google will be by almost instantaneously after you publish a blog post. As soon as Google indexes you, that will most likely be your highest position in the search returns. I’m on page 5 right now, but at 8:00 this morning, I was at the bottom of page 3.

The fact that you can show up so quickly, as well as move down quickly, too, is why you need to blog daily, persistently and consistently, especially if you actually are trying to get Google to put you in the search returns on page 1 or close to it.

Bird of Paradise

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

Barn owl

Is there a WordPress store where one can buy LIKEs and comments?


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’ve been camping out in blogs for the last hour or so and stumbled upon something that has me wondering. It’s not the first time but it was by far the most puzzling.

Here’s the scenario: Blogger has very few posts in his blog, as few as six in the most recent one I saw. The first post had 129 LIKEs and 60 comments. The fourth post had 441 LIKEs and 241 comments. The first post was published in early May, and the most recent post was published on May 21.

I’m confused.

Is there a WordPress store where one can buy LIKEs and comments?

Barn owl

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

Giant panda at the San Diego Zoo

Is everyone becoming a Jack-of-all-trades?



I discovered at least one problem with camping out in someone’s blog: It can be extremely difficult to find more than one post, and camping, almost by definition, requires that there be a lot to read, like, and comment on.

It shouldn’t take five minutes to find your recent posts, and then, once I do, another two minutes to get back to the point where I can select another post to read…. EACH TIME!

I think I see the problem here and it’s something that happens every decade or so when new technology reaches the masses.

For example, back in the late 1970s computers entered the home, and in the early to mid-1980s, they became cheap enough that 80% of the people had one. Then the software arrived, which allowed anyone owning a computer to pretend that s/he was a CPA (Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel), or a secretary (Word), or a graphic designer (CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator).

Ten years later digital photography came to the masses, and just a few years after that they were cheap enough so that everyone has a camera, allowing those same people who were pretending to be CPA’s, secretaries, and graphic designers to now pretend to be photographers.

Fast forward yet another ten years and WordPress has made it so that it’s extremely easy to have your own web site. Those same people who were pretending to be CPA’s, secretaries, graphic designers, and photographers now pretend that they are webmasters and know how to design a web site to make it easy to navigate.

Is everyone becoming a Jack-of-all-trades?

Now if someone can just find a way for me to have a giant panda, I can pretend that I am a Zookepper.

Giant panda at the San Diego Zoo


This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Hear me roar!

Hear me roar!

I left home at 6:30 a.m. yesterday and returned at 4:00 p.m. When I left I had 0 emails. Zip. Zilch. Nada. When I returned I had 353 emails. All except 11 of them were from my WordPress blogging friends. And one person put up 37 posts yesterday!

It takes time to open each individual email, read it, click on the link, read the blog post, and comment or click the like button. Lots of time, as I found out yesterday.

Ostrich eggsI’m not retired, only close to retirement age, meaning that I still have to work to pay the bills. And after Bernie Madoff and the Great Recession wiped out half the nation’s nest eggs, or at least cracked them open so the yolk ran out and dried up, many people this close to retirement age won’t be able to retire, probably including me. Or maybe I’m just a workaholic. Either way, this isn’t working.

Here’s the system that I’m implementing because I’ve found that it worked for the past four years at the site where I used to hang out before many of the people and the site administrators became so negative:

  1. First I created an Excel spreadsheet to track my interactions with all my WordPress blogging friends.
  2. I’m going to basically ignore emails from my WordPress friends.
  3. Each time you like one of my posts, I’ll note it and the date in my spreadsheet.
  4. Walk to my place, I'll walk to yoursEach time you comment on one of my posts, I’ll note it and the date in my spreadsheet.
  5. If anyone who is not following me decides to follow me, I’ll note it and the date in my spreadsheet.
  6. Each and every day after all my daily tasks and work is done, I’ll pull up my spreadsheet, sort it by date, oldest first, and go like, comment, and follow people who have liked, commented, and followed me. I’ll note that in my spreadsheet. I will like and comment at least as many times at your blog as you have at mine, sometimes more. I’ve been known to camp out in someone’s blog, liking and commenting, until my eyes won’t stay open.
  7. At that point you might not hear from me for a few days. Have no fear, though, because if you come back, I’ll be back to see you, too. “Tit for tat” my wise old grandmother would say.
  8. As an example, Victoria Photography visited my blog yesterday and left two likes. Today I’ll got by Victoria’s blog and do some reading. I’ll leave at least two likes, providing that I haven’t already liked everything. If I have to dig deep to find something I haven’t liked, so be it. If I can’t find anything to like or comment on, I’ll note that in my spreadsheet and try again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, until I do. Maybe my comment will be an encouragement to try to post a little more often instead of just reading and liking someone else’s posts. I like to get to know people, but if you don’t tell me anything about you in your blog, that’s difficult to do.

Sit down and relaxThere you have it. If it doesn’t make sense, it will once you see how it works. So sit down and relax.

As my wise old grandmother would say, “Life is a journey, not an end. Enjoy the journey.” To which I would always add, “And take lots of pictures to share.”

Feel free to like this post…. or to comment, even if just to tell me how analytically crazy I am, something I’ve known for 46 years…. you won’t be telling me anything new. 🙂

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat