Author: Joe Wilcox

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My Tidal Time Ends

As explained yesterday, Google Store Father’s Day sale specials spurred along my decision to abandon Apple for Pixel devices and supporting services, nothing more. I had contemplated such a move for some time before acting, which brings me to revealing another change: Leaving behind Tidal.

I have subscribed to the high-fi, lossless music streaming service since its rebranded launch under Jay Z (and partners) ownership: April 1, 2015. A few other times I cancelled, mainly because of monthly cost ($19.95), but resubscribed during the billing cycle. Why? I can hear the difference, particularly in vocals, which pulled me back. Every other option makes muddy audio. But I have finally decided to, regrettably, put value before fidelity. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Royal

I read about this beautiful Bengal for about a month in various posts on the NextDoor social network before finally making contact, June 7, 2018. Residents wanted to know who this animal belonged to, if anyone, with some confusing the regal feline for Abby, who lives about four blocks away.

Earning nickname Royal, the cat commanded great presence. During our early evening walk, the shorthair approached my wife and I, coming up Monroe Ave. Interestingly, a ginger followed about a half-block behind, eventually seeking refuge either in the alley or some yard between Louisiana and Texas streets. 

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OK, Google, I Surrender

They say the devil you know is better than the one you don’t. That sentiment is root of a change in progress: Abandoning Apple for Google, choosing one digital lifestyle over the other—and not for the first time. If you’d ask me on May 30th about giving up the fruit logo company for the search behemoth, the response would have been a chuckle. Yeah, right. But, correcting Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ grammar, in less than 30 days I think differently, which whys this reflection explains.

Like many other decisions, this one didn’t just happen. Like suddenly blossoming Spring, change had been budding for many months, as the cold winter ways of my thinking responded to nurturing warmth and water. I was never really satisfied giving up my Pixel lifestyle—whether Chromebook, smartphone, or tablet—but did so somewhat reluctantly in March 2016 for three simple reasons that today aren’t as important. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Phil

Why are there so many putty-tats along Alabama Street? Phil makes the twentieth featured out of the 191 shot since the series started in October 2016. You will meet yet another tomorrow, and I know of several more living indoors yet to be photographed. I spotted Phil while walking to the Sprouts market late this afternoon.

I chose to shoot the Featured Image with the recently acquired Google Pixel 2 XL rather than Leica M10 slung around my back. The smartphone proved more than worthy. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/176 sec, 4.46mm; 5:51 p.m. PDT. 

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A Florist Uproots

Last night, on the NextDoor social network, I read a post about the University Heights florist moving and asking if anyone knew where. This morning, I stopped into the shop, Florabella, and asked. The 29 year-old establishment will for a time share warehouse space with a large floral distributor off of Morena Blvd. The current location is convenient and charming—inviting for walk-in sales. The temporary space is along a congested, commuting corridor.

The end of Florabella’s 24 year presence in my San Diego neighborhood is a common local retail story. At the end of May, the landlord informed the commercial tenant that the rent would triple, effective July 1st. For that month, though, the increase would be reduced to $1,000. I have heard the three-times figure often over the past 12-18 months. With a difference: The other shops closed up. The florist saunters on. 

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Darth Mew

It’s a Friday doubleheader: two beasties with Star Wars names—and real they are! We follow Princess Leia with Darth Mew, whom my wife and I met on June 10, 2018. Texas Street is the neighborhood’s designated boundary, and we saw Darth just beyond as we walked in the direction of Arizona. He is the sixth feline given special consideration. The other honorees: BuddiesChill, Envy, Moophie, and Sammy.

The Featured Image comes from iPhone X. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/60 sec, 6mm. The other is an ever-so-soft-focus portrait taken with Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Composed as shot: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/60 sec, 50mm. Time for both is 8:52 a.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Princess Leia

We celebrate this fine Friday with the start of a two-part Star Wars theme. Who would have guessed that yesterday I would meet a Calico named Princess Leia along Louisiana between Meade and Monroe. She worried me, though, with her scratchy and continuous mews, that she might be lost—or maybe just lonely. She sounded and moved like a mature madam. I regret only getting her name from the tag.

I used the Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens to capture the Featured Image, which is composed as shot. Vitals: f/11, ISO 100, 1/45 sec, 50mm; 12:30 p.m. PDT. The companion, cropped 3:2 and auto-corrected, comes from Google Pixel 2 XL, which I acquired last week to replace iPhone X. (Oh, yes, it’s gone!) Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 91, 1/4673 sec, 4.6mm. 

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Free Moose!

There are times when human relationship drama is so bizarre and intense you feel like you’re living in a TV soap opera. Thus sums up recovering Moose; the cat belonged to one neighbor but was taken away by another. I played my role.

My wife and I first encountered the tortoiseshell, running off her porch to greet us, in early December 2017—and I profiled her in my “Cats of University Heights” series. We saw her at least once more, months later, in the building’s parking lot. Thirteen days ago, someone direct-messaged me on NextDoor about the kitty. He had seen my photos and wondered if she was a stray, as she frequented his property. For the purpose of privacy, I am changing the names of all the participants. We will call this gentleman Jerry.  He asked where I had seen Moose. I gave an approximate address and expressed confidence that the tortie belonged to someone.