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The Cats of University Heights: Striker

Yesterday, my wife and I walked along Alabama between Mission and Madison, beyond which we could make out silhouetted Itchy Valentino shading on the next block. I stopped, seeing orange fur against foliage along a driveway. A cat! She spotted his prey—an overly large lizard—that (sorry) was no longer visible when I shot the Featured Image using Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. By posture, you can see stalking still.

Photo vitals: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 50mm; 4:13 p.m. PDT. The EXIF shows f/4.8, which the camera estimates based on other settings. I am sure about the aperture. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Dutch

We close out the month and first half of the year—on a Caturday! In celebration, please meet the husky shorthair nicknamed Dutch. I couldn’t approach close enough to read the tag attached to his collar. Thus, he earns the moniker for distinctive sighting: First feline on New York Street, which dead-ends into a canyon on one side and Madison on the other. In the 1620s, Dutch settlers claimed the area around and on Manhattan Island that the English would later rename New York. Does that make any sense of my choice?

I used Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens to capture the Featured Image, yesterday at 3:24 p.m. PDT. Same day, the camera manufacturer released new firmware, which I updated. Dutch has the honor of being first cat captured with v2.4.5.0, which changes default auto-ISO to 200—supposedly to improve dynamic range. The camera now also includes (guessed) aperture in the EXIF (e.g. metadata). Vitals: f/2.5, ISO 200, 1/750 sec, 50mm. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Spice

For some reason, June 7, 2018 was a busy day for feline finds. The tortoiseshell that I nickname Spice is third in succession, following Royal and Sleepy. We met along Florida between Madison and Monroe. I have seen the tortie twice since, in the same apartment parking lot.

I pulled out iPhone X to capture the Featured Image and companion at 6:08 p.m. PDT. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/60 sec, .97 ev, 6mm. The other: f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/120 sec, 4mm.

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The Cats of University Heights: Sleepy

Cleveland cat sightings are surprisingly few, despite the expansive street’s neighborhood prominence. Among them: BellBlack, Black and WhiteFess (who disappeared), Fresh, Hunter, LeviLiloMellow, Mika (who moved away), MiniPepe (who was rehomed), Roly Poly, and Tortie. That’s fourteen out of the 195 profiles posted since the series started in October 2016 (hopefully I missed none in the counting).

The fifteenth feline—and the first new seen in six months along Cleveland—rested (hence the nickname) in a yard on the stretch between Tyler and Van Buren. I shot the Featured Image on June 7, 2018 using iPhone X. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/345 sec, 6mm; 3:29 p.m. PDT. 

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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.