Tag: aspiration

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The Home We Leave Behind

Our old apartment is up for rent—and for lots less than I expected: $1,750, which is just 15 bucks more than our raised rent had we signed a new lease from first of this month. On the last day, November 8, 2017, while waiting for final inspection and to hand over the keys, I took some quick pics using iPhone X—for the Wilcox scapbook, so to speak, and to document the condition in which we left the flat.

We moved into the place on Oct. 15, 2007, sight unseen. We relocated to San Diego to enable my now deceased father-in-law to remain living independently. He found the second-floor apartment, on the next block from where he lived, during its complete renovation. On the promise of everything being new, we took the chance that benefit would be enough—and it was. We lived at 4514 Cleveland Ave., Apt 9, for 10 years. 

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Goodbye, Momma

The world is full of narcissists, who gain popularity by self-broadcasting themselves, boasting their own accomplishments, and in process taking praise or gaining glory. They are false. Ingenuine. There is another type of character—someone who naturally gives, asks for nothing in return, and (often too rarely) is well-regarded for their generosity. They are true charmers in the sense self-proclaimers pretend to be.

My mom, who passed away today, Aug. 5, 2017, was social through grace and a kind of innate likability. She was short in stature—adult height of four feet, ten-and-a-half inches—but tall in presence. In any room, she easily became the sun around which all present orbited. I often marveled at how people just gravitated to the small woman without any seeming effort on her part, other than flowing friendliness and generosity. Her buoyant, positive spirit, supported by unstoppable, advocating determination, made mom the person others wanted to be with—and to be like. She was authentic. Genuine. 

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Christmas in June?

I spotted Santa Claus while walking in Balboa Park this afternoon. He was out for a stroll—to where is anyone’s guess. An elf helper tagged along, so surely there was some purpose. After passing him, I stopped. Hesitated. Stepped forward. Then turned around and approached Mr. Kringle, rather than let the moment pass. I asked to shoot a portrait.

As you would expect, Santa responded jovially, accepting the invitation. While couching low with Leica Q, I asked about his presence, joking that it wasn’t Christmas in July. He smiled and said something about Christmas being every day for people who keep it in their hearts. Now that is a lovely sentiment. 

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My Comic-Con Luck Runs Out

I dreaded this day but mentally prepared—or so it seemed. San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Early Registration commenced this morning. Passes sold out in about an hour, and I got none for any of the four days or Preview Night. I attended continuously, starting in 2009—the first six years as registered press. For reasons unknown to me, SDCC did not “verify” my media status for 2015 or 2016, but I was able to register and pay for the entire event.

Open Registration is still to come, and the convention changed the press submission schedule for the July 19 (Preview Night) – 23 event. Past years: December. Now it’s end of April. Before the new week starts, I will resubmit legitimate materials that, if my luck isn’t exhausted, might lead to press certification and attendance. 

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On This Day

Nine years ago today, my family relocated from the Washington, D.C. suburb of Kensington, Md to San Diego, Calif. Whoa! There is no record in my website archive. Looks like I did little posting in late 2007, which isn’t surprising with the move and trying to continue working. At the time, I operated the Apple Watch and Microsoft Watch blogs. Unbelievably, Ziff Davis enterprise closed down both after laying me off in April 2009. That’s why I warned two years ago: “Writers, Own Your Content!

I don’t feel like the same human being, after predominately cutting carbs from my diet starting three years ago. Wearing pajamas, I weighed about 91 kilograms (200 pounds) on Oct. 15, 2007; 57 kg (125 lbs) today. My physical build is more like age 20—as is my remarkable energy. Granted, I look every bit of my 57 years and don’t pretend to be otherwise or cling to some misbegotten attempt at reclaiming youth. I’m merely a happy, healthier middle-ager. 

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What Would You Add?

Walking through San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood earlier this evening, I spotted something new—or at least to me. The “Before I Die…” wall has been there since June 2012. Clearly, I don’t get to that side of University Ave. often enough.

There’s something morbid about the giant chalkboard compared to aspirational “The Courage Wall”, which was my Flickr-a-Day-231 selection last year. Both fixtures provide space for passersby to express something longed to do; one is about overcoming something to achieve something more, while the other is wished for far less earnestly. Compare the aspirations to see the differences. 

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Flickr a Day 231: ‘The Courage Wall’

First looking at the photostream of Dan Reed, I puzzled over the perspective and subjects, which are unlike anything else yet featured in this series. He shoots streets, buildings, and such from vantage points that are atypical. Then I read his bio. He’s an architect and city planner. Dan looks at things with a dramatically different eye than I would; he sees things in another context that is refreshing and revealing.

Dan shares his insights at blog “Just Up the Pike“, which refers to Maryland Route 29, or Columbia Pike. Our daughter was born when we lived off 29, just outside Silver Spring, which is Dan’s hometown. 

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Night at the Park

Sometimes San Diego delights most unexpectedly. Yesterday, I entered an alternate universe—a lovely neighborhood that could have been from a 1980s Steven Spielberg movie. Kids played everywhere. Freely. The clang of metal baseball bats rang out from the park, where parents cheered and encouraged their middle-school players. Pretty homes, none too different from another, lined clean streets, from which the sound of playing children created intoxicating atmosphere.

My journey started with a request: Provide transportation to the Rebelution and Sublime concert at the Sleep Train Amphitheater. My soon-to-be 21 year-old daughter asks for rides so infrequently now, I couldn’t refuse. But given heavy traffic around the venue, 27-km distance drive, and her plan to return in two hours or so, I figured to stay in Chula Vista rather than roundtrip. But where to hang out—from the commercial-property isolated locale? 

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The Heroes Are Us

Tomorrow night begins my seventh sojourn to the greatest geekfest and pop-culture event on the planet. Imitator shows are everywhere this Century, but none commands character and class like the original. San Diego Comic-Con is an amazing amalgamation of hopes and aspirations—and the grandest storytelling—where, for four days and a Preview Night, tens of thousands of people can be themselves—fit in, rather than feel oddball—or be whom they would want to be by dressing up as beloved superheroes or villains and by adoring the storytellers and actors behind them.

The first, full three-day event took place from Aug. 1-3, 1970, at the U.S. Grand Hotel, with about 300 attendees and sci-fi luminaries, including Ray Bradbury and A.E. van Vogt. This week, 130,000 attendees will storm San Diego Convention Center to enter an alternate reality, where the social rules binding them everyday no longer apply. 

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A Life Lesson

For three summers during high school, I participated in federal assistance program Upward Bound at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. My parents divorced when I was 13, and my then 31 year-old mother chose to raise four children alone. Jobs were scarce in Aroostook County during the early 1970s, and mom couldn’t earn enough. We were poor, by most American measures.

That circumstance and college plans qualified me to spend summers in Southern Maine and someday to attend a school like Bowdoin (I didn’t). The program has expanded such that if I were a high school student today, my UB participation would be at the University of Presque Isle branch rather than the one at Bowdoin. While closer to home (next town over), the benefits wouldn’t be as a great: Getting out of the County’s confines, experiencing life on such a prestigious college campus, watching Shakespeare at the Theater at Monmouth, or traveling—even for a day—to Boston.