Tag: San Diego

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The Cats of University Heights: Token

Early afternoon yesterday, my wife and I spotted a handsome Bengel-like furball whose portrait I shot with iPhone X in a yard off the alley coming from Cliff Street to Adams Ave. Disappointed with the results, I later returned with Leica Q but ended up at a nearby apartment courtyard capturing another kitty, a blackie.

He rolled in grass neaby the front gate, presenting outstanding opportunity for lovely candids. But as I slowly approached, the feline fled two-thirds-away across the lot. Just after I composed and shot several photos, one of the residents came up to the gate. She knew the shorthair, who belongs to a neighbor, and said the animal is called Token. I presume, thinking of the cat’s color, that his name comes from South Park character Token Black

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The Cats of University Heights: Fresh

Our second, sighted window watcher on Jan. 16, 2018 follows-up Seer (my nickname), along with 10 others since the series started in October 2016: CharmCoolCurious, Glass, KitSeeker, StarStill, Twain, and Watcher. Another, Burglar, climbs into one.

The house next to the American Market, on Cleveland Ave., is a recent renovation and subsequent rental. I dub the kitty in the Featured Image Fresh, for being a neighborhood newcomer. Hehe, she also looks out on freshly growing oranges. I captured the portrait, while walking home with groceries, using the iPhone X second lens to 2X zoom. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/706 sec, 6mm; 1:12 p.m. PST. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Seer

Meet the first of two additional window watchers, whose portraits were captured on the same day, Jan. 16, 2018, but in vastly different areas of the neighborhood. The other joins the series tomorrow. The shorthair earns nickname Seer for having an expansive view from the second floor.

Seer is the eleventh kitty positioned in a window looking out. The other 10: CharmCoolCurious, Glass, KitSeeker, StarStill, Twain, and Watcher. Another, Burglar, climbs into one. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Ohana

Some people are so rude—and I refer to myself. On Jan. 13, 2018, as my wife and I walked along Mississippi Street between Meade and Monroe, we spotted a pretty, grey kitty about half-way down the block. As we approached, the shorthair moved around a car in the street, later going back to the sidewalk, then passing through the door-fence bars into a yard. I took out Leica Q and started snapping portraits.

About three minutes after the photo shooting started, with a dog barking loudly inside the house, a man came out to see what caused the ruckus. I explained, although with camera in hand my purpose was obvious. He shouted—to get above the barking—that the beastie was “the neighbor’s cat”. Someone perhaps more polite would have stopped there, to give the gent relief from the yapper inside the house. But I pressed, asking for a name. “Hanna!” he yelled. I thanked him and moved along. Yes, but is that with an “h” at the end? If only I could have read the collar tag.

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Slow Down!

Our old apartment of 10 years overlooked an alley, from the dining room and my office. There is something compelling about alley life that gives different insight into San Diego neighborhoods. For example, here in University Heights, utility poles run along the alleys rather than major residential streets. Palm trees reach for the skies in their place.

Many properties keep trash cans and dumpsters in the alleys, where residents will place unwanted items they want to give away rather than throw away. Savengers on foot, bicycle, or truck collect this stuff or forage for redeemable bottles and cans. Some of these people rip open bags of refuse, which attracts wildlife—ranging from birds to possums. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Boss

Construction crews return to ripping up our street—so they can place new water (and possibly sewage) pipes—following a three-day break (for the weekend and Martin Luther King Jr. holiday). During December, the contracted company worked on Louisiana, which is where I met this fine feline, on Jan. 14, 2018, appropriately cowering behind one of the many, remaining Burtech signs.

But I am fairly sure we had a near encounter the previous evening. Returning home with Pizza Hut pie, driving up Monroe from Texas Street, I passed a Tuxedo-like kitty, with massive white ruff, sitting upright, beyond a parked car, slightly in the roadway, across from Louisiana. I watch my speed in the neighborhood for a reason: kids and cats. My wife got an earful about the strange sighting while enjoying a mouthful of cheesy crust, zesty tomato sauce, and bountiful toppings (Super Supreme without black olives, baby).

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Piping Project Progress

Call me mistaken.  Pipeline road construction only seemed to start in earnest yesterday. This morning, Burtech heavy-machinery gouged a long narrow trench—what my wife calls “the mote”—down our street. We are overwhelmed with disruption—like the car being blocked from leaving its assigned parking space—and constant noise. But that’s okay, because the road crew clearly makes tremendous progress. Maybe we won’t be besieged for months, as I had feared.

To document the moment, but not make the workers too uneasy, I used iPhone X instead of Leica Q. Smartphone snapping is familiar to most people and less threatening. In the Featured Image, you can see the trench, for new water pipes, going down the street. I wonder: What about the old ones? Do they just stay in the ground? Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 20, 1/2288 sec, 4mm; 10:39 a.m. PST. 

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Afternoon Walkabout

I spent the day cooped up, with windows shut, consoling our unsettled cats and waiting for the plumber to arrive. Normally, there is fresh air flowing, but we wisely chose to keep out jackhammering noise and airborne debris coming from the street, which is being dug up to put in new water pipes.

The plumber and construction crews completed their tasks within minutes of one another, freeing me to take a later-day long walk. Trudging up Meade Ave. from Alabama Street, I finally stopped and used Leica Q to make a portrait of a sign seen many times. Vitals for the Featured Image, aperture manually set (for bokeh): f/2, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 4:07 p.m. PST. In editing with Adobe Photoshop Classic CC, I tweaked exposure, slightly boosted vibrancy, and aggressively drew out highlights. 

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Water Works

Our street is in trauma. Quick, someone call the EMTs. Charge up the paddles. Stand back while the lifeless carcass is shocked. Thump. Thump. Thump. We have a heartbeat. No, wait! That’s the sound of jackhammers rat-tat-tatting asphalt, concrete, and stone.

Construction started in earnest today for what could be as much as two months of mayhem and noise. Animal life—birds, cats, and squirrels—fled in fear. Our neighbor’s dog, which stayed indoors with windows shut, hid in near catatonic state of anxiety. Oh, I am just loving this project. 

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Buddies

For the third time since this series started in October 2016, kitties living just outside the neighborhood boundaries participate. My wife and I met the first, nicknamed Chill, on Arizona Street—same as the two you see in the Featured Image. Texas separates University Heights from North Park, and Arizona is one street beyond. The other honorary furball, Sammy—and that’s her real name—lives across Washington Street in Hillcrest at DC Computers. Yep, she is the shop cat.

Sometimes exceptions must be made, but rarely—why this is only the third among 131 postings. I found the cats and their (presumably) owner’s house too quaint to resist. That said, had the pair been another street beyond Texas, they wouldn’t make the cut. Lucky for them, too, that it’s the slowest sightings time of year. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Charm

How much for that pretty kitty in the window? About 30 minutes after sunset today, my wife and I went out for a spontaneous late-afternoon walk, where she spotted this tip-top Tuxedo looking out, along Meade Ave. between Alabama and Florida. The series features nine kitties sitting inside windows, staring out: CoolCurious, Glass, KitSeeker, StarStill, Twain, and Watcher. Another, Burglar, climbs into one.

I did not bring Leica Q, unfortunately; iPhone X struggled in the descending dusk, getting some benefit from the sunset’s lingering glow cast against the glass. Vitals, for the Featured Image: f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/4 sec, 4mm; 5:17 p.m. PST. However, I contend that the EXIF is wrong. I tapped the 2X icon for the f/2.4 second lens, and this portrait, and another, absolutely are zoomed compared to the first, which I am certain was f/1.8. Sigh. the photo is noisy, which is most evident at full view; Leica capture wouldn’t have been. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Tom

Meet the second New Years furball to appear in this series. Chub was the first, at the start of 2017. Eighty-four more felines joined him, before the year closed out with Bright. I expect a lull now, if winter sightings follow the previous pattern.

My wife spotted our first fellow of 2018 right after we visited with Panda, who lives on the same block along Mississippi Street. We had looked in on her many times, when walking to the grocery store, but not until the morning of Dec. 29, 2017 did she skirt out under the fence onto the sidewalk seeking attention. Oh, she got plenty.