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Blasting Bureaucratic Bungling

For the first full day since San Diego road crews etched “North Park” into two traffic circles located in University Heights, the correct community name is displayed. I asked “Who Authorized This?” on Oct. 1, 2020, regarding the, ah, mishap at Alabama and Louisiana streets along Meade Ave. The city constructed the roundabouts as part of the Mid-City Bikeways project.

Restoration at Alabama started before Christmas 2021 but was repeatedly delayed by rainstorms. Work there completed last week and at Louisiana yesterday. The process was arduous and messy—and not just from the actual physical disruption; clutter and confusion replace the previous clean etching of letters and design. As such, I wonder if all the money and industry invested to correct the misnaming was wasted.

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The Stranger

This afternoon, after I crossed back into University Heights, carrying bananas in one hand, someone called from behind me. I turned to see a bearded fellow who had seen my strapped, slung-back Leica Q2. He asked if I would take his photograph—because he was interested in modeling. Ah, okay.

I responded cautiously, but welcomingly, because that’s the kind of delaying ruse a thief might use. But he seemed to be genuine enough, there was good distance between us, and I was situationally aware of his movements and my exit options along an extremely familiar route.

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The Cats of University Heights: Pudding

A sudden surge in kitty sightings is creating a backlog for the series. My apologies, then, if they overwhelm the site for awhile. For reasons that make no sense to me, they cluster around Alabama and Louisiana, which, coincidentally or not, are also where are the new traffic circles at Meade.

We begin with a black and white seen on the latter of the two streets. This fine feline, who earns nickname Pudding (for something about those cute ears), is the eighty-third behind door or window. I used iPhone 13 Pro to capture the Featured Image on Dec. 17, 2021. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/602 sec; 9:22 a.m. PST.

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Party Like Your Life Depends On It

Of all the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 oddities that I have seen, this sign might be strangest and yet most appropriate—punctuated commentary, whether or not the intention. The balloons suggest a birthday party, possibly for kids. You are welcome but be prepared for the consequences, especially if masks aren’t required. Meaning: You’re responsible for you.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, today. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 10:25 a.m. PST. Location: Somewhere along Maryland Street in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood.

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For Kuma

This afternoon, I made a ceremonial walk along the paths and places Kuma used to go. Ten years ago today, around 6 a.m. PST, he looked up at me quizzically before slipping under the apartment building’s back gate. I let him out an hour earlier than typical, into darkness and without accompanying him into the alley as usual. My eyes never met his again. Kuma vanished.

Sixteen days later, San Diego city workers recovered his collar from a nearby canyon. The inference was clear: Coyote, as we suspected about Priscilla—a neighbor’s kitty that similarly disappeared 12 months earlier. She inspired his adoption.

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The Cats of University Heights: Kittens

While walking along Mississippi Street, between El Cajon and Meade, today, I spotted a four-to-six-week-old kitten scurrying among an apartment building’s greenery then passing through the lattice panels beneath a corner cottage. Not long later, the tyke looked out suspiciously long enough for me to approach and capture the Featured Image, using iPhone 13 Pro. Do you see the rascal? Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/2273 sec, 77mm; 12:02 p.m. PST.

When the shorthair vamoosed, so did I—only to see an adult black across the manicured space of an adjacent apartment building. The mom, perhaps? She hung out closer to the alley, so I walked around for a look (and some portraits).

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Bearly Sitting

Somebody give that bear a sobriety test. He looks stuffed—or should I say stiffed—limberly and gleefully slumped in the chair. The evidence of his overnight binge is gone, cleared out by someone collecting bottles and cans for cash recyclable redemption.

I passed by the oversized plushie along Panorama Drive in San Diego’s University Heights district. The walker in front of me grabbed a folding chair, smiling over her find and to me praising its good quality. She should expect no less from where are some of the community’s finest, and presumably wealthiest, homes. Giveaways here aren’t junk.

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Two Years with Leica Q2

On the last day of 2019, UPS delivered Leica Q2, which would replace the original model that I acquired in May 2017. I was wholly satisfied with the Q, but the allure of higher resolution (47.3 megapixels vs 24MP) and weather sealing led to a sudden sale; Craigslisting two cameras, including the Q, covered the purchase price.

If being psychic, and foreseeing what 2020 would bring, I likely would have stuck with the Q for awhile longer. A series of oppressive and overly-restrictive governor-ordered lockdowns imposed in attempts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) made for a difficult street shooting year. With most of California shut down for so much of 2020—and citizens ordered to simply stay home—the Q2 was largely relegated to shooting alleys, empty storefronts, and cats.

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The Cats of University Heights: Smokey (Maine Coon)

What a surprise! Today, when walking along Alabama, on a grocery run to Smart and Final, my wife and I met a gentleman and his two-year-old Maine Coon. While the gentle giant likely lives somewhere else in the neighborhood (I forgot to ask where), sighting location makes him the seventy-ninth kitty observed on the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln.

Five features physically define Maine Coons: Ear tuffs and points, facial structure, fur coat, paws (big), and size (huge)—the latter they tend to reach at around age five or so. Smokey is classically Coon by all appearances, and I am not surprised: His owner says that the cat comes from Russia, because finding a purebred locally is challenging.

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The Cats of University Heights: Happy

The eighty-second feline found behind door or window lives on Lincoln Street, just inside the neighborhood border. I used iPhone 13 Pro to capture the Featured Image on Dec. 19, 2021. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/1107 sec, 77mm; 10 a.m. PST.

This slumbering shorthair earns nickname Happy, because that’s what he (or she) appears to be and how I feel looking at him (or her). I wanted to use Nappy, referring to napping, before doing a dictionary check and learning that the word is an American axiom for diaper.

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The Grillers

From the same Greenbelt, Md. church picnic as yesterday’s “Pooh Party“, we present another moment. I used Canon EOS 20D and EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens to capture the Featured Image on Sept. 18, 2005. Vitals: f/6.3, ISO 400, 1/400 sec, 70mm; 12:22 p.m. In Capture One 22 post-production I applied style “Oslo 1”, working from an original JPEG. The portrait is composed as shot.

If the prognosticators of climate doom get their way, grilling events like this will someday soon be but a memory. We will all consume protein-infused plant matter made to look like meat because—so they say—cows and chickens produce deadly global warming gases. Eh, and people don’t?