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The Cats of University Heights: Patches

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We follow Pinky, with another Texas Street kitty, whom I nickname Patches. I spotted the Calico in a yard between Meade and Monroe, barely grabbing a shot before she disappeared behind a hedge. I have walked by the property many times since—March 16, 2019—hoping to snag a better portrait. After weeks passed, and no new sightings, it’s the one or none; so here is the moment.

I used Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/100 sec, 63mm; 1:43 p.m. PDT. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Pinky

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Texas Street sightings are rare; with a little fanfare, we present the first of two consecutively. Meet the forty-third kitty to appear behind window or door, and she (or he) earns nickname Pinky. What a lovely nose! I spotted this lovely on April 4, 2019,  between Meade and Monroe, while walking with my wife.

I captured the Featured Image using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 63mm; 5:45 p.m. PDT. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Risky

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Frisky is a common-enough kitty name, but we remove the “F” in nicknaming this disturbing shorthair—not for her behavior but location seen: Georgia and Howard, which is a dangerous intersection for traffic—whether foot or vehicular. My wife and I first met her on April 10, 2019, as we walked home from the Sprouts market. She approached us from Georgia. Next day, as I strode to the grocery, Risky greeted me along Howard.

The Featured Image, captured using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, and companion (from Google Pixel 3XL) are both from the 11th. Vitals for the first, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 63mm; 6:45 p.m. PDT. For the second: f/1.8, ISO 57, 1/1805 sec, 4.44mm; 6:42 p.m. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Charlie IV

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Who would have guessed that there are (at least) four felines named Charlie in the neighborhood? The others (known and) profiled in this series: first, second, and third. He also is the forty-second kitty to appear behind window or door—and in this instance in residence with a known companion: Shadow, who was featured in late January 2019.

I captured the Featured image on April 2, using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 63mm. 5 p.m. PDT. The companion portrait is the same image cropped differently. Which do you prefer? Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Bliss

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We celebrate Caturday with the forty-first feline seen behind either window or door—and in the most unusual, but cutest, pose yet. How could I nickname this sleepy anything else but Bliss? Sssh, don’t wake this darling, whom I encountered along Meade near Park Blvd.

Two portraits. Two different cropped compositions. I captured the Featured Image and companion using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, on March 10, 2019. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/480 sec, 63mm; 1:18 p.m. PDT. The other is the same, but 1/500 sec. Read More

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Say, Sunflower?

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The rainy season may be (mostly) over, but the full flowering super bloom sweeping Southern California is everywhere. How about them lilacs down the street? Or this sunflower rising from a nearby construction zone? Road crews have worked that sidewalk and street all Winter, seemingly. It’s amazing there is soil enough to grow anything, let alone something so sudden and big. But, hey, the small patch of dirt sits at the bottom of an incline, where water (lots of it) flows fast and the right elements were just right.

By the way: Seems like nothing sprouting out of the earth can grow fast enough, this Spring. We are overtaken by plants not just thick and lush but towering upward. The newspapers prattle on about the super bloom, but I am awed by the super sizes of every green leaf thing. Gardeners and landscapers are overworked—and with the President tightening up border crossings, I can’t imagine there are enough (illegal) immigrant workers to whack weeds and mow the grass. Oh, and for the record, California has officially cancelled the drought. Too much of a good thing is… Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Smudge

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The eleventh Alabama Street cat, Cal, has a friend, whom I nickname Smudge. Hey, the window is a bit grimy, as are most others around about the neighborhood. The unusually wet Winter brought lush greenery and lovely flowers but left behind crud on most everyone’s glass (ours, too). Smudge is the fortieth behind window (or door) watcher featured in the series and thirty-seventh seen on Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln.

Cal, who was profiled in February 2018, and his black buddy live in the same apartment. I have seen the Tuxedo often, in the same window—and after first observing Smudge, on March 2, 2019. I captured the Featured Image using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 63mm; 2:53 p.m. PST. Read More

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Lively Lilacs

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My Nana loved lilacs and roses—and both join an amazing Spring bloom in Southern California, following an unusually wet Winter. The lush greenery and flowering plants won’t last long, but their presence—and amazing aromas tickling my nose while walking—along with the weather, remind of home. Light, constant breezes and temperatures in the high teens to low twenties Celsius beneath puffy Cumulus and Nimbus clouds make San Diego feel so much like Aroostook County during Summer. My wife and I call them “Maine Days”, and they are this Spring’s hallmark but without its Down East annoyance: Mud season.

While Annie and I had seen occasional lilac flourishes, we were surprised to find a wall of the purplish flowers—along Mission, going East from Park Blvd.—on April Fools Day 2019. The Featured Image (warning: 21MB file) is the view from below, looking up at the lilacs. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/100 sec, 63mm; 5:15 p.m. PDT. Read More

Google Social Media Stupidity

Goodbye, Google+

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Two months ago I posted to Google+: “On April 1, 2019, Google will ceremoniously announce that after conducting focus groups and consulting with loyal users, the company has reversed its decision to close down Google+. On April 2, 2019, Google will pull the plug as planned and tell us that we’re April Fools”.

There was no prank—and I was being facetious rather than prescient—but those of us who stayed to the end nevertheless were fools. The grand social media experiment is over. RIP, Google+: June 28, 2011 – April 2, 2019. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Rosie

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When walking down Monroe from Maryland towards Arch, on Feb. 26, 2019, I spotted a pretty kitty close to where the Siamese Twins presented 11 days earlier. The owner carried in groceries, while her sister and I chatted. There’s a sad story to tell about one of the ladies, sometime later after I ask and if permission is granted.

I used Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to capture the Featured Image and first companion. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/600 sec, 63mm; 1:25 p.m. PST. Other is the same except 1/450 sec. Read More

Apple Journalism Media News Media

Subtract This from Apple News+

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I thought so little of what Apple might announce during its March 25th splashy event that I scheduled my annual physical at the same. Not that you asked, and that’s okay: I am healthy for my age, which is not something that can be said of the publishers exposing their operations to the Apple News+ plague. For consumers, the deal is sweet: $9.99 monthly for access to about 300 news sources—the majority magazines.

The first free month tempted, and I had to try it out. As you can see from the screenshot, my tenure didn’t last long—not even a day. During 2019, my subs to Entertainment Weekly, National Geographic, New Yorker, and Rolling Stone will expire, and all of them are available via Apple News+ for pennies, by comparison, plus a heap of other mags I would love to read. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Swirl

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While I walked along Madison between Delaware and Maryland, on March 7, 2019, a silky-fur feline mosied around a driveway, going back and forth to porch stairs meowing to be let in. A woman eventually obliged the kitty, but she didn’t know what he is called. For now, nickname Swirl will do. Hey, I got to choose something.

I captured the Featured Image and its companion using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 63mm; 10:47 a.m. PST. The other is same, but one minute later and 1/600 sec. Read More