Read More

Mourning Moment

As my wife and I walked up Meade Avenue in North Park, today, a sickly palm caught my attention. Crossing Oregon Street, I saw a white X on the right tree, indicating that city workers had marked it for removal. I am uncertain about the health of the other, but no marking indicates that it isn’t slated to be chopped down.

San Diego fights futilely to hold back advance of the South American Palm Weevil, which was observed along the Mexican border in 2011. The first infestations appeared five years later. The insects essentially infest the heart of the Canary Island Date Palm crown, destroying it.

Read More

Gone But Not Forgotten

Two years ago last month, during business-crushing SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns, Microsoft unceremoniously announced the closure of all 83 stores, signaling the end of a too-short-lived retail expansion. In 2022, three flagship shops—in Australia, United Kingdom, and United States—remain, converted into so-called “experience centers”.

Rummaging through old photos—the Featured Image from Aug. 2, 2016—I stop for another moment to remember what was and could have been better. Microsoft Store should have succeeded like Apple’s massive retail experiment started on May 19, 2001. 

Read More

The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Guapo

Among the four-hundred ninety-three profiles in this series, thirteen, including today’s newcomer, live outside the neighborhood’s official boundaries: Buddies, CandyChill, CoalEnvy, JadeMonaMoophie, Ninja, PromiseSammy, and Tom and Jerry. Darth Mew initially belonged to the group, until later turning up in University Heights.

This morning, I passed Guapo (yep, real name) leashed by his mom along Adams near Arizona, which is the teensy-bit inside North Park. I met them while walking home from dropping off our car for routine servicing. We greeted, I passed then turned back asking if I could take his portrait.

Read More

Comic-Con’s Crazy COVID Conniption

To close out the month, and first half of the year, we connect the somewhat distant past with the not-so-far-off future. San Diego Comic Con returns July 21-24, 2022 with Preview Night on the 20th. The show floor, or break-out sessions, will look nothing like the Featured Image, taken seven years ago.

SDCC apparently didn’t get the memo that SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 is endemic and no longer pandemic. Locally, people move freely about without being required to wear masks, be tested, or verify vax status. Based on the official tally, the cumulative-calculated case fatality rate in San Diego County is 0.64 percent. Meaning: Your chance of surviving Coronavirus is better than 99 percent, while more than 85 percent of those infected likely show no symptoms.

Read More

iPhone Turns 15

How many people engrossed in their handhelds remember, or even know, what cellular devices were like before release of the original iPhone on June 29, 2007? Coincidentally, my daughter changed service providers today. She expressed surprise, and glee, at how easy was the process going from one iPhone model to another, including the automatic porting of her number.

When there appeared to be a glitch with that process, I called her carrier to ask about the transfer. My daughter unexpectedly rang, and with one tap I merged her incoming call with the one in progress. How amazing is that? And calling is one of the least used functions, when a plethora of apps and social media demand interaction and get it.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Pan

On the same property where nearly six years ago appeared the series‘ fourth and fifth felines—Skull and Biscuit—another surprised me on June 8, 2022. The Featured Image, taken with iPhone 13 Pro, shows still posture that made me think statue. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/881 sec, 77mm; 4:50 p.m. PDT.

Only later did the animal move and, briefly, turn my way—long enough for a portrait using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 4:53 p.m.

Read More

Can You Say ‘Wicked’?

Kensington is one of the tonier San Diego communities, and dare I guess that privilege comes with money. Six days ago, when waiting to give my daughter a ride, I nipped boredom by pulling out iPhone 13 Pro and launching the SpeedTest app. For security reasons, my cellular carrier is removed from the paired screenshots; download left and upload right.

Wow is 5G wicked fast for the wealthy. The last home sold there, today, went for $2.025 million, according to publicly available records. The runt of the lot for all of June closed for a mere $1.1 million. Both for over asking price: $30,000 and $150,100, respectively. Hey, rising interest rates have slowed down bidding wars a bit.

Read More

Grow Your Own

Along the fence of the house from which grapevines draped over the sidewalk (August 2021), today I saw something unexpected and presumably quite new—as the Featured Image and companions reveal. Little lending libraries with books are all over my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights (Examples: One, Two, Three, Four). But this is the first seen sharing seeds. Small supply there may be but hopefully growing. I know. I know.

Vitals: f/4, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 6:24 p.m. PDT. The trio comes from Leica Q2, and this one is composed as captured. I chose the angled view to diminish glare and reflection off the glass.

Read More

Table Creature

Three minutes before sunset, 7:57 p.m. PDT, I came across a discarded table that piqued my interest, because the thing reminded me of an animal. You disagree? Be a kid for 10 seconds, put on your seeking-creatures-in-the-clouds mind, and take another gander.

The clinical term for finding animals, faces, and the like in clouds or other objects is Pareidolia. I’m not sure that applies to this table, for which no specific beast comes to my mind. Rather, I see something inanimate that could come to movement, when looking at the spacing of the legs and what could be a head sticking from the flat board body.

Read More

Don’t Fall In

On June 29, 2006, a sinkhole mysteriously opened in our backyard. We lived nearly 5 kilometers—about 3 miles—outside the Washington Beltway. I wouldn’t want to be too close to the District of Columbia this weekend, in the wake of today’s momentous, or shocking (depending on your politics or values), Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v Wade. States will now individually dictate when, if at all, abortions may be performed.

I use the Featured Image as a metaphor, so to speak, for the sinkhole into which people praising or condemning the decision will fall into. Seems like there is no solid ground under this topic; anyone and everyone opposing your position, whatever that may be, will be pushed in and buried. To some, abortion is murder. To others, it’s a right taken away.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Chocolate

Hey, that’s not Paws. Same window, different kitty. I shot portraits using Leica Q2 and iPhone 13 Pro, but the Featured Image comes from the cellular device; telephoto lens and 95-percent post-production crop wins the day. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/622 sec, 77mm; 1:56 p.m. PDT, May 28, 2022.

The ninety-fourth feline found behind glass and/or screen earns nickname Chocolate for fur colors. She (or he) is a Snowshoe like Willow, yes?

Read More

False Horizon

To mark the first day of Summer, last night I stood outside my apartment and pointed Leica Q2 towards the setting sun. Scattered clouds caught my attention, set against a view rapidly changing as existing homeowners and investors build new structures—smaller within backyards, larger replacing homes destroyed to make way for multiple-unit residences.

In post-production, I throttled up dehaze setting and punched blacks, highlights, and shadows to produce the Featured Image, which is composed as shot. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 7:53 p.m., or eight minutes before sunset.