Author: Joe Wilcox

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An AirPods Story

Today, my wife and I drove North to Del Mar for lunch with an old friend and coworker, who had flown out from the East Coast to visit her son and his family—newcomers to San Diego County for work (he’s a banker, which I guess explains the ease of managing the high rents).

The stories people tell that you wouldn’t imagine but seem so sensible after the surprise permeates. Our friend made a startling discovery when unpacking upon arrival: She had mistaken dental floss for her Apple AirPods, which case would be about the same size and shape as some brands (glad to know she makes tooth-care a priority). But couldn’t the confusion also be nothing more than one of those, ah, senior moments?

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Leggo My Eggo

I dismissed the Featured Image, after taking it using Leica Q2 on Sept. 3, 2021. But tonight, while looking for something to share, I reconsidered the street shot.

My wife and I passed the discarded instant waffle, while walking along either Alabama or Mississippi on our way to Smart & Final in San Diego neighborhood North Park. Who left it, and why? Did someone accidentally “leggo my Eggo”, referring to the long-time marketing tagline? Blueberry!

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San Diego Housing is Beyond You

What I want to know: Who rented this University Heights home? When my wife and I passed by on Aug. 3, 2022, a “For Rent” sign welcomed interest—well, until looking at the asking price of, uh-hum, $5,450 monthly. Granted, by square feet, the place is one of the larger houses in our San Diego neighborhood. But who commits to $65,400—more than an annual salary for many locals—to rent?

Buying is no bargain. One of the, ah, affordable homes for sale nearby lists for $1.1 million. Zillow estimates a monthly mortgage payment, along with insurance and taxes, of $5,797; that’s after 20 percent down. Who can afford to buy? Answer: The fine folks at Visual Capitalist rank San Diego as the nation’s third costliest home market, with a median price of $905,000. Necessary salary: $166,828.

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Freedom of Speech

I rarely walk down Shirley Ann Place in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights because the atmosphere along the street is so heavy, which contrasts the quaint Spanish-style abodes. Residents sure seem to be politically, and opposingly, opinionated. American flags fly from houses next to those with rainbow banners. Angry progressive rhetoric signs fill windows one place, while conservative banter fills another.

The Featured Image, taken three days after the California Primary, captures some of the rivalry when compared to this shot of the house beyond—where, in second half 2020, hung Old Glory spray-painted with BLM.

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Another Alley Artifact

Composition-wise, the Featured Image is not as appealing as the angled shot that I considered sharing instead. But the single pair of bundled socks—shoved into an empty drawer-space—makes the moment for me. I wonder what is their story? Why are they there? I will never know.

The discarded desk waits for a new owner in one of the University Heights East alleys between Adams and Monroe. My apologies but I don’t offhand recall which one. I can attest to passing by the thing—perhaps too tucked away in flowering vines to be easily seen by San Diego rummagers—several times over many days. Maybe missing drawers dissuade scavengers, who miss out. That’s solid wood, not pressboard. If I needed a desk…but do not.

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The Cats of University Heights: Muffin

The ninety-ninth feline found behind glass or screen resides in the same house as Lucy, assuming that she is still alive. The tabby was nine years old when appearing in the series four years ago. The newcomer prefers window to door, where Lucy would hang out.

I used iPhone 13 Pro to capture the Featured Image on July 2, 2022. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/673 sec, 77mm; 2:59 p.m. PDT. We need a nickname. How about Muffin? Oh, and happy Caturday!

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Imperfectly Perfect

Today is the fifth anniversary of mom’s passing. Chatting with my sister Nan, she said something about a Facebook quiz querying whether one would want a different mother if such circumstance could be. She wouldn’t. Nor would I. Mom was imperfectly perfect.

She was selfless in all the ways that matter. She was generous within her means. She wasn’t one to hold grudges or to flush with anger. By measure of core character, she was—and I should say is in the afterlife—genuinely good as most anyone can be in this world born from evil seed. We four children were blessed to have her.

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Homeless Corner No More

Our Smart & Final shopping trips dropped from once or more every seven days to none over several weeks—until today (the store stocks a different, and pricier, cat food that’s not our preferred brand). Look what we missed, although I can say from driving by over the weekend that the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 testing site is a rather recent addition.

I am accustomed to seeing indigent folks hanging out on that corner; uh-oh, somebody won’t be happy about losing their spot. Perhaps the test site is meant to reach the many homeless who are frequent fixtures in that area of San Diego neighborhood North Park (along University Avenue between Mississippi and Texas streets).

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On Approach

We return to the skies, four days after “Birds on a Wire“, for a mechanical flyer—and one I long wanted to share but refrained. Problem: Zooming in reveals that the airliner is blurry, and I don’t believe from motion. This is a failed photo and yet one that still appeals to me.

I captured the Featured Image on May 12, 2022, using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/11, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 2:02 p.m. PDT. Composed as shot. Vantage: Parking lot in Balboa Park behind the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

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Battery Operated

The modern classic isn’t the one you buy but the one you make. This electric lowrider is an absolute hoot! I wonder what is the range—or if it matters. Vehicle like this is meant to parade, bouncing along, with others; granted they would be vrooming from combustion engines.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image on June 3, 2022 along The Boulevard near Florida Street in San Diego neighborhood University Heights. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 6:47 p.m. PDT.

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Gone But for Memories

Call me shocked. On several occasions during the two years leading up to the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns—and at least once after they started—I contacted the woman who managed our rental in Kensington, Md. We lived there just shy of a decade, and I felt sentimental about the place. Should the house become available to rent, or to buy, could she let me know? Absolutely. Promises. Promises.

Opportunity passed unbeknownst to me, and I am baffled about missing it. The house, previously purchased for $56,000 in 1965, sold for $475,000 a few months ago. I had checked on the property’s disposition from time to time and never saw a listing, nor is there any indication that there ever was one. Perhaps the tenants bought the place. I’ll never know.

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Birds on a Wire

These loud squawkers occasionally fly around our block. We see, and hear, them every few months. They come and go, not staying long. I’d love to know where do they live and why they are irregular guests.

Without a good telephoto lens, I have failed at nearly every attempt to get a pleasing portrait of the birds. Typically, three or four group together. In the Featured Image, you see two—and this shot, from March 31, 2018, is the best to date. Sigh.