Author: Joe Wilcox

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He Knows No Limit

I can’t explain why the Featured Image appeals to me. Maybe the gent’s mouth caught in speaking motion is reason combined with tilt of head, necklaces hung around neck, and one presented in hand. Is he selling the beaded strings? Seeking donations? I want to know.

The moment is from the Labor Day Parade on Sept. 5, 2005 in Kensington, Md. I used Canon EOS 20D for the portrait, which is composed as shot. Vitals: f/10, ISO 400, 1/500 sec, 40mm; 10:26 a.m. EDT.

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Bitter Blue

Earlier today, I came upon a notice warning that my hosting software is using an outdated, meaning unsupported, PHP version. Updating fatally crashed the site—so severely that I couldn’t access via tried-and-true Recovery Mode. Hours later, after reverting versions, the site came back to life. A single plugin presumably toasted everything. With the offender disabled, I will try the newer PHP once again.

But first, I had better fulfill my daily posting goal, which is how we come to the simple Featured Image, which I captured using Leica Q2 on May 13, 2022. I stopped for no particular reason before the flowers, along a sidewalk somewhere near where San Diego neighborhoods North Park and University Heights meet.

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The Cats of University Heights: Apricot

Some single sightings simply must be enough. As I crossed Monroe along Georgia on Feb. 5, 2022, a ginger strutted down the sidewalk and diagonally cut across grass and stopped at a sunny spot near the back stairs of an apartment complex. Two portraits taken using Leica Q2 flopped because the animal had turned away. One of a pair from iPhone 13 Pro has the shorthair showing his face, but even cropped 100 percent reveals little detail.

Since I am not hopeful about another meeting, so comes the decision to publish. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/254 sec, 77mm; 12:46 p.m. PST. Drumroll for nickname—Apricot!

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No, It’s Me Watching You

On University Avenue in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood—alongside Bohdi Animal Hospital, across from Smart and Final—is a fitting homeless habitat. That is, if you go for the stereotype of some street-living person paranoid about government surveillance, which could include nanites from SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 vaccines. The sign says it all, in a triumphant tables-turning warning to the spies.

Today, as my wife and I waited for our turn to cross the street, I pulled around Leica Q2 for a single shot. Because, ah, someone watched me, speed mattered. The Featured Image is a close-crop, and, yes, University slopes along that stretch at Mississippi.

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‘Free! To Good Homes!’

Somewhere in my San Diego neighborhood, I passed by these giveaways that aren’t for just anyone. Read the sign. Does your residence rise to the high bar set by “Good Homes” with an exclamation? I couldn’t take anything being among the many unworthy.

There are the makings of a good home, singular, for someone starting out in a first rental, particularly a studio. That’s who would be most worthy recipient. What first furnishings: Sofa, storage rack, pillows, VHS player, cleaning supplies, and more.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Tom and Jerry

For Friday the Thirteenth, we present a lucky find from yesterday. While walking up Meade Avenue in North Park, just beyond the University Heights boundary at Texas, my wife spotted a skinny kitty dash across the street. Annie eventually found him (or her) hiding under a truck on Arizona. We moved along.

Not long later, I spotted a shorthair slunk low in a porch column’s shadow. Annie expressed concern about the beastie acting fearful. That’s when I exclaimed and pointed to the cat’s companion, which had riveted attention: Mouse in a plastic cage. Oh, how I wonder what is the backstory!

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Palm Canyon Misadventure

My wife and I drove over to Balboa Park, today, to explore Palm Canyon Trail, only to find much of the path blocked by chain-link and sign. We covered greater distance walking from the parking lot to the path’s entrance. Well, welcome to the wiles of San Diego’s hidden natural wonders.

Still, I relished having dirt, rather than cement, beneath my shoes—and the outside-the-city feeling of being inside the canyon, beneath the cover of various tree species, with bird call above and the only other sound being the intrusive roar of jets flying overhead to land at the airport (yeah, flightpath).

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The Cats of University Heights: Sheen

We stay on Louisiana Street, where on the same block you might meet: Cuddles, Honcho, JinglesKuro, Regal, Saunter, or Squeaky. All-blacks are often hardest for me to distinguish. This fine feline bears resemblance to Kuro, who was spotted on a nearby property, but without bell collar; so I take a chance that the two are not one and the same.

The beastie backlog remains, but with fewer left to publish. While I have seen this shorthair several times over several months, the documented meeting (and greeting) occurred on Jan. 28, 2022.

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Perspective Highway

During the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns, I got into the bad habit of photographing alleys, buildings, and streets—yeah cats, too—but have yet to get back to people. They have come out of their dwellings, so I have no excuse.

That as preface, I present a pair of photos where humans are present but unseen. Hey, these aren’t self-driving cars. The view looks out from the University Avenue bridge in Hillcrest onto slow-moving traffic along California State Highway 163.

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This is Progress?

I am not obsessed with the construction site at El Cajon Blvd and Louisiana Street, despite the number of recent photos and commentaries about it: Cave’s Grave; Wonder Wall; Shattered Serenity; Postal Convenience Center. My interest is what the project represents to San Diego neighborhoods Hillcrest, North Park, and University Heights, where relaxation of zoning rules is bringing down charming businesses and homes and replacing them with high-rises that are way out of character with the area.

The Featured Image, taken on May 7, 2022 using Leica Q2, captures before, during, and after multi-unit construction. Foreground looks across the aforementioned recent demolition to a four-story residential complex at Mississippi, overlooking the recently relocated Red Fox Steak House.

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The Cats of University Heights: Jingles

On the same Louisiana block where the Craftsman Bungalows were demolished and where reside Cuddles, HonchoKuro, Regal, Saunter, and Squeaky, my wife and I met a Tuxedo whose manner and movement suggest elder cat.

I believe this fine feline is longest-ago photographed but unpublished beastie. Some kitties are more endearing than others, and this one tickled my fancy (yeah, yeah, archaic phrasing) such that I held back posting in hopes of getting a real name. While Annie and I have seen the shorthair since the first sighting on Jan. 23, 2022, we haven’t been lucky enough to encounter an owner.

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To Become an Amateur Radio Operator

Nine years after receiving a FRN (FCC Registration Number), I finally sat down for official examination to quality for a Ham Radio Technician Class license. The Featured Image shows one of the study materials used to prepare; alongside is the transceiver that will start my broadcasting journey. But nothing happens until the Federal Communications Commission issues a call sign, which with my name must appear in the agency’s online licensee database.

Before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 mandates, I would have spent a day in a class, followed by the 35-question test. Scoring 74 percent answers correct is the minimum to pass. Locally, classes are as often as monthly—none during the pandemic lockdowns—and move about San Diego County.