Author: Joe Wilcox

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Clover

I am no expert in the ways of territory—how kitties define and defend it or permit another animal’s presence. Throughout the neighborhood, I will see cats regarding one another, sharing space in fairly close proximity without otherwise challenging or engaging. Such was the occurrence on Feb. 2, 2021, when an intruder sat some distance from the beauty that I call Tortie; in her yard.

The newcomer earns nickname Clover; I couldn’t approach close enough to read the name tag. I used Leica Q2 to take the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 125, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 3:04 p.m. PST. The companion, captured using iPhone XS, is better composed but nowhere near as sharp. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/139 sec, 52mm (film equivalent): 3:06 p.m.

Read More

The Sun’s Sidewalk Art

On my 8-kilometer (5-mile) walk home from the dentist today, bike rack shadows seemed so perfectly placed for a quick photo using iPhone XS. Composed and presented as shot, the Featured Image comes from El Cajon Blvd near Aragon Drive in San Diego community College Area. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/2833 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 10:47 a.m. PST.

A few blocks beyond, I saw someone’s personal belongings being moved from a building to the sidewalk. I wondered if the individual(s) had been evicted, when approaching seeing two cop cars and several officers. Many homeless folks encamp in that area, too. What I observed and heard: A healthy-looking, bossy black woman closing on a white policeman and demanding: “Put me in the car and let’s go”. She sure didn’t have that worn, living-on-the-street appearance. The lady was clean, neat, and articulate.

Read More

Accidents are Inevitable

My relentless criticism of so-called “traffic calming measures”—part of the future Georgia-Meade bikeway—continues with a current look down Meade from Georgia. Click on the Featured Image hyperlink and take a close look at the activity at Alabama, where is the first of the traffic circles that replaces stop signs.

You are witness to a near accident—as two vehicles converge from different directions. Who should yield to whom isn’t always obvious, which is gravely complicated by poor visibility for some approaching vehicles and the speed with which many drivers enter the roundabout intersections. I can’t imagine how much more dangerous will these circles be when the route officially opens to bicycles.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Pepper

The portrait I want often isn’t the one I get—particularly when there is need to remove a house number because an obstruction (parked car) limited composition when shooting. In part because of the secondary (telephoto) lens, iPhone XS bested Leica Q2 for capturing a Featured Image more suitably cropped—and that’s no praise for the edited photo. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1916 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:41 a.m. PST, Dec. 15, 2020.

I spotted the tiger tabby along Cleveland Ave. not far from Meade. Perhaps because of the building exterior’s salty appearance, I immediately thought Pepper when looking at the peaceful kitty—hence the nickname. The slumbering shorthair is the sixtieth seen behind window or door.

Read More

A Valentine’s Day Story

A favored walking route from Old Trolley Barn Park is the alley between Alabama and Florida streets. Occasionally, Pace (pronounced paw-chay, according to his owner) appears—and, on some days, Coon or Ghost (both nicknames) in an adjacent, expansive yard. Today, I passed by a woman either emptying recyclables or trash (not sure which) and she wished: “Happy Valentine’s Day”. She was cheerful, which emotion a higher-pitch voice accentuated. Her apartment overlooks the alley, and she recognized me from looking out her windows on other days.

The 35-year-old Salt Lake City native has resided in San Diego for about a decade. We talked about the terrible expense of living here, mainly housing, which she offsets by having a roommate and adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom’s several SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns put her on unemployment twice, which led her to become entrepreneurial, rather than depressed and destitute. Adapting her mom’s recipe, she bakes and sells chocolate chip cookies by the dozen—$15 a box.

Read More

What’s Not Upside Down in California?

While walking along Monroe, approaching Utah, in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, a street sign beckoned my attention. Consider the Featured Image, captured using Leica Q2, as a metaphor for all things unimaginably crackers about the Golden State. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2, ISO 100, 1/5000 sec, 28mm; 2:54 p.m. PST, Feb. 10, 2021.

We could start with the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns that have devastated California’s economy; compelled tens of thousands of businesses to permanently close; put millions of people out of work and unable to pay either rent or mortgage; prevented landlords and lenders from collecting the aforementioned and prohibited them from evicting tenants and homeowners; forced families or individuals into homelessness; kept kids out of school for 11 months and counting; opened the prisons, releasing potentially dangerous individuals into the population (many of these former inmates become homeless); and—hell, that’s long-enough list of misery.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Champagne

With a backlog of photographed but unpublished kitties, I shouldn’t skip a fresh feline to the front of the line. But I am too satisfied with the Featured Image and companion, both captured today using Leica Q2. Vitals for each, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100. 1/125 sec, 28mm; 11:58 a.m. PST.

Nicknamed Champagne, for fur color, he appeared along Louisiana not far from where Gracie lived (she has passed away from old age). My wife, who first spotted the tan shorthair, also observed Ash lurking nearby; I assume the cats regarded one another—as he and Nelson often do.

Read More

Before Meade’s Traffic Circles

I continue to review past photos of San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood for their personal, nostalgic value. Many were edited around the time captured—like the Featured Image, using Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens—but not published. Until now. Vitals, aperture unknown: ISO 100, 1/2000 sec, 50mm; 5:08 p.m. PDT, May 26, 2018.

The view is from cross-street Georgia; Florida is at the bottom of the hill. Beyond is Alabama, where currently there is a so-called “traffic calming measure” (e.g. circle), supporting the forthcoming regional bikeway. Mississippi follows, then Louisiana (where three years later there is another calming measure). At the stoplight is Texas, where across starts North Park, which name is rudely etched into the two circles on the UH side. That’s but one of the obstructions’ unintended consequences.

Read More

Schwinn Time

This afternoon, I walked home through the San Diego neighborhood of Hillcrest, where waits one of the many artifacts of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns. Schwinn stationary bikes are available for those locals looking to exercise outdoors, which is a periodic requirement depending on which way the stay-at-home order blows; sometimes indoor gyms are allowed to open, oftentimes not.

I have seen souls pedaling together during tandem instruction. But nobody rode the road to nowhere when I happened to pass by. Unfortunately, I carried along Leica Q2 Monochrom, which was supposed to effuse magnificent ambience in my nibble hands. But the scene was overly cluttered; in black and white the compositions are too busy, with little comfortable place for the eyes to naturally go.