Author: Joe Wilcox

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San Diego’s Record House Prices Baffle Me

In a pandemic-stricken economy of soaring unemployment and where small businesses fall like dominos—and more risk toppling because of California Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom’s restrictive lockdown orders—you might expect the housing market to reflect real-world woes. Oddly, though, the median sale price of homes in metro San Diego is a record high of $665,000, according to data collected by Redfin. That’s a 13-percent year-over-year increase, as of Sept. 6, 2020. County-wide, according to the California Association of Realtors, median home price is $732,560, and that’s up 13 percent from August 2019.

My neighborhood, University Heights, reflects the trend—with emphasis. Searching Trulia and Zillow, the bargain-basement-priced listing is a single-bedroom, one-bath, 576-square-foot condominium in a three-story complex looking into an open courtyard. You can live there for $299,900, or $521 per square foot. If that’s too small, how about a cozy two-bed, two-bath, 726-square-foot condo for $415,000; $572 per square foot? Both places are indistinguishable from any apartment for rent; maybe not as good-looking.

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The Cats of University Heights: Speckle

Call me surprised for finding another Alabama cat—fifty-fourth seen between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. I don’t walk down the street significantly more often than others, so the number of beasties baffles me. The ginger and I met in the parking lot of the same building where lives Mercy.

The shorthair earns nickname Speckle, for the dash of white in the center of its M-mark—as you can see from the Featured Image and companion, which I captured using iPhone XS on Sept. 8, 2020. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/597 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:54 a.m. PDT. The other is f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/193 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:55 a.m.

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Flickr a Week 37b: ‘Window’

Self-titled “Window” isn’t the best street shot in the Photostream of Spyros Papaspyropoulos, but it’s the one that caught my eye and that appropriately defines his style: People, or things, that fit oddly together. His composition technique is brash and intimate—as if he were invisible and thus able to get close in to capture candid, raw, unfiltered moments.

He used Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujinon XF18mmF2 R lens for the portrait “snapped in Chania, Crete, Greece” on Aug. 8, 2018. Vitals: f/11, ISO 1600, 1/250 sec, 18mm. The image takes the Sunday spot for candor, character, color, composition, and creamy grain that adds film-like quality. From Athens, but living in Rethymno, Spyros joined Flickr in May 2008. He also is cofounder of Street Hunters—where you should go to see more of his work and that of his companion photographers.

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Sidewalk Gym

San Diego’s climate is ideal for almost any year-round outdoor activity, something the large number of people riding, running, or walking make obvious. Outside workouts are more common now, even though gyms have reopened following […]

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Flickr a Week 37a: ‘Aerial View of New York City, in which the World Trade Center Twin Towers is Prominent’

About a month before Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists used hijacked commercial airliners as missiles, Carol M. Highsmith captured self-titled “Aerial View of New York City, in which the World Trade Center Twin Towers is Prominent“. According to the Library of Congress, to which she donated this photo and others from across America, Carol produced a digital image “to represent her original film transparency; some details may differ between the film and the digital images”.

The link from her name goes to the LoC page; that in the credit to Rawpixel Ltd., which posted the public domain cityscape on Dec. 9, 2018. Carol is the photographer but not the Flickr account holder from where she joins the series. Camera and other information is unknown.

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Need a Lyft?

Ahead of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic leading to California’s statewide shutdown, electric scooters suddenly vanished from many San Diego County communities. Local governments didn’t want the things cluttering the streets. But, as life returns to some semblance of normalcy, scooters creep back onto the streets, something like cockroaches emerging from Nuclear Winter.

Still, sightings are rare enough in my neighborhood that today I was surprised to see this lone Lyft parked at Alabama and El Cajon, where sits BLVD North Park, which is located in University Heights. If you can’t build real estate in the location you want, pretense naming is your solution.

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It’s Like Living in a Dystopian Drama

Late this afternoon, my apartment filled with an eerie orange glow—like nothing ever seen in the nearly 13 years living in San Diego.The aura created an end-to-the-world ambience—something like the approaching solar winter of sci-fi film “Sunshine“, which is among my most favorites.

Already, heat scorched the city; hours earlier, based on GPS weather forecasting, 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 Celsius) outside my residence. A friend up North in Pasadena reported 114 F (45.5 C) at 11 a.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Frosty

As I write, the official temperature outside, based on GPS location, is 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius)—and aren’t we lucky: Only 94 F (34 C) inside the apartment. No sensible person in the temperate, San Diego coastal region uses an air conditioner; we live about 10-minute drive to the ocean but even this far away the sea breeze is fairly constant. Not today! Suddenly AC sure seems like a great relief.

On more pleasing Aug. 29, 2020, as my wife and I walked along New Jersey, a handsome Snowshoe Siamese strolled along a front yard. Of course, Leica Q2 was back at the flat. The Featured Image, captured using iPhone XS, would retain greater detail if taken with the camera. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/322 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:13 a.m. PDT.