Author: Joe Wilcox

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Flickr a Week 17b: ‘COVID-19’

With much of the United States largely still shut down to combat the viral pandemic, cities look more like post-apocalyptic movie sets and little resemble bustling bastions of human habitation. Self-titled “COVID-19“—also known as SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—captures the loneliness with foreboding colors, punchy contrast, and captivating composition. At any other time, the street shot would beg questions: “Why is he wearing a mask?” “Is that cosplay for the comic book convention?” Here and now, we know—and the dude’s protective gear impresses compared to the bandanas and home-made face coverings many of us wear.

Chris Yarzab captured the moment on March 26, 2020, using Nikon D80 and 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 lens. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 110mm. There are different street-shooting styles. While many photographers get close to their subjects, such as zone-focus adherents, others reach from afar to produce their art; like Chris. Besides, the long-shot also adheres to strict “social distancing” guidelines. The portrait was taken in Panorama City, which is a Los Angeles neighborhood.

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The Cats of University Heights: Bella, Too

Who would have guessed? Another Bella lives on Alabama—and about a block separates the kitties. The new gal is the fiftieth feline seen on the street, between boundaries Adams and Lincoln; her namesake was profiled in November 2017. Bella, Too lives in the same apartment complex as Penny and where once resided Pedro; he has gone to live with his owner’s parents, whose place provides more run-around space.

The pretty Tuxedo is 15 years old, curious, and energetic. Problem: She recently started having sporadic seizures, that increased from one every few weeks to about every day. Preliminary diagnosis: Brain tumor. I could see during my conversation with her dad how much the affliction bothers him. Which leads into a strange side benefit to the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—aka COVID-19—lockdown: Working from home means he can monitor her condition, and (my words, not his) maybe ensure she lives longer.

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I Wonder How Much is the Pet Rent for THAT

About a month ago, I spotted a porker outside of a cottage apartment that my wife and I briefly considered renting sometime last year. While charming, with excellent windows, and lower monthly obligation than our current place, the one-bedroom flat came up short on living space; we wanted a little more square footage, not lots less. How then is it big enough for the current residents, which I guess includes the pig?

Then there is the question of pet rent, which already is an abomination applied to cats and dogs—and it’s too common a fee here in San Diego. Consider BLVD North Park, which actually is located in University Heights: Prospective tenants pay a $400 deposit for their animals and $50 additional monthly rent for each one. The fifty, even one-hundred, is typical for places demanding the fee—and so is $500 for deposit, which may not be refundable. Landlords could as reasonably pump a pint of blood from each resident, every 14 days, for the plasma. The vampires.

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When Pandemic Closes the Gym, Try This

The weather is unseasonably warm this week, here in San Diego. Temperature reached 26 degrees Celsius (about 80 F) this afternoon. I set out for a morning walk, when cooler, and surprisingly found what is the Featured Image. We all may be ordered to “shelter-in-place” and to “social distance“, but people still go outdoors—and exercise is all the more important to folks whose gym routines are upended by closure of most businesses.

The make-shift “fitness circuit” is wonderful remedy for anyone looking to maintain a physical exertion routine or to use the lockdown as opportunity to improve health through increased activity. Sunlight is an excellent source of Vitamin D, which offers several health benefits—improved immunity is one of them. That could assist the body’s fight against the ravages of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—aka COVID-19.

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Garbage Day

Trash and recycle collection is underway throughout San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood—and, whoa, is it needed. The cans overflow like I’ve not ever seen in the nearly 13 years living here. Shouldn’t surprise with most stores closed and Californians ordered to stay at home (e.g., “shelter-in-place“). Damn the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—aka COVID-19pandemic for the catastrophe unleashed on communities, counties, and countries across the globe. As asked three weeks ago: “I Wonder Which Will Flatten First: Us or the Curve?

The Featured Image (warning: 25MB file), taken on March 31, 2020 using Leica Q2, shows what happens with some of the refuse. The pizza box is one of three stuffed in a hedge. Seriously? Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 125, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 11:16 a.m. PDT.  The companion shot, from the same camera yesterday, gives glimpse of overflowing cans that typically wouldn’t be. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 4:25 p.m.

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Flickr a Week 17a: ‘The New Gardener’

During the past seven days, seemingly spontaneous protests have erupted demanding the end to government-ordered lockdowns that have shuttered most businesses and public spaces and all schools, ordered citizens to stay at home (e.g., “shelter-in-place“), and established strict guidelines for “social distancing“, hand washing, and mask wearing. Unemployment soars, economies are wrecked, and millions of people are sick or dying—all because of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic and drastic measures to slow its spread.

Citizens’ frustrations are understandable, particularly given that because economic and social isolation is working, overwhelmed emergency rooms and ICUs or the number of casualties are below worst projections. Accompanying self-titled “The New Gardener“, Neil Moralee has a message for those looking for a return to the old normal.

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The Cats of University Heights: Dusky

Not long after the series featured Steppy seven months ago, I observed his buddy nearby. But Spring 2020 would come before I snagged even a remotely usable portrait. Look carefully at the Featured Image, and you will discern a second cat on the can; the beasties await their supper on April 7. Pardon the mess, which includes strewn wet food cans; heavy rains fell that day and the previous one. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/392 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 4:59 p.m. PDT; iPhone XS.

The black earns nickname Dusky for color and early darkening of the late-afternoon sky stemming from imposing storm clouds on March 31, when I used Leica Q2 to capture the companion. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/11, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 5:04 p.m.

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From Fallen Flowers the Taco Truck Rises

The Taco Truck is a daily fixture, typically gathering a constant line of customers nearly all day long, at the corner of Meade and Texas in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. But after California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order on March 19, 2020, the food service operation vanished—for more than three weeks. I wondered why given that eateries offering delivery or take-out were permitted to stay open. What’s not take-away about a food truck serving burritos and tacos?

A few days before April 12, when I shot the Featured Image, the Mexican meals-on-wheels reappeared, but without standing tables alongside for customers and with a whiteboard upon which was scribbled a phone number to place orders to be picked up at the window. I suppose selling something is better than nothing, despite the stolen ambience and charm that made the place popular plus—that is festive and social, and, of course, good eating.

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Now, It’s the Apocalypse: San Diego Comic-Con Canceled

Today, SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—aka COVID-19—claimed an expected victim and long holdout being one. For the first time since its humble 1970 inception, San Diego Comic-Con will not happen as planned (July 23-26). The event joins the County Fair and a multitude of vertically-oriented industry conventions as Novel Coronavirus casualties.

For me, SDCC 2020 already was a non-event: Like the previous two Cons, I failed to secure a pass during Open Registration. For San Diego, which economy depends on tourism, the non-event pandemic is catastrophic. According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, tourism is the “second largest segment of [the local] economy”, employing approximately 200,000 people—or about 13 percent of the jobs across SD County. “It is vitally important to the economic health of the region”.