Category: Living

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Desolate and Dreamy

On the same evening that I shot “Harvest Moon“, using Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, I tried another using Leica Q2 Monochrom that didn’t come out as anticipated. Nevertheless, something about the street scene is evocative to me so I share it with you. Vitals, aperture and shutter speed manually set: f/1.7, ISO 12500, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 8:25 p.m. PDT, Sept. 29, 2023.

What surprises me is how eerily quiet is the neighborhood during the evenings. With the pleasant weather, I would expect to see more people. Instead, the streets are drearily desolate—dystopian, almost.

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Finally, a Good Use For Cloth COVID Masks

Talk about a day-making moment and wonderful way to kick off first day of the new month. As my wife and I walked down the alley separating North and Campus, in our San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, she stopped and excitedly exclaimed about seeing cantaloupes growing in a community garden.

I saw the masks, smiled, and pointed them out. The Featured Image is for context. The companion is the money shot, so to speak. I used Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra to capture both, yesterday. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 50, 1/1200 sec, 70mm (film equivalent); 11:48 a.m. PDT. The second: f/4.9, ISO 50, 1/340 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 11:48 a.m.

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A Solitary Sign

This is different and, honestly, refreshing. In my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, We Believe signs are almost always some variation of rainbow color text on black background professing sentiments like “love is love”; “black lives matter”; and “science is real”—among others.

Today, along Shirley Ann Place, my wife and I passed a placard seemingly meant as an antidote to the others. Given the community’s liberal leanings, and the plethora of the other signs, I must admit surprise seeing one so blatantly contrary. We live where views dissident to progressive feelings-based beliefs and values simply are not tolerated.

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Ghosts Light Up the Dark

Bouncing about San Diego, I am surprised to see some neighborhoods deck out for Halloween and others for Christmas—either/or and neither. Here in University Heights, the former is choice du jour and many residents rarely wait beyond mid-September to decorate their yards.

Yesterday, while walking after dark, I came upon ghostly decor outside an apartment building; this kind of showcase is common among homes but much less so before multi-resident dwellings.

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Harvest Moon

Clouds dominate the sky on this fine Friday evening. But they briefly parted from the full moon as I walked along Monroe Avenue in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. Out came Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, set to 10x optical zoom for the Featured Image.

Noisy? Yes. Not sharp? Yep. But there is detail enough, considering this was a quick point-and-click shot. What matters more—to me, anyway—is character, meaning mood.

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Good Luck Finding a Place for Your Vehicle

While a fervent fan of local news reporting, nevertheless I don’t subscribe to the San Diego Union-Tribune. For folks like me—and maybe you—who can’t get behind the paywall to read stories, OB Rag uses a recent UT story as starting point for its own version. Paul Krueger, who is a “longtime San Diego journalist and a resident of Talmadge”, writes the story: “The Failed ‘Car-Free’ Apartment Project in North Park“.

The city’s zoning approach, which regulations relieve developers from providing parking for apartment buildings or condominiums, is running aground. Proximity to public transportation is the justification and part of a broader strategy of reducing so-called carbon emissions by shifting people from cars to bikes, buses, and trolleys. Good luck with that, because car culture is a California way of life. Residents drive everywhere.

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Boo Too

Why wait for Halloween to show off how San Diegans go nutso decorating all things ghoulish for October 31st? Our attention turns to seemingly innocuous street art (graffiti by any other name) scrawled on a utility box along El Cajon Blvd at 30th Street in North Park.

Perhaps, like me, “spoopy” is unfamiliar to you. Or perhaps you caught the 60-seconds of meme-fame a dozen years ago, when a single Flickr photo purloined and reposted on a Tumblr blog set off a frenzy of trick-or-treat wordplay.

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Dan Wilcox emailed a couple of photos today of us as youngsters. The Featured Image, dated 1970, would put our ages at about 16 and 11, respectively. Cuz was always taller (and better looking), even in adulthood. Ah, to look on my fine, blonde hair and remember having it.

The film SLR belonged to Dad. If I rightly recall, he used a Kowa, probably the seT R2. Like Leica Q2 (my primary camera), the Kowa utilized a leaf shutter, which I believe was located in the lens, rather than the body. The design made for nearly silent shooting—an appealing feature for wildlife photography.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mochi

A generational house on Georgia is home to three furballs. Zero qualifies as the normal one—meaning whole. Appearing in this series as Reddy, but renamed Jinx, is a ginger longhair missing tail and one eye. Growing kitten Mochi joins them.

She was found abandoned inside a fabric carrier outside one of the local businesses. Owner of the other two kitties took pity on Mochi and brought her home. Since, the shorthair has been checked by the vet and had her operation (you know, the one to prevent kittens).

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Cop Copter

I could count dozens of ways Southern California is oddly different from anywhere else I have lived, or traveled. With respect to the USA, I have been to every state—and Puerto Rico—but one: Hawaii. Among the oddities: Around San Diego, and presumably Los Angeles, helicopters frequently fly over with loudspeaker blaring some warning or notice.

“Suspect six-foot-ten black male wearing black hat, black hoodie, black jeans, and black backpack. Last seen scaling the fence at the 4500 block of Cleveland Avenue. Stay inside and lock your doors. Call 911 if you see suspect six-foot…” You know, repeats.

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The Winslow at Night

University Heights’ biggest, newest apartment complex—with 379 units—is anything but affordable housing. Rentals at the Winslow start at $2,400 for a 484-square-foot studio and go up to $5,945 for 1300-sq-ft apartment with two bedrooms and baths. San Diego officials propagate the myth that building more residences will decrease housing costs and therefore increase availability across lower income brackets.

But the opposite is reality: As newer complexes open, higher rents go with them, lifting the so-called “market rate” that other landlords watch as measure for what they charge their tenants. More is more, meaning rents rise with the new builds raised.