Category: Living

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Mustachio

The Alabama (number forty-eighth) and behind window or door (fifty-ninth) kitty run continues with the second of three—and maybe four. This handsome second-floor looker earns nickname Mustachio, for what should be obvious reason. While first-in-the-set Mercy looked out onto Alabama, this beastie has a view of the alley from an apartment building on the street.

On March 3, 2020, I spotted Mustachio watching workmen renovate a building on the other side of the alley and facing Mississippi. I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image at 11:24 a.m. PST. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/781 sec, 52mm (film equivalent).

Read More

Someone Tried to Steal Bruce

As my wife and I walked along Monroe today, a voice called from behind: “Hey, there’s something I have to tell you about Bruce“—not an exact quote but the gist is right. She approached, with her dog leashed and the tabby trotting behind. He was profiled for my “Cats of University Heights” series in May 2017.

Three days ago, someone came pounding frantically on her door, agitated: “Something happened to Bruce”. The tiger tabby likes to hang out and watch the kids at a nearby daycare, and he had stretched out on the sidewalk waiting for them to come outdoors to play. They didn’t, as the place is temporarily closed—along with most other businesses in the city because of state and county orders that everyone should “stay at home” as a means of slowing spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19.

Read More

I Agree

Along several sidewalks in the neighborhood, kids who have been forced home by school closings express in chalk positive sentiments about beating back or overcoming the global crisis presented by the conjoined pandemics: Viral—SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19—and socioeconomic. One message moved me more than the others, for being affirmative against adversity.

“We Can Do This” is a proclamation of will, of determination, of taking responsibility—with the plural meaning everything. We can be two or more all the way up to collective humanity. But the importance is greater, as the sentiment explodes in context: In California, like a handful of other states, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all 40-million citizens to “stay at home” and practice so-called “social distancing” behavior as a strategy to slow spread of the contagion. All businesses, but a handful considered to be “essential”, are closed. We are apart physically—separated by six feet or more—but we are close in desire.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Mercy

Our fifty-eighth kitty looking out window (or door) also is the forty-seventh seen on Alabama—and first in a series of three (or four) from the street; all of them behind glass (or screen), too.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image, on March 19, 2020, between Adams and Madison. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1083 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 11:20 a.m. PDT. The nickname comes from my reaction to seeing the Tuxedo peering out from behind a closed window with bars. “Have mercy, and pardon this poor prisoner!”

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Digger

My wife and I continue to take guarded walks, mostly along neighborhood alleys, as we attempt to practice so-called “social distancing” behavior whenever taking relief from our otherwise apartment lockdown. Actually, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all 40-million Californians to “stay at home“—a desperate strategy to slow spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19. Today, as we crossed Mission Ave., I spotted a black shorthair digging into a lawn. Hence, the nickname.

The home is next door to the place where lives Luna. Presumably, Digger is a relatively new resident—as the property where she foraged sold last year. Annie and I had a look during an Open House—not that we had interest in buying beyond our means, which describes, or perhaps described, most every property in San Diego (before contagion-containing tactics devastated the U.S. economy, among other nations).

Read More

Thin Crust Topped with Thick Irony

For days I’ve wondered about making one last Pizza Hut order—a final reach for what was before embarking on what is. Should I take away, like usual, or choose delivery? Last night, on my wife’s advice, I chanced pickup and nearly dropped the pies on the way to the car. Marketing messaging on the box caused me to laugh uncontrollably. Oh, and I desperately needed the chuckle, as do many more of us. “March Madness”: How ironically appropriate for circumstances.

The SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—better known as COVID-19pandemic is upon us. As I started warning family more than a month ago, the contagion is a transformative event unlike anything experienced by human society for many generations. Everyone’s lifestyle will change. The world we knew is gone. Poof!

Read More

Something Stinks Here

There are the photo opportunities that you frustratingly miss, those you purposely pass on, and the ones you use for illustration—even when they’re make-do. That’s the context for our Featured Image, shot today using iPhone XS. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 69, 1/1689 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 10:05 a.m. PDT. Now comes some explanation.

In response to the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic, federal and state officials have issued orders for citizens to “shelter in place“. Most businesses considered to be non-essential are closed; schools are, too. Staying home is fine most of the time, but some healthy outdoor activity is nevertheless necessary for the Wilcox family’s well-being. Turns out that walks are considered to be safe enough—and my wife and I continue to take them, mindful to try and keep the recommended six feet away from passersby (mostly dog walkers). At 8:50 a.m. PDT, we met someone, or I should say something, that we surely wanted to keep distance from: A skunk scurrying down the Meade Ave. sidewalk approaching us.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Shelter

A week ago, the World Health Organization (finally) declared SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—a pandemic. Next Day, President Trump declared a national emergency. Here in California, most bars, eateries, K-12 schools, shops, and universities are indefinitely closed, while residents are ordered to stay home—a tactic meant to “flatten the curve” of the contagion’s spread. Reasoning: If people avoid one another (so-called “social distancing”), fewer folks will be sick at once. Otherwise, with a nearly 20-percent medical intervention rate, Novel Coronavirus would, or likely still will, overwhelm hospitals. In San Diego, for example, there are not enough beds for the expected number of people desperately in need of invasive care.

Walks are considered safe enough, and my wife and I continue them. If you must “shelter in place“, ocean breezes and sunshine are Southern California comforts that invigorate mental and physical well-being. We might as well take advantage of what the cost of living pays for—while we still can (gulp, considering the economic pandemic also underway). As long as we can still get out, I’ll be on the lookout for fresh felines to add to this series. Hence: The fifty-seventh window watcher, which I saw on March 14, 2020 along Campus between Meade and Monroe.

Read More

Flickr a Week 12: ‘Reincarnated?’

The week goes to Tee Cee and self-titled “Reincarnated?“—for beautiful bokeh, clever caption, ethereal quiescence, grainy texture, and the photographic tool chosen. Late last month, Fujifilm shipped the fifth iteration of its fixed lens compact, the X100V. Tee made this portrait, using the first, which released nine years earlier. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 4000, 1/28 sec, 28mm.

I owned the original X100, back in 2011. It’s amazing—and yet not—to see someone still shooting one. The camera is a classic. Granted, the duck portrait is nearly two years old (May 2, 2018), but Tee still uses the X100 for street shooting—from looking at more recent posts to the Photostream.

Read More

To Slow the Pandemic, Commerce Crumbles

Last night, Governor Gavin Newsom directed the closure of restaurants—other than take-away or delivery—across California. San Diego County issued legally-enforceable health orders, 11 in all, that impose tighter restrictions. Sizable group gatherings are prohibited, and residents are instructed to stay home. Six days after the World Health Organization (finally) declared SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—a pandemic, commerce shutters, slows, and stops.

My wife and I take cautious walks around the neighborhood, avoiding other people as we can. Today, as we approached Park Blvd from Monroe Ave., a strange sight greeted: Closed LeStat’s. The bustling coffee shop is normally open 24 hours every day of the year. We didn’t explore the remaining portion of University Height’s main street, but for sure the many bars and restaurants are dark, too.

Read More

Don’t They Know It’s a Pandemic?

I will be pissed if any of these people, who irresponsibly risk exposure to Novel Coronavirus, take a hospital bed before someone trying to more safely #StayTheFuckHome. We are in the midst of a fraking global pandemic and the banning of social gatherings everywhere. My two living sisters were supposed to vacation 10-days hence in Florida, with Disney World being the main activity. The theme park, like many, many others, is closed. That plan changed.

But a few blocks from my apartment, Pop Pie Co. and sister shop Stella Jean’s Ice Cream kept their Pi Day celebration going, gathering a crowd of would-be spreaders of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19. Today, France and Spain imposed restrictions that, like Italy, essentially lock down (e.g., quarantine) the entire countries. Hours earlier, Apple Stores closed globally outside of China until March 27. Yesterday, President Trump declared a national emergency in response to the contagion’s rapid spread. Everyone is advised to stay home and avoid crowds. Not create them!