Category: Aspiration

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They Come to Eat

On the second—and last—day visiting Dad, he asked my sister to take out scraps for the birds. She put them beside the building just below the big windows looking out onto the backyard. She calls the room, where his little dogs like to sun, the Solarium.

During the course of the afternoon, I observed birds and several red squirrels come by for grab-and-go snacks. The glass was clean enough that I could shoot through the window, using Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. The Featured Image sets the mood for the set. Look sharp for the red squirrel. Vitals: f/3.4, ISO 32, 1/900 sec, (synthetic) 230mm (digital and optical zoom); 1:58 p.m. EST, Feb. 18, 2024.

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Dad’s Dogs

The first morning in Aroostook County, my sister and I left our Aunt’s house to be greeted by a balmy air temperature of -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit). The next day: -17 C (1 F). Brrr. By the way, -40 is where the two scales of measurement meet—and, yes, Northern Maine absolutely does get so cold.

Dad’s dogs are the cutest ever. The Shih Tzu littermates are about three years old, and they are litter pan trained. Think about it. Would you want to take out two little dogs to do their business when it’s so cold outside. Wind blows constantly at the family farm, so think colder.

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That’s Not a Lot of Snow

My hometown of Caribou, Maine averages about 279 cm (110 inches) of snow per season, which typically spans from mid-November to late April. But October isn’t too early or May too late for a dusting or meaningful accumulation. Depending on your measure of cold and snow, winter is as long as six months.

But 2023-24 is anything but typical. Snowfall is significantly below normal. According to outdoor enthusiast site Snoflo: “Snowpack levels across the state are currently 35 percent of normal. The deepest snowpack in Maine was last observed at Caribou Wfo [Weather Forecast office] with a snowpack depth of 7 inches [17.8 cm], about 35 percent of normal when compared to it’s 20 inches [51 cm] average depth for this time of year”.

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Brushing University Heights

Some San Diego stoplights take so long to turn that they present unexpected opportunities—like taking the Featured Image. At Madison and Texas, I observed an artist painting the village’s name on a utility box. My wife and I were in the car headed to Costco.

We sat so long at the Red that I could claw Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra out of my snug jeans pocket; unlock the device; launch the camera app; roll down the window; tap 5x zoom; and (finally) compose three shots. Whew. And still there was time to spare!

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Tree Sign

While walking along Madison, just into North Park, my wife pointed out what looked like a branch placed atop a street-sweeping sign, today. She thought kids, then changed her mind on further investigation. A tree had grown up the metal post and come out on the back side.

This was a resilient, living thing—and another example of how conducive is San Diego’s year-round summer climate and fertile soil to growing seemingly anything at any time.

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Real Rainbow Rises

Six-color flags are quite common in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. Real rainbows are rare occurrences, and a delight, in part because rain is uncommon. Yearly average precipitation (October to September) is about 25 cm (10 inches). We are already well above that number, following a series of storms.

That explains my seeing two rainbows in the sky on consecutive days—one to the West from the front of our apartment building and the other East in the alley behind. The latter is the Featured Image, taken yesterday using Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

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A Rosey Outlook

Torrential rains fall this evening across San Diego County. Officials warn of flooding that will rival or exceed last month’s storm surge. When I checked the forecast before bed, last night, showers would start around 3 a.m. and increase throughout the day.

But the low pressure area either slowed or stalled, allowing my wife and I to walk about 4.2 km (2.6 miles) roundtrip to The Hub in Hillcrest for on-sale tuna fish at Ralph’s supermarket. Light drizzle started minutes after we returned to our apartment. Lucky.

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Professional (Thief) @Work

Four @Work Series Android Collectibles remain in the box—correction, three after today’s debut: Executive / Lawyer / Investor. I can’t imagine why he dresses in purple, other than perhaps some royal, divine-right-of-kings sense of self-importance. He is better than you (and me, too). Well, I never heard such nutty-sense before. What might these three professions share in common? Ah, thievery perhaps?

I must admit to liking the eyeglasses. Can I have a pair, similarly styled? But the briefcase wouldn’t attached as designed. I tucked the thing under an arm, so precariously that heavy breathing could case it to fall down.

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The Lamp’s Shadow

This evening, while standing in our living room, I marveled over the shadow cast by the hanging lamp, which we bought with IKEA’s NIPPRIG collection nine years ago. Handmade from natural fibers,  the furniture and accessories are lightweight and durable—and were amazingly affordable. For example, we paid $125 for each of the two sofas (see link above for glimpse).

I used Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra to capture the Featured Image. In post-production, I cropped 3:2, which removed top of our TV from the frame. Then, in post-production, I pushed dehaze slider, which amped shadows and darkened the overall photo.

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Coin Collection

While waiting outside the Smart & Final for my wife, who was grocery shopping (bless her!), I hung out in the parking lot by the wall where, on the other side, homeless folk sometimes hang out. On the ledge, I came upon a small collection of coins.

My question: Did some good Samaritan leave loose change for the unhoused (hate that term) to find, or were the coins perhaps gathered and forgotten? Either, or neither, could be true.

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Yikes! Two Galaxy S24 Series Smartphones are in the House

Yesterday, UPS delivered the Galaxy S24 and S24 Ultra, which I preordered from Samsung on Jan. 17, 2024. My wife and I each chose one of the three exclusive colors; she moves up from the S22 and I from S23 Ultra. The South Korean manufacturing conglomerate offered generous $450 trade-in value for her phone and $750 for mine. Combined with other discounts and incentives, which includes double storage, my out-of-pocket spend for the new model is less than the older one. For hers, I paid less than the discount given for the trade-in.

Last night, right before going to bed, I finally opened the box for a peak and a shock. Titanium Green wasn’t as strong a color as I expected. Oddly, the Featured Image and companion—even taken with Leica Q2—isn’t representative. The green isn’t as faint or pastel as you see but not really far from it.

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Squirrel’s Supper

In February 2023, I owned the Galaxy S22 Ultra for such short time that upgrading to the S23 Ultra sure seemed stupid. But, for preorders, Samsung offered appealing trade-in value ($500) and other incentives that reduced price so much that the new flagship cost less than what I paid for my wife’s humbler S22 a few months earlier.

The S23 Ultra turned out to be quite a bit better than its predecessor by way of many refinements, particularly performance of the 10x optical zoom camera—the differentiating feature that appealed most to me.