Category: Aspiration

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Sound Sentiment

Now that I am (cough, cough) sixty-five, shock and awe rankle me. I always thought of people this age as being old; ancient, really. Now, here I am—one of them. I don’t feel old, but age is apparent from my reflection in the mirror or when walking outside. What seems like a fast pace to me can’t keep up with that of the younger folks; not even close.

Sometime recently, Ron Howard-directed Cocoon came to be available on one of the streaming services. The film released in summer 1985, and I was 25 at the time. I easily identified with the Twenty- and Thirty-something aliens, and I chuckled at the absurdity of the elderly folks hoping to regain some youthful vitality. Gasp. Now I am their age, and that realization caused eerie, queasy emotions while rewatching Cocoon.

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Street Preaching

The Featured Image, taken by an unknown photographer, puts me on a New York City street in either the summer of 1980 or `81—I don’t recall which. That would make me 21 or 22 years-old, with hair!

Good friend Andy Morris looks on. My recollection of him is his infectious, and friendly, smile. Where is it, Andy? Was I that boring? Looking at how stiff I appear to be, maybe I wasn’t so good a street preacher.

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Politics Stress Relief

As I write, the first Presidential debate, between presumptive candidates Joseph Biden and Donald Trump, is underway. For now, my intention is not to watch. Later, I will start with clips and possibly peek at a recorded version through which I can fast-forward and pause. The live event promises to be pure poison.

Or stated differently: Various manifestations of elder abuse. Seriously? You ask. Yes, Biden for his sheer presence and demand to stand and be mentally present for 90 minutes or so. Trump, for the abrasive handling by the hostile CNN moderators.

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Goodbye Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, Hello Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge

Neither I nor my wife looked back with much regret when we escaped the Apple socialist computing lifestyle and adopted Android smartphones and Windows PCs. Can you say freedom?

In December 2022, I bought Surface Laptop Studio for me. Config: 14.4-inch touchscreen (2400 x 1600 resolution); quad-core 11th-generation Intel Core H35 i7-11370H processor; 4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics; 32GB RAM; 2TB SSD. She got Surface Laptop 5. Config: 13.5-inch touchscreen (2256 x 1504 resolution); 12th-generation Intel Core i7-1255U processor; 16GB RAM; 512GB SSD.

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Bee Passionate

The crazy thing about San Diego is the way flowers, plants, and trees grow. Anywhere. Everywhere. Unexpected places. Along an alley across from fencing where grapes grow, I passed passion fruit today. That’s two different neighbors’ fence lines.

I initially whipped out Galaxy Samsung S24 Ultra for a shot of four fruits lined up. But busy bees brought my attention to the flowers, where luck delivered good-enough composition and a bee in flight. What’s not to like about that?

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Big Book Bounty

When I was in high school, my cousin piqued my interested in a Dutch novel published in 1968 that debuted in 1973 translated into English. Every few months, over the past three years or so, I looked for a copy to buy, but prices are generally exorbitant; the book is out of print.

Where Were You Last Pluterday? by Paul Van Herck is satirical science fiction at its comically cringiest. The absolute absurdity of American politics and cultural currents triggered my curiosity about how-true-to-life had the hilariously nonsensical story become. Something about our reality of the absurd was once science fiction. I had to know: How prescient is the 50-year-old-plus novel?

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What Real Camping Looks Like

Welcome back to the North Maine Woods, circa mid-1970s. I am the skinny, short kid to the far left; my father, in the red hat, is to the far right. Next to me, my cousin Dan looks at something; my guess is an insect.

His sister Debbie, sitting up, came along with two obnoxious friends. I spent several weeks as object of their abusive taunts and teasing. Wicked women, they were.

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Grampy and Grandsons

We aren’t finished with the family photos. The Featured Image is another, provided by my cousin Dan, who sits playing checkers with our mutual granddad. I am the kid with the dorky grin. The photo was taken sometime in 1970, making me either 10 or 11, depending on when.

My Uncle Glenn made the portrait; camera unknown. Where: The Wilcox Family Farm—the majority of which my father unexpectedly deeded to the co-pastors of his church. A long-time family friend sent me a copy of the Quickclaim Deed, dated March 27, 2024. He died almost exactly three weeks later.

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My Uncle and His Camera

Now a blast from the past: 54-years-ago this month, meaning May 1970. My Uncle Glenn holds his gorgeous Yashica Mat-124. The newer G model released that year; I don’t know how long he owned the medium-format twin-lens reflex camera.

Wow, what a beauty she is (oh, and my uncle is handsome, too). The Mat-124 packed two—count `em—lenses at one of my three favorite Prime focal lengths: 80mm (28mm and 135mm are the others).

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Midday Mourning Cloak

While Annie and I walked yesterday, she delighted about a butterfly fluttering by. It stopped long enough for me to get off a couple quick shots using Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. The Featured Image is best of the set.

I grew up collecting and studying insects and quickly recognized the Mourning Cloak. Certainly, I know the butterfly from Northern Maine and assumed that, like many other Lepidoptera, Mourning Cloak was limited to the East. Wow, my big mistake: The range is broadest among the block of 11 continuous Western states.

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Croak or Caw?

Along Adams Ave., at the end of the bridge above Texas Street, I spotted some huge birds in the trees below. The vantage point presented another opportunity to see how good (or bad) Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra could be shooting distant objects.

Unlike the S23 Ultra, which packs 10x optical lens, the newer model relies on 5x optical and in-camera close-cropping 50-megapixels to produce something that is supposed to be as good as, or better than, the last-generation smartphone. You judge.