Category: Aspiration

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For the Love of Pumpkins

The start of November ends the obsession of carving pumpkins for Halloween and begins pie prepping for Thanksgiving. My local Trader Joe’s—at The Hub Plaza in San Diego neighborhood Hillcrest—is all-holiday ready.

Bored, while waiting for my wife as she shopped inside the grocery, I stooped down with Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and captured the Featured Image. Vitals: f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/2900 sec, 13mm (film equivalent); 11:18 a.m., Oct. 27, 2023.

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The Cross Cat and Venom

At the house where lives Daniel Tiger, one of the “Cats of University Heights“, the kids have put up drawings for Halloween. I am a big fan of spiders and the black putty-tat’s expression is irresistible—as is the uninhibited artistry of a child.

The family also keeps chickens and puts out a jar of food for neighbors to feed them. There had been three birds, but recently only two roam the yard. What happened to the other one? I must ask sometime.

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Monster Mash

Since moving to the San Diego village of University Heights 16 years ago, I have given little attention to Halloween decorations. But in 2023, they are everywhere—and in exponential numbers. Some neighbors seemingly try to outdo others. Ostentatious, expansive, nightly-noticeable are the prevalent themes.

But a few seasonal adornments stand out for being tastefully austere, like these in the windows of a house along Lincoln. Coincidentally, in January, I wrote about the property then being the most costly rental ($5,950) in the neighborhood.

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Big Book Sale Surprise

My wife asked about going to see the San Diego mural from my Oct. 18, 2023 post, so today we walked to the alley between El Cajon Blvd and Howard Ave. along 30th Street in North Park. She took first photos; I shot some refreshers.

From there we headed West along Howard towards Sprouts market to buy bananas and organic whole milk. The University Heights Public Library book sale room opens into the grocer’s parking lot—and it was open. So we ventured inside for a surprise.

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Three of Us

I take the hint—just need to follow-through. Tonight, my cousin Dan emailed another photo, taken by my uncle, circa 1970, with closing “call any time”. I will. I will. We Wilcox men must stick together.

Meanwhile, the Featured Image, later edited by me, is what he sent. I only share with you because everyone benefits from humbling moments of public humiliation. Eleven-year-old me looks like the prince of dweebs. I am aghast, honestly. Someone should have left that little twerp in the woods.

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Hungry Eyes

Who could guess that we would return to the “1917 House” for another look (seriously, no pun intended; maybe) at Halloween peepers just four days later. My previous daylight shot simply misses everything that makes the scene in darkness. I unexpectedly happened by this evening; 8:27 p.m. PDT.

The Featured Image is the last of three and surprising choice from Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. I had expected to share the 50-megapixel capture, but the 12MP is more detailed and truer to color. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 1250, 1/25 sec, 23mm (film equivalent).

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Happy Hangul Day

The official language of South Korean is celebrated today—although it’s already tomorrow in Asia, so my post is belated then. Hangul, or Hangeul (my preference), refers to the alphabet, which conceptualization is scientific compared to, say, Chinese or Japanese.

My wife and I both study the Korean language, although she is far more advanced than me. We both have tried different learning systems, such as Billy Go or Talk to Me in Korean, among others. Some months ago, I accidentally came upon the How to Study Korean website and found the educational program to be approachable, methodical, and sensible. Annie adopted it, too—surprising me.

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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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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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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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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.