Category: Living

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The Cats of University Heights: Gazer

The series‘ sixth New Years kitty is not the one originally planned. While walking this morning with my wife, I spied a ginger gawking above us; what a vantage to survey and sun. This fine feline joins Lovely (2021), Gem (2020), Storm (2019), Norman (2018), and Chub (2017).

The Featured Image and companion come from iPhone 13 Pro. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/499 sec, 77mm; 9:27 a.m. PST. The other is same but 1/513 sec, 10 seconds earlier.

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In the Dumpster

End of year is a good time to take out the trash, so to speak, to clear out the past and prepare for the future—opportunity to start Jan. 1, 2022 fresh and tidy. That’s where I am on this wet Wednesday evening. But what if you literally can’t take out the garbage, as is the case for many San Diego County residents? Teamsters Local 542 is on strike with Republic Services, which my landlord unfortunately uses.

The Featured Image, taken today with iPhone 13 Pro, is outside the apartment building where we live. (Vitals: f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/2994 sec, 26mm; 11:22 a.m. PST.) I would like to thank my immediate neighbors for not massively overflowing the dumpster. You might think, looking at the pile, that I am being facetious. Not so. The sentiment is sincerely expressed. Stacks of bags and refuse elsewhere exponentially exceed this modest mess. My fellow residents show remarkable restraint.

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‘Growing with Passion’

Whenever walking by this mural, I often regret not photographing the lively, colorful Yipao Coffee outdoor café that once occupied this location. More importantly: What the place displaced—trees and lush green space that the (permanently closed) florist had used. Hence the irony, if you don’t see it yet, of “growing with passion”; because all that remains is dirt, on top of which vehicles park. Nothing green grows, nor the vitality of human interaction.

In late June 2018, I shared about the departure of Florabella, which had to abandon its 24-year commercial space after the landlord informed the owner that rent would triple effective July 1. I wondered: What will replace the florist? Well, Yipao took up residence in the not-long-later clearcut corner area. Interesting aside: John Adams disappeared and was discovered to be accidentally locked inside the closed floral shop, which Yipao used; perhaps for storage. He is among the “Cats of University Heights“; June 2019.

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The Cats of University Heights: Cinnamon

For reasons, I can’t guess, most of the kitties seen along Cleveland Avenue and profiled in this series are gone. Let’s review them. Those known to have moved away: Fresh; Levi; Mika; MiniMisty; and Pepe. Likely moved: Black; Black and WhiteLeery; and MellowNot seen recently: CloverLiloPepper; and SleepyStatus unknown: Bell; Hunter; and MandyMissing: Fess (sad story). Special mention: Roly Poly; (second cat to appear in the series; presumed moved); Priscilla (who disappeared before the series started). Still resident: Tortie. That’s only one for certain among 21, plus our newest inductee.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image on Dec. 23, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6. ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 9:08 am. PST. For color, this fine feline earns nickname Cinnamon

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The Road Less Traveled

The Georgia-Meade Bikeway, about which traffic circles I have negatively opined, nears completion—and certainly appears to be ready through the University Heights to Normal Heights portion. In observation, and preparation to write about the occurrence, I captured the Featured Image on Nov. 28, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set for this and the two companion photos: f/8, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 28mm; 9:59 a.m. PST.

The view looks down Meade Avenue from Georgia Street. The traffic circle at Alabama is clearly visible but barely the one at Louisiana two blocks beyond. Near the horizon to the right is the North Park water tower, which many locals regard as an essential navigational landmark.

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Annie and the Snowman

Merry Christmas! My wife poses with an inflatable along Madison Avenue, between Georgia Street and Park Blvd, in our neighborhood. I photographed kitty nicknamed Alcatraz nearby the same spot 10 months ago; early March 2021, the black and white appeared in my “Cats of University Heights” series.

I left Leica Q2 at home and so used iPhone 13 Pro to take the Featured Image—first of four and best of the lot. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 32, 1/328 sec, 13mm; 10:31 a.m. PST, today. As you can see, the snowman is quite large, and the smartphone’s wide-angle lens let me capture the inflatable and surrounding scene for context. We had heavy rain for the holiday. I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas…

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A Christmas Eve Reflection

The San Diego neighborhood where I live, University Heights, is a monument to secularism. The closest Jesus comes to being depicted or referenced anywhere is half his name in Christmas, prefaced by Merry, like on the, ah, Prideful trees that I wrote about two days ago.

So on this fateful Christmas Eve, I have no religious photos to share; no crosses, no nativities, nothing other than the stone snowman you may remember from two years ago. He made a 2020 appearance on the same property but brandishing a presidential political sign—and I did not approve. The fresh Featured Image comes from Leica Q2, two days ago. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 1 p.m. PST.

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Seriously, California?

Sometime last week, my wife asked about getting brighter lightbulbs. IKEA-purchased LEDs are 1,000 lumens and loaded into most of our fixtures, whether ceiling or lamps; but not all. Then, three days ago, I observed during a Zoom meeting that one participant’s ambience so much more appealed than mine—his room being bright and white, while mine was dank and yellow. Color temperature is reason: 5000K lighting vs 2700K. I thought: Why not buy brighter and whiter bulbs?

So I tried shopping locally but ran aground. Is 5000K lighting unavailable because of supply chain problems or is 2700K simply wildly more popular? No San Diego store—not even the place specializing in bulbs—stocked that color temperature in a 100-watt equivalent with brightness greater than 1,000 lumens. That brought me to Amazon and a big surprise: The affordable product that also met my criteria can’t be shipped to California. Huh?

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Who Approved This?

Last week, while walking along Panorama Drive, I passed by what seemed like the strangest holiday decoration: An inflatable, rainbow-colored Christmas tree. The next day, there were three. The day after, my wife and I walked over so that she could see. We found four more—not every one erect but all unmistakably identifiable even when deflated. This will be our fifteenth Christmas in this San Diego neighborhood, and I have never seen such signs like these.

As I opined on July 4th, about seeing more Pride flags than the Stars and Stripes, University Heights has undergone dramatic, observable changes since start of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns in mid-March 2020. New residents, many of them Northern California escapees, are everywhere. Their emigration contributes to soaring rents and skyrocketing home sale prices. The newcomers also bring different values that are commiserate with adjacent Hillcrest, which is known as a gay enclave. But Pride holiday trees, all on the same street?

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I Don’t Long for Them Beyond Nostalgia

Go ahead and scold me for this being one of the most pointless of posts. But before changing my diet in July 2013—foresaking all confections  and largely reducing processed carbohydrates—MoonPie was among my top choices for cheap treats (I couldn’t find Devil Dogs outside the Northeast United States).

My wife and I passed by a massive display of the Double-Decker variety, in boxes of 24, for $9.49—that’s 39.5 cents each—at Costco Business Center today. Best price for the same thing from Amazon sellers: $23.79. That’s a helluva markup, if Costco’s considered more wholesale.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Candy

One-and-a-half blocks beyond the neighborhood’s boundary at Texas Street, my wife and I spotted a pretty kitty on Dec. 6, 2021. Months earlier, we first saw the beauty jump to the fence on the same property. As I crossed the street for a photo-op, someone else moved up the sidewalk, scaring off the fluffball. Lucky: What a lovely pose presented for my second portrait attempt (and success).

In the spirit of the holiday, this fine feline is nicknamed for the nearby candy cane decorations. Candy joins just eight other honorary cats, among the 448 profiles (including this one). They are: BuddiesChill, Envy, MonaMoophie, Ninja, Promise, and Sammy. Darth Mew initially belonged to the group, until later turning up in University Heights, where he now lives.