Category: Media

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The Swimming Pool

Rising and falling voices coming from outside our front window served as ambient noise as I puttered about the apartment this afternoon. Sometime later, I stepped through the front gate on an errand run, when one of the talkers—a younger woman—approached and asked if she could ask a question. The older lady accompanying her used to live in one of the apartments—50 years ago! The former resident recalled there being a swimming pool, or was she mistaken?

Oh, yes, long ago, a pool was the courtyard centerpiece, but the thing had been retired and filled in decades ago. Where people swam, a tree grows, as you can see from the Featured Image—taken today using Leica Q2—and the companion photo from iPhone XS on Aug. 16, 2019.

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Street Legal

Bike lane expansion and building of multi-story residences reduce the number of parking spaces around San Diego. Here in University Heights, many neighbors are testy about the loss of street spots to safely (hopefully) park their vehicles.

But, hey, the city can make room for electric scooters, or bicycles, in legal locations (got to get `em off the sidewalk, eh). I was surprised to come upon such space—filled with a Bird, no less—along Adams Avenue across from Old Trolley Barn Park.

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The Costs of Natural Gas Gouging

You might think that the year hasn’t progressed far enough along to designate the most notorious email. But we have one, delivered yesterday, without pomp nor apology, from SDGE—the so-called utility serving San Diego County. Excerpt: “Effective Jan. 1, 2023, a typical residential customer can expect an increase of $120 on their monthly natural gas bill relative to last January”. Say what?

Gosh, “new pricing became effective on” the first day of the year, according to the service provider. That’s a polite way of warning customers that they are about to get whacked aside the head with mindboggling blow. KPBS explains:

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The Cats of University Heights: Pawky

How strange that I forgot to make one of our fine felines the big post for New Year’s Day. I had done so starting in 2017 through 2022. As an apology, of sorts, I present kitties on consecutive days—and this one is fifth of six seen in one of two (or both) adjacent properties.

I am convinced that this playful putty is related to Destiny, Scamp, and Thin and Slim. The five are all variations of black patches on white fur. The Featured Image comes from Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, on Dec. 22, 2022 . Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 40, 1/2000 sec, 70mm (film equivalent); 10:15 a.m. PST.

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The Cats of University Heights: Destiny

I have yet to identity the street where on adjacent properties several kitties recently made appearances. You already met half of the brood: Scamp and Thin and Slim. Three more wait in the queue, including today’s newest inductee to the series. For the protection of the animals and privacy of their owner(s), I will withhold the location.

My guess: Five of the six are blood relatives and four from the same litter. Based on size and slower trot, this fine feline—who earns nickname Destiny, for no particular reason—could be the momma.

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I Tipped Over the Apple Cart

During December 1998, I walked into CompUSA and walked out with my first Apple computer, the original Bondi Blue iMac. Appropriate timing, perhaps, December 2022 brought that chapter of my digital lifestyle to a close. I have moved on from the company that Steve Jobs’ vision built and which Tim Cook turned into an empire.

Since that winter’s day 24 years earlier, I primarily used fruit-logo hardware, despite additionally running Windows PCs for many years (since Microsoft was my beat as a reporter). The biggest gap came with my enthusiasm for Chromebook, starting in 2011 and 12. If Google still sold something as luxurious as the Pixel or LS successor, I likely would be typing on a Chromebook now.

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‘Be Strong’

For nearly three years, soon after SARS-CoV-2(severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) set the world on lockdown against COVID-19, I started hearing—and also saying—”be safe” as closing remark whenever parting from anyone; particularly public places, such as grocery stores, where workers risked exposure to something every day.

A few days ago, while watching a YouTube video from Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen, I was surprised, and delighted, when he closed with admonition “be strong”. That’s it! I thought. How right to say! So I lift from him my motto for 2023. Too many people have been trying to stay safe—fearful and insular—for too long. We all should instead be strong—and fearless before any and all uncertainty. Take authority for yourself, family, community, and country. Yes, be strong.

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Better Than Two Barrels of Monkeys

I wouldn’t call 2022 a barrel of fun, would you? But barrel(s) of laughs is appropriate enough, if chuckling at the ironic or insanely non-sensical means anything. There was plenty of that.

For example, Elon Musk made a bid to buy Twitter, then walked away only to return and take ownership. He then started releasing, through journalists, starting with Matt Taibbi, the so-called “Twitter Files”, which shockingly showed a level of collusion between the social media platform and government agencies to influence, if nothing else, U.S. elections. Oh that influence includes the Biden campaign in 2020.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Comber

For the first Christmas in years, our daughter wasn’t in crisis. She started living in a woman’s group house and finally appeared on an upward trajectory. To celebrate her progress, my wife and I prepared a lovely assortment of meaningful gifts, which we dropped off before continuing on to the ocean and one of our more memorable holidays since the last decade. Then, unexpectedly, daughter left the residence and program on her 28th day—not thirty or the recommended sixty. Another year ends in uncertainty, with devastating foreshadowing.

Trying to revive some good feeling from Christmas Day, I present a most remarkable ginger kitty seen during our Pacific Beach adventure. He hunched in the sand alongside the paved path, mostly unfettered by bikers, runners, skaters, and walkers whizzing by.

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When Life Gives You Lemons…

You live in Southern California. I see citrus growing year-round here in San Diego, and plenty of lemons in December. What a relief to see one of my neighbors picking them from her tree on the same day—Dec. 24, 2022—that I passed by the fancy stand in another yard.

As is customary, on Christmas Eve, I walked to Pizza Hut, located at University and Texas in North Park. Since the place is closed on the 25th, we take out Super Supreme (without black olives) the previous day.

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Not Hello, But Goodbye

My 16.2-inch MacBook Pro—Apple M1 Max chip with 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU; 32GB unified memory; 1TB SSD—is gone. This morning, an associate professor and his wife purchased the laptop, which will become her go-to machine for video production. The monster machine will be missed.

On Christmas, parents bought my wife’s 13.3-inch MBP for their college student son. Same day, our daughter inherited my iPhone 13 Pro, which gift I already regret giving because of bad behavior on her part this evening (You don’t need to know, but I do need to remember). Samsung gave great trade-in amount for Annie’s smartphone. She and I now own the Galaxy S22 and S22 Ultra, respectively.

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The Cats of University Heights: Sphynxes

After celebrating what would turn out to be the last Christmas with my father-in-law (2016), I walked down Campus Ave. from his apartment towards the elementary school. There I encountered four kitties—Comet, Herman, Roman, and Willow—romping around supervised by their owner. JoAnn had lived in the same studio apartment for 19 years—10 of them with Roman. Neither of us could guess that months later, in early 2017, she and her brood would be compelled to move.

The property’s management executed what I unaffectionately call a renoviciton. Tenants vacated because of renovation that would later impose rent increases. Fast forward six years to Dec. 25, 2022. As my wife and I passed by the same rental complex, one of us spied a cat smushed against the screen of a vertically-long window positioned by the door of the same apartment. Yes, where JoAnn and her four felines once called home.