Category: Media

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The Green No Deal

The most common consequence of new home ownership in my San Diego neighborhood is the obliteration of the green outdoor space. Perhaps the lawn is replaced with gravel, rocks, or sand. Shrubs and/or trees are chopped down, replaced by fence. The point: This is more typical occurrence than not, which strangely surprises.

For a community where liberal values reign and residents will rail about the dangers of fossil fuels escalating global warming, too little regard is given to the immense importance of grass, flowers, shrubs, and trees that temperate climate, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and increase supply of breathable oxygen. Killing these things that grow and replacing them with cement, gravel, stone, or sand that absorb heat surely contributes to the problem the Green New Deal crowd claims to be concerned about. Can you say contradictory behavior?

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Do Your Laundry!

Two weeks from today, Americans officially cast ballots in the Midterms. Early and mail-in voting already is underway in some states. Given the current chaos in the economy, partisan politicking, progressive policy-making, and societal factionalism—among other seemingly endless bouts of turbulence—you have every reason to be an active voice this election.

Party affiliation is immaterial. Consider alternatives and possibly choosing someone other than your state or local government’s career politician(s). I see public service as just that. Elected office should not be a job for life, or even decades. Put in a few years for the greater good, so to speak, and return to private life. Otherwise the wheels of government build up gunk (e.g., conflicts of interest and corruption) that clogs the gears.

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New Poster Child for the Pro-Choice Lobby

As Halloween approaches, decorations proliferate and some become quite elaborate. This caged kid in a tree had me chuckling, earlier today—for elaborate staging and opportunity for me to be snarky. Disclaimer: My sarcasm is sure to offend somebody. If that’s you, please accept my no apology.

Pro-lifers are giddy as a bear slopping honey from a fallen beehive, following the June 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v Wade. They aren’t too bothered by stings from swarming Pro-choicers, who are losing their minds over the 6-3 decision. Since they are absolutely crazy—uh, crazed—let’s pretend this shrieking girl is their marketing maven—warning about the horror show progeny that you could produce because you can’t legally have a doctor cut it out.

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Californians call This ‘Being Neighborly’

Not long ago, the path up this hill led to a feral cat colony, where Johny and his dad lived (the younger kitty now has an indoor home and the older one passed away of natural causes). In June 2022, I saw a police cruiser chasing a coyote, which scrambled up the path and disappeared to where the putty-tats gathered (eh, could that be why the colony collapsed—chased away or, ah, eaten).

Today, for the first time, I saw the two “Private Property” signs and barrier that are essential elements of the Featured Image. I manually focused Leica Q2 Monochrom on the upper warning marker. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/1000 sec, 28mm; 12:21 p.m. PDT.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Shakey

The series‘ fourteenth honorary member—meaning seen outside the neighborhood’s official boundaries—joins: BuddiesChill, CoalEnvy, GuapoJadeMonaMoophie, Ninja, Promise, QueenieSammy, and Tom and Jerry. Darth Mew initially belonged to the group, until later turning up in University Heights. My wife spotted the ginger in a front yard along Arizona, which is one block beyond UH into North Park—depending on who draws the map; some include the street, while others stop at Texas, which is what we follow.

Annie observed the shorthair to be trembling, which explains the nickname I have chosen (yes, I know preferred spelling is without “e”). The Featured Image comes from iPhone 13 Pro, on this cloudy Caturday. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 64, 1/99 sec, 77mm; 9:29 a.m. PDT.

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The Toes are Woes for Your Nose

Perhaps you recall, from January 2021, the impromptu, Italiano, unshelled peanut diner nearby the home of Bruce, Guido, and Little—all of which appear in my “Cats of University Heights” series? Today, after seeing Halloween signage on the tree, I stopped with Leica Q2 for a quickie.

Coming up the sidewalk, beautifully blurred, a squirrel approaches. The rodent cares nothing about stinky feet but the treat that waits above the skeleton. Go for it, buddy.

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Urban Camping

Pop-up homeless shelters are increasingly common sights around San Diego, spurred by devastating rents (e.g., many people can’t afford them) and, on Sept. 30, 2022, the end of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19-era eviction moratoriums. Many encampments are hidden away—or, when not, part of a larger grouping; the idea being safety in numbers protects against law enforcement or outraged, eh, housed residents.

So I was surprised, on October 15, to find this publicly placed standalone habitat at Georgia and Howard in University Heights. Climb the brick wall to the right and you will come out in the Sprouts market parking lot. Public library is on the same block.

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The Reader

Five days ago, while walking through San Diego district Hillcrest, I passed a gent reading a newspaper outside the bagel shop at shopping center The Hub. A few meters beyond him, I turned about and backtracked, thinking he could make a good moment. I shot two quickies from the hip, using Leica Q2 Monochrom.

The first is blurry; the second is the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 10:10 a.m. PDT. The candid capture is minimally recomposed and somewhat straightened. I seriously considered presenting a tight, 100-percent crop, which would make the headline—about a fired cop—clearer. Zooming in for a look is your job, should you want it.

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The Cats of University Heights: Oliver

This series started six years ago today, with Scruffy—a seemingly stray kitty seen once only. A few months earlier, I underwent cataracts surgery that replaced both my natural lenses, and, separately, a specialist treated Macular Edema in both my retinas. During the process of recovering my vision, I embarked into feline photography as visual therapy and to improve my skills with a camera.

In a neighborhood known for dogs, I expected to find maybe 30 cats—a month’s worth and then be done. Five-hundred-and-twelve profiles (including this one) later, I miscalculated. My shooting skills improved because of the project, and my eyes are healthier now; vision is better than normal in the left; that’s something to be grateful for. Hugely so.

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Welcome to Hellcrest

I grit my teeth and put on my persevering personality, whenever need demands walking to neighboring Hillcrest. The atmosphere reeks of hedonism, narcissism, and self-obsession. Physically, the place is dirty, gritty, and seedy—particularly along the main University Avenue corridor and somewhat less Washington Street. The community is considered to be San Diego’s gay district, which couplings confirm and the plethora of rainbow flags or others for various gender identities; fire hydrants, too.

Here’s where someone will accuse me of being homophobic, when I am not: Well-to-do residents who whoop up happy hour and late-night fling fests grimly juxtapose a sizable homeless population. For a community of residents obsessed with all-rights for all genders, the lack of regard—or even sympathy—for people lacking more fundamental rights (life and well-being) is inhumane and, disappointingly, jives with my atmospheric assessment in the previous paragraph. What? Is it liberal values for me but not for thee?

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Wow, 15 Years in San Diego

Fifteen years ago today, the Wilcox family moved to San Diego. Apart from an 18-month hiatus, my wife lived in the Washington, DC area for about a quarter century, which was most of her adult life in October 2007. I can claim about a decade less residence in and around the Beltway but still a little more time than California—but not much longer, if we don’t vamoose sometime soon.

The city seemed sleepily comfortable for our first 10 or so years here. But since 2016-17, dramatic changes started to accelerate, reaching shocking crescendo during the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns—when, if nothing else, cost of housing (buying or renting) exploded upwards.

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Hunched Homeless

Whenever walking through Hillcrest, I typically carry Leica Q2 Monochrom, because black and white fits the grim character. Sidewalks are dirty and smell of urine; there are more homeless than litter—and the latter is no small amount. The San Diego neighborhood juxtaposes those residents of means (rents and cost of everything is high) and those without anything more than what they cart around.

The Featured Image is example enough. I believe that’s a gent hunched over looking at something—if not sleep standing, or attempting to be. Bags of belongings hang from what could be two shopping carts, but who can tell with bedding draped over?