Category: Oddlies

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I’m in Trouble Now

Uh-oh. Some Bible scholar correct me if I am mistaken. Isn’t that the number of the Beast? On my grocery receipt. For cat food!

Bad as that is—and I lie not: Hours ago, when I started writing this post, my website fatally crashed. I had to enter Recovery Mode and remove an important plugin, which, oddly, comes from the same developer as the blogging system. You would think the company’s stuff should work rightly together.

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The Clearcutted Cottages

This morning, my wife rightly suggested that yesterday’s before photos aren’t enough to show just how brutal was the massacre of palms, shrubs, succulents, trees, and other green growing things before and among one of the neighborhood’s rental properties.

Compare the Featured Image to the one from the previous post. Those buildings and windows were obscured by a lush, well-tended, tropical jungle. My understanding: The pruning, and perhaps reconstruction, is planned to continue all week. That means the bearded tree to the left may also be removed.

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Before the Clearcutters Came

Sometimes changes occur so abruptly and unexpectedly in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, I regret not documenting what was—never anticipating that the thang could be gone. The tree outside our primary windows and palm at Cleveland and Monroe are examples. Today’s loss, on the inappropriately-timed first day of Spring, was catastrophic for some of my neighbors, who were reminded: renters have no say.

Calico Harley resides in a row of cute cottages that, until this afternoon, were almost completely obscured from view because of the variety of succulents and trees growing in front of the property and down the side. The well-tended, and healthy, jungle was lush and lovely. When workers started cutting down a single tree this morning, I complained to my wife about another horticultural butcher job. What I could never imagine is how devastating would be the clearcutting. For today, I refrain from showing what is. Let’s look at what was.

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Accidents are Inevitable

My relentless criticism of so-called “traffic calming measures”—part of the future Georgia-Meade bikeway—continues with a current look down Meade from Georgia. Click on the Featured Image hyperlink and take a close look at the activity at Alabama, where is the first of the traffic circles that replaces stop signs.

You are witness to a near accident—as two vehicles converge from different directions. Who should yield to whom isn’t always obvious, which is gravely complicated by poor visibility for some approaching vehicles and the speed with which many drivers enter the roundabout intersections. I can’t imagine how much more dangerous will these circles be when the route officially opens to bicycles.

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The Traffic Circle of Unintended Consequences

As summer began last year, I started seeing some strange change in driving behavior—where my neighbors slowed down and rolled through Stop signs rather than stopping their vehicles. Initially, I attributed the disrespectful and dangerous practice to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Many people weren’t working, or if doing so from their residence, and traffic was considerably lighter than usual.

But as San Diego reopened (before later closing again), the no-stopping continued and I recognized the real cause to be something else that is far more disturbing. The Stop-sign roll-throughs started not long after the city opened the first so-called traffic calming measure at Alabama and Meade in University Heights. Where once were Stop signs, the city has placed circles at four-ways where drivers now slow and yield. I first observed the slowing behavior at posted Stops along Meade at Campus and also Cleveland. Coincidence? I think not.

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The Tree Tragedy

I can’t speak for my wife, but to me a pair of benefits marshaled my interest in choosing our current apartment: The front windows and what I call the “squirrel tree” majestically before them—as expected, providing plentiful wildlife entertainment for our cats Cali and Neko to watch; for the humans, too. Yesterday, the management company overseeing the property snuffed out magic, and life.

Time is immeasurable this year, thanks to triple-P: pandemic, politics, and protests (e.g., SARS-CoV-2, severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2, also known as COVID-19; Election 2020; and racial riots). As such, I don’t recall how long ago the building manager spoke to me about the tree—two or more months, seems like). He said that the perennial would likely be dramatically trimmed back; being top heavy, the branches pulled the trunk into brickwork before it (see first photo). Some discussion drifted to removal, which I opposed, promising in threatening tone: “The day they cut down that tree is the day I give notice”.

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Flickr a Week 48a: ‘President Trump Pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey’

We celebrate America’s day of family, friends, and gratitude with self-titled “President Trump Pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey“, which Shealah Craighead captured on Nov. 24, 2020. Camera and photo vitals are not available. Shooting location, for the fowl named Corn, is the White House Rose Garden.

I had wanted to feature something about the Pilgrims, whose pilgrimage to this continent would be a 400-year-anniversary celebration in Plymouth, Mass., if not for the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic. Failing to find an appropriate Creative Commons-licensed image and seeing that the President likely gives amnesty to his last bird—following the General Services Administration declaring Joe Biden “apparent President-elect“—plans changed.

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Who Authorized This?

Occasionally, metaphors slap you aside the head—as is the case with the Featured Image and companion, captured with Leica Q2 and iPhone XS, respectively. Both images represent the incursion of territory, in most strange manner. Last week, a road crew etched “North Park” into the so-called traffic calming circle at Alabama and Meade. Workers returned for more letter-cutting today, two blocks farther at Louisiana. Problem: Both intersections are located in University Heights, which boundary extends another four cross-streets south to Lincoln. Uh-oh.

I witnessed an older gentleman mark the structure with chalk on Sept. 27, 2020. I returned the next day with camera in hand. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 9:16 a.m. PDT. I selectively saturated orange, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic, to draw out “Mead and Alabama in University Heights”. The other photo shows some of the sandblasted lettering the day of completion, on the 25th. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 16, 1/1634 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 4:38 p.m.

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Need a Lyft?

Ahead of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic leading to California’s statewide shutdown, electric scooters suddenly vanished from many San Diego County communities. Local governments didn’t want the things cluttering the streets. But, as life returns to some semblance of normalcy, scooters creep back onto the streets, something like cockroaches emerging from Nuclear Winter.

Still, sightings are rare enough in my neighborhood that today I was surprised to see this lone Lyft parked at Alabama and El Cajon, where sits BLVD North Park, which is located in University Heights. If you can’t build real estate in the location you want, pretense naming is your solution.

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Park Your Butt, Not Your Car

Southern California continues to suffer from the self-inflicted economic devastation imposed by our esteemed governor, Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom. He has imposed a partial, second statewide shutdown in response to increasing confirmed SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—cases. Pandemic deaths aren’t rapidly rising, which, in my journaled opinion, is the metric more important to making policy that harms millions of businesses and leads to massive job losses.

What is the harm? Locally, according to San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation: “Forty-one percent of businesses surveyed saw revenues decline by 81 to 100 percent; 93 percent saw staffing declines of one to 50 employees”. Additionally, “minority-owned small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by COVID”. Explicitly: “More than 90 percent of minority-owned businesses have seen their revenue decline, with most experiencing steep revenue declines of 81 to 100 percent”. EDC released the most recent data—collected May 28 to June 8, when the state started reopening—on July 1, or 13 days before Newsom reimposed new closure measures.

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COVID California: No School or Anything Else for You

Yesterday, which was when I captured the Featured Image, Los Angeles and San Diego school districts announced that students would not return to classrooms next month as previously planned. Kids will study online instead, as they had been since late March when Governor Gavin Newsom essentially closed California in response to the so-called pandemic. Also yesterday, he issued new orders that start a second statewide shutdown. Most indoor activities are prohibited; no more church services, shopping mall extravaganzas, zoo visits, gym exercising, barber haircutting, restaurant eating, or bar hoping—among many other activities and the business operations providing them.

There is nothing like the art of understatement. From the LA-SD joint statement: “This announcement represents a significant disappointment for the many thousands of teachers, administrators, and support staff, who were looking forward to welcoming students back in August. It is obviously an even greater disappointment to the many parents who are anxious for their students to resume their education. Most of all, this decision will impact our students in ways that researchers will take years to understand”.

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The 2020 US Quarter Honors Bats–Supposed Source of SARS-CoV-2

Am I delirious, or delusional, or is that a bat on the 2020 American quarter? Earlier today, I picked up three rolls from the bank, for laundry, and one of them was filled with these freshly minted surprises—and they’re freaking me out. Humanity is in the grips of a viral pandemic that started in China and supposedly jumped species—from bat to Homo sapiens. So why is there one—no, two—on this year’s 25-cent coins? Is it coincidence? Prophetic? Subliminal manipulation? For that last one, pick your X-Files conspiracy-theory protagonist: Chinese Communists, American liberals, US conservatives, President Trump, greedy capitalists, or— why not—alien invaders seeking to control us all through mind-controlling vaccines.

As I write, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—has killed 144,047 people in 185 countries and there are 2,157,108 confirmed cases. And those are considered to be relatively good numbers, compared to recent projections. Apparently, the majority of countries closing most businesses and all schools, while encouraging citizens to stay home, has dramatically slowed spread of the contagion.