Category: Storytelling

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You Can’t Call 911

This payphone is one of many things out of place along University Avenue in downtown Hillcrest. At my request, today, Annie dropped me in the San Diego neighborhood when she went out on an errand. I walked home, for a change in scenery. Eh, what a change.

As I stood at the stoplight, waiting to cross Sixth Avenue, something tumbled end over end over University and landed in the gutter across the way. Then a skinny, shirtless, suntanned dude strutted across the street—haughty and boisterous. He picked up what looked like a metal pipe or handle and began twirling it combat-style. I pushed the walk button to cross University rather than Sixth.

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The Incident in University Heights

When working with other journalists, I always advise: “Write what you know to be true”—or, lifting Star Trek lingo, obey the “Prime Directive“. That brief introduction frames what follows based on what I directly heard, observed, and photographed.

Our story starts some minutes around 11 a.m. PDT today, when emergency vehicles roar down the street where we live and others nearby. A police helicopter begins circling overhead, announcing search for a suspect, with his description, and instruction to call 911 if seen. I look out my window, to see police officers standing over someone handcuffed and facedown on the pavement—the Featured Image, captured at 11:06 a.m. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; all photos aperture manually set, from Leica Q2. Interesting aside: The takedown happens where once stood the block’s majestic palm tree, before being cut down nearly four weeks ago.

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The Photographer’s Friend

I am reluctant to post pics of myself, but this one presents opportunity to pay photographic homage to my wife, who captured the Featured Image using her iPhone XS. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1748 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 1:01 p.m. PDT, today. Thank-you, Annie.

We walked by the house where live Bruce (pictured) and Guido, both of which are profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series, and the fluffier feline came on to the sidewalk to visit.

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Seagull Shopper

My wife and I drove down to Westfield Mission Valley today to take advantage of an expiring coupon: One free pastry from Panera. She chose the Kitchen Sink Cookie—so large two hands are required to hold it. Walking, while she consumed, we encountered a seagull so squawky that it more or less honked like a goose. The thing prattled about looking for food, presumably, making no attempt to fly off as shoppers passed by. I wondered if he might be wing-injured. Annie wanted to share some cookie but rightly worried that the one sweet thing wouldn’t be good food for the other sweet thing. Yeah, we found the bird endearing as it weaved about shoppers.

I brought Leica Q2 Monochrom to the mall and used the camera to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 2:32 p.m. PDT. We briefly continued, then I stopped and asked Annie if she minded my going back for more photos. Happily munching, she motioned me on. As I approached, a couple with a stroller stopped to gawk at the bird, seemingly unaware that they had cornered the thing between a store’s window and sidewalk sign. The gull’s only escape route was inside the shop, and that is where it briefly fled.

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A Simple Remembrance

Mom would be 80 years old today; she passed away in August 2017 and will always be missed. Short stature, she put on the pounds with age, which would eventually make her bound to a wheel chair. She navigated the thing like a sports car, and I would like to have seen her race someone riding an electric scooter. But their popularity zoomed after she departed.

Linda was a sun around which other people revolved like planets—not because she was a narcissist demanding attention but for being affable and generous. They nourished off her light and enjoyed being pulled by her gravity. My sisters and I were blessed to have her as a parent.

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The Bicycle

My wife typically goes to bed and rises earlier than do I. When getting up to feed the cats, Cali and Neko, Annie saw bicycle handlebars sticking up behind a parked car; about 3:30 a.m. PDT. She assumed that one of the apartment building’s other tenants had a visitor who left the bike locked on the sidewalk. But daylight revealed a wayward fixed-speed roadster, apparently abandoned and unlocked. We both wondered where it came from and how in a neighborhood rife with bicycle thieves no one had ridden off with the thing.

Someone stole two of our then three bikes from a locked garage, in February 2010. Annie sees frequent posts on Nextdoor about bikes taken from behind locked fences or about neighbors reporting random two-wheeler chop shops. We wondered where the women’s rider came from. Perhaps someone, ah-hum, borrowed—then abandoned—it?

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Summer in the Park

No thanks to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19, during 2020, University Heights Community Development Corporation cancelled concerts normally held Friday evenings throughout July into early August. Presumably, because I see nothing scheduled as […]

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Forever Autumn

It is juxtaposition time—autumn leaves to contrast yesterday’s Spring sunflower. I used Canon EOS 20D to capture the Featured Image on Nov. 5, 2005. Vitals: f/3.5, ISO 800, 1/125 sec, 110mm; 4:14 p.m. EST. Image is presented as straight RAW-to-JPEG conversion, which means no alteration; composed as shot.

Reviewing this site’s posts, I prolifically blogged during November 2005—despite my demanding, full-time job as a trade analyst. Some of my most personally iconic musings were written during that month. Here’s a shortlist, in order of publication:

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Where Will Apple Store Go Next?

I should write a long missive about Apple Store’s 20th anniversary. But my essay from five years ago today serves up the core information. Please read that one for my reflection on the grand opening and what then CEO Steve Jobs meant the retail operation to be and what it actually became.

More significant than being a singular event, Apple Store’s opening represented one of four risks taken in 2001 by the fruit-logo company during a devastating recession. While competitors massively pulled back, such as Gateway shuttering stores, Apple made investments that culminated in release of the first iPhone six years later. Besides retail: iTunes (January); Mac OS X (March); iPod (October). From them evolved the logistics and manufacturing infrastructure, research and development, sales, services, and software that culminated in the smartphone that transformed Apple from a struggling PC company into a tech titan.