Category: Tech

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What a Sign Foreshadows

Across the country this Thanksgiving holiday, the dire circumstance is businesses closing forever because of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—local lockdown and stay-at-home orders that keep away customers and choke revenue. In this County, SanDiegoVille keeps a running list of restaurants and pubs permanently shuttered during 2020—the majority since the pandemic’s start. I count 109 entities, but more when accounting for establishments with multiple locations.

Many businesses that had reopened during the summer are closing again as states seek to combat rising Novel Coronavirus cases. For the record, the use of cases is grossly misleading; the numbers actually refer to positive tests, which doesn’t mean that someone is sick—and most likely not. Eighty percent (or more) of people contracting COVID-19 are asymptomatic or mildly ill. Regardless, restrictions are everywhere, placed by (hopefully) well-meaning governors.

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‘It’s Official’

Today begins the end of the Donald J. Trump presidency. Emily Murphy, Administrator for the General Services Administration, sent a letter to Joseph R. Biden, Jr. informing him that resources would now be made available as dictated by the Presidential Transition Act of 1963. Her action essentially declares Biden the apparent winner of the Nov. 3, 2020 national election.

Uncertainty loomed over the outcome as states counted, or recounted, votes, and Team Trump unleashed a torrent of legal challenges. That said, the Associated Press waited only four days before declaring Biden and Kamala Harris the winners and designated them president- and vice-president elect, respectively. Other media-outlets followed; the two candidates gave victory speeches and started announcing immediate policy actions for when they assume office and announcing who will fill key forthcoming administration positions—all while operating before signage reading “Office of the President Elect” (hehe, boastfully with no hyphen).

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You’re a Mean One, Governor Grinch

One of my University Heights neighbors is ready for Christmas—and that with Thanksgiving still two weeks away. What immediately follows? Black Friday, which will be a bust for many, if not most, local retailers—and perhaps every other business—now that Governor Gavin “Grinch” Newsom has dumped San Diego County back into the most restrictive lockdown tier; aka Purple. The shutdown supposedly will curtail rising COVID-19 infections caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) and, thus, save lives. But at what cost to livelihoods?

Perhaps the holiday decor isn’t meant to be a commentary on the current state of affairs; either way, I make it one. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image yesterday. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 9:12 a.m. PST. The Grinch is appropriate metaphor for the Gov, while the ravens feed on the economic dead that another shutdown murders. Bones picked clean of flesh by the carrion flock hang nearby. How funny! That is the same skeleton seen sitting in a car—on March 29.

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The Cats of University Heights: Sadie

Meet the fifty-fourth meow-meow looking out from behind window or door. Sadie is a sweetie, living a less lonely life than in her previous residence. Sickness took Sadie’s owner away, and she stayed alone inside the house for about a year—tended to and fed twice daily by kindly neighbors. Eventually, he passed away, which is how she came to be taken into a new home not long later by a friend of the cat’s caretaker.

A few days ago, I got the full story from the friendly woman with whom Sadie now lives. But the Featured Image, captured along Madison beyond the West side of Cleveland, is from Sept. 28, 2020. I used Leica Q2 to make the moment. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 8:37 a.m. PDT.

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Delivery Door Art?

Surely you’ve come across something and wondered: “How long has that been there?” That is the question I asked on Oct. 6, 2020, while walking down the alley behind Kairoa Brewing Co., which is located along the main commercial area of San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. The Featured Image is what I saw on the establishment’s rear door, where I presume supplies are unloaded. What does that image bring to your mind?

For me, the goats (or are they rams) immediately flash subliminal recollection, but not something precisely recalled. Looking at the beasts—bathed in blood red, so to speak, with their pointy horns—elicits creepy feeling that I have seen them before. In a horror movie perhaps—something like a “Constantine” or one of the three original “The Omen” films (1976, 1978, 1981). But somewhere. You do know that, biblically and mythologically, goats are associated with symbols of the devil?

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The Cats of University Heights: Sundown

Four years ago today, I started this series with a presumed stray, sighted only once, that I call Scruffy. Three-hundred-fifty-eight profiles later, the number of furballs to photograph is seemingly inexhaustible. At the start, I expected the series to progress a month, maybe a little longer. Foolish me. In autumn 2016, as explained in post “Why Cats?“, I worked with new eyes, so to speak, following multifocal intraocular lens replacement for cataracts and also ongoing treatment for macular edema—the latter of which is mostly now resolved. Feline field photography acted as a kind of visual therapy.

That brings us to our celebratory kitty, seen in the yard of the home where once lived Giotto and next-door to where you can find Petri (well, until his family moves sometime before Dec. 1, 2020). That makes the black the fifty-seventh putty-tat from Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. No other street comes close, and I cannot fathom why.

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The Cats of University Heights: Pepto

On the same block where lives Daniel Tiger, whom I visited with today, incidentally, resides newcomer Pepto—and, yes, that’s his real name. Within furball spitting distance, you also could encounter: Fluffy, Darth Mew, Ginger, Huck, JediMilo, and Princess Leia—or Snow and Stripe, looking out windows. The block bustles with frisky felines, and it’s a wonder they all tolerate one another so well.

I first saw two-year-old Pepto in early August 2020 and used iPhone XS to shoot a dozen portraits—none of which I would use unless compelled by lack of having anything better. Opportunity presented on September 8, when I lugged Leica Q2, seeking the orange and white for the umpteenth time. The Featured Image is a close crop. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 4:54 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Houdini

Today, while driving home from Costco Business Center, I encountered an animal control vehicle pulled over in my lane by Alice Birney Elementary School, along Meade. I U-turned and circled back wondering if someone had come to (gulp) take away the remains of the ginger that had been mysteriously hanging out along the grass-way and among the parked cars. Mysteriously, because the facility is closed in response to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—and there are no homes along that side of the stretch of street. So why would the shorthair make its home territory there?

As I approached again, the kitty could be seen sitting in the grass along the side of the building—that is until being approached by the cat catcher. The beast tried to flee as I drove past. Was he caught? I was just relieved that he hadn’t been run over, like another ginger near the same location a few weeks earlier. Curiosity moved me to action, and I walked back to the school expecting to find nothing more than a fleeting feline memory. But no! The beastie was there, returned to the grass, head turned away from me, licking legion or, more likely, wound—from the capture-attempt, perhaps?

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Should THIS Surprise Me?

Shirley Ann Place is a seemingly sleepy converted alley between Louisiana and Texas Streets lined with historic Spanish-style cottages. While walking along there a few weeks ago, I sensed tension in the air and saw its manifestation in competing Black Lives Matter signs and American flags—but not both on the same building. Citizens chose to voice whom or what they supported by the icon displayed; for some people, nothing whatsoever. The pattern was undeniable and it is consistently observed across the San Diego neighborhood of University Heights.

Except that the displays of support along Shirley Ann Place felt more combative—stakeholders, something like a Hatfields vs McCoys feud. Black Lives Matter isn’t just a slogan—it refers to an organization with political ambitions that would upend American society. Presumably, flag wavers express patriotism and their stand against radicalism. That said, nothing surprised me more than meandering by yesterday and seeing BLM spray-painted on the Stars and Stripes.

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San Diego Gives Kids Permission to Play

Finally. After SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—restrictions shut down playgrounds across San Diego County in mid-March 2020, they reopened on October 2. Strange juxtaposition? Same day, the President of the United States was admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, after testing positive for the disease. What’s that saying about coincidental timing? If there is one.

Along with the playgrounds, public libraries reopened—and the timing is quite deliberate. California has started sending out mail-in ballots for the November 3 election (we received ours yesterday). Drop boxes will be placed in libraries.