Category: Tech

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Let the Kids Play

Something puzzles me, or did until seeing the scene that became the Featured Image. Today, I observed several family groups—parents and youngsters of various ages—walking around the neighborhood. We’re talking four or more people slowly moving down the sidewalk. I wondered: “Why today? Why not on other days? Are they bored being stuck inside, observing the “shelter-in-place” order?” By taking over a sidewalk, they impede other folks also seeking fresh air and exercise—and they draw attention, presumably silent complaint from many passersby, because of their numbers.

The answers to all the questions are one, and I am troubled by it. As my wife and I approached Trolley Barn Park this afternoon, we could see yellow “Caution” tape flapping in the wind. The entire thing had been cordoned off, with extra warning wrapped around the kids play area. The barrier wasn’t there yesterday, and its placement partly explains why I see more parents and children roaming about. The safest place for them to be, when not inside their residences, is what the city/county closed down.

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Sign of Our Pandemic Times

The Featured Image is rather ho-hum by itself but is something much more when given context. Plural perhaps is better: contexts. First: The window is adjacent to another, presumably in the same apartment, where I saw Kip, who was profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series just after the new year. I have seen the kitty several time since and have come to look for him (or her), which is how the fashioned-sign caught my attention.

Second: California, like the majority of US states, is locked down. Most businesses and all schools are closed. Citizens are ordered to stay at home and “shelter in place“. Keeping people apart is a desperate attempt to slow spread (e.g. “flatten the curve“) of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19. That lone—or better stated lonely—”Hi” reaches out from isolation to the few wanderers traversing the seemingly post-apocalyptic street below. Some residents still walk their dogs or go out for fresh air or to exercise.

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I Wonder Which Will Flatten First: Us or the Curve?

Today, the global number of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19, infections topped 1 million and 50,000 deaths. As I write, based on data collated by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University: 1,015,709 confirmed cases; 211,615 recovered; 53,069 dead.

One month ago, there were eight reported Novel Coronavirus cases in the United States. This moment, according to John Hopkins: 245,213. The dramatic rise is part increased testing, part exponential community spread of the virus. This USA Today headline, regarding April 1, makes the point better than I could: “More than 1,000 in US die in a single day from Coronavirus, doubling the worst daily death toll of the flu”. That number doesn’t include collateral casualties—people who, being treated for something else, might otherwise have lived if not for overwhelmed hospitals in hot zones like New York.

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Flickr a Week 13a: ‘Selfie’

Self-titled “Selfie” easily takes the Sunday spot for character, clarity, composition, and expression (of the subject and his artistic presentation). Chris Bird used Fujifilm X-T1 and Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR lens to capture himself, on June 22, 2016. Vitals: f/13, ISO 200, 1/180 sec, 35mm.

In February 2014, Chris joined Flickr, where he posts a vibrantly, intoxicating Photostream. His website is as dynamic.

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Someone Tried to Steal Bruce

As my wife and I walked along Monroe today, a voice called from behind: “Hey, there’s something I have to tell you about Bruce“—not an exact quote but the gist is right. She approached, with her dog leashed and the tabby trotting behind. He was profiled for my “Cats of University Heights” series in May 2017.

Three days ago, someone came pounding frantically on her door, agitated: “Something happened to Bruce”. The tiger tabby likes to hang out and watch the kids at a nearby daycare, and he had stretched out on the sidewalk waiting for them to come outdoors to play. They didn’t, as the place is temporarily closed—along with most other businesses in the city because of state and county orders that everyone should “stay at home” as a means of slowing spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19.

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The Cats of University Heights: Digger

My wife and I continue to take guarded walks, mostly along neighborhood alleys, as we attempt to practice so-called “social distancing” behavior whenever taking relief from our otherwise apartment lockdown. Actually, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all 40-million Californians to “stay at home“—a desperate strategy to slow spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19. Today, as we crossed Mission Ave., I spotted a black shorthair digging into a lawn. Hence, the nickname.

The home is next door to the place where lives Luna. Presumably, Digger is a relatively new resident—as the property where she foraged sold last year. Annie and I had a look during an Open House—not that we had interest in buying beyond our means, which describes, or perhaps described, most every property in San Diego (before contagion-containing tactics devastated the U.S. economy, among other nations).

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Flickr a Week 12: ‘Reincarnated?’

The week goes to Tee Cee and self-titled “Reincarnated?“—for beautiful bokeh, clever caption, ethereal quiescence, grainy texture, and the photographic tool chosen. Late last month, Fujifilm shipped the fifth iteration of its fixed lens compact, the X100V. Tee made this portrait, using the first, which released nine years earlier. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 4000, 1/28 sec, 28mm.

I owned the original X100, back in 2011. It’s amazing—and yet not—to see someone still shooting one. The camera is a classic. Granted, the duck portrait is nearly two years old (May 2, 2018), but Tee still uses the X100 for street shooting—from looking at more recent posts to the Photostream.

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To Slow the Pandemic, Commerce Crumbles

Last night, Governor Gavin Newsom directed the closure of restaurants—other than take-away or delivery—across California. San Diego County issued legally-enforceable health orders, 11 in all, that impose tighter restrictions. Sizable group gatherings are prohibited, and residents are instructed to stay home. Six days after the World Health Organization (finally) declared SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—a pandemic, commerce shutters, slows, and stops.

My wife and I take cautious walks around the neighborhood, avoiding other people as we can. Today, as we approached Park Blvd from Monroe Ave., a strange sight greeted: Closed LeStat’s. The bustling coffee shop is normally open 24 hours every day of the year. We didn’t explore the remaining portion of University Height’s main street, but for sure the many bars and restaurants are dark, too.

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Don’t They Know It’s a Pandemic?

I will be pissed if any of these people, who irresponsibly risk exposure to Novel Coronavirus, take a hospital bed before someone trying to more safely #StayTheFuckHome. We are in the midst of a fraking global pandemic and the banning of social gatherings everywhere. My two living sisters were supposed to vacation 10-days hence in Florida, with Disney World being the main activity. The theme park, like many, many others, is closed. That plan changed.

But a few blocks from my apartment, Pop Pie Co. and sister shop Stella Jean’s Ice Cream kept their Pi Day celebration going, gathering a crowd of would-be spreaders of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19. Today, France and Spain imposed restrictions that, like Italy, essentially lock down (e.g., quarantine) the entire countries. Hours earlier, Apple Stores closed globally outside of China until March 27. Yesterday, President Trump declared a national emergency in response to the contagion’s rapid spread. Everyone is advised to stay home and avoid crowds. Not create them!

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Flickr a Week 11: ‘Havanna Taxis’

Where are the customers? I ask, because why would anyone Uber when they could ride in one of these? Convertibles! Especially, as I understand, ride shares aren’t available—well, at least, for tourists.

Christoph Kilger captured self-titled “Havanna Taxis” on March 21, 2019, using Leica M10 and Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH lens. Vitals: f/1.4, ISO 400, 1/2000 sec, 35mm. The photo takes the week for color, composition, and symmetry. BTW, since when is Havana spelled with two “n”s?