Category: Leica

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The North Pole Goes South

What odd timing is this alley find. An Arctic airmass assaults my home state this weekend—and what a shocking contrast to San Diego. As such, my wife and I watch weather forecasts more than typical. This afternoon, when our high temperature reached 19.4 degrees Celsius (67 Fahrenheit), the Caribou, Maine weather station reported -28.9 C (-20 F) with windchill of -43.9 C (-47 F).

On the Fahrenheit scale, that’s a difference of 80 degrees air temp and 100 degrees when considering windchill. The difference is as pronounced this evening. In San Diego, it’s 10 C (50 F). Caribou: -31 C (-24 F) with windchill of -46.7 C (-52 C). Brrr.

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Once a Home

The relentless renovation and multi-unit expansion claims another residence, and surely more must follow. The Featured Image is the boarded up house on which porch I photographed 20-year-old kitty Rosie. She joined my “Cats of University Heights” series in early April 2022.

A few days before the profile posted, my wife and I met the calico’s owner, as she returned from walking a dog, which was one way she earned money. Business had picked up some from the worst of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdown period, when people stuck at home could care for their own mutts. Still, she fretted about being evicted when the moratorium on such action expired in a few months. Reason: renovation—or better stated, renovicition.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Timber

The series‘ twenty-first honorary member lives beyond the neighborhood, East of Texas Street into the nebulous zone where Normal Heights and North Park meet. I don’t recall whether this fine feline was seen on parallel streets Meade, Madison, or Monroe but for sure somewhere before 30th.

The tabby joins: BooBuddiesChill, Coal, Comber, Envy, Fancy, Guapo, LonesomeJadeMonaMoophie, Ninja, Promise, Queenie, Raven, Sammy, Shakey, Tom and Jerry, and Tula.

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Don’t You Believe It

I will never be a fan of that narcistic cesspool called social media. The last light of hopefully meaningful online interaction extinguished with the shuttering of Google+ over April Fools 2019. That said, Elon Musk’s buying and revamping Twitter—and releasing through journalists the so-called “Twitter Files”—brings some hope that a bastion of free speech and reasonably intelligent commonsense dialogue can survive and thrive on the Internet; oh, and have room enough for narcissists and the rest of us.

As such, I now spend some time each day on Twitter. I joined during the early days, in late December 2006. Long time, I know. But until a week or so ago, I also had been mostly inactive. This morning, I had a good object lesson in the kind of misinformation that spreads across any social media platform—and in the most innocuous, likely unintentional, but worrisome way.

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Year of the Rabbit Android Collectibles

They are here! Today! What better way to celebrate my escape from iPhone and return to Google’s mobile operating system than with the Year of the Rabbit Android Collectible Set. I ordered mine from Dead Zebra on Jan. 11, 2023—and good thing, too.

Because, according to the company: “Wow we sold out of our initial shipment very quickly! We are now taking reservations on a second shipment, however these will not arrive until mid-late March”. Yikes! Lucky me.

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The Cats of University Heights: Scorpius

The Featured Image and companion are products of massive post-processing, starting with DxO PureRAW 2 auto-rendering and ending with my manual tweaking done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Sunset was more than 20 minutes before I met Scorpius being walked by his owner, on March 23, 2022. Deep dusk had set in, and the darkness challenged even Leica Q2.

Vitals are same for both photos, aperture and shutter speed manually set: f/1.7, ISO 25000, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 7:25 p.m. PST. I held back adding this fine feline to the series, hoping for another encounter. But that seems unlikely 10 months later. I wouldn’t share the portraits had not PureRAW 2 restored them so admirably. That said, blurriness remains. I did try remini.ai unblur web app, which instead increased fuzziness.

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Master the Moment

New Years, today by the Lunar Calendar, affords opportunity to make—or in this instance amend—my personal motto. On Jan. 1, 2023, I presented “Be Strong” as my declaration for the year ahead. Three weeks later, a tweak is necessary. On January 19, when encouraging you to not be slave to fear and hysteria, I quipped: “Master the moment”. Oh I like that.

To master the moment, you should be strong. To be strong often demands taking charge (e.g. mastering the moment). So the two can stand alone or be combined.

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Don’t Be Slave to Hysteria

My wife and I set out for Costco Business Center to stock up foodstuffs, today. Our car is going into the shop for a short stint, and we wanted to grab grub from stores that are too far away to walk. But the entrance ramp onto HR-163 was inexplicitly closed, compelling us to abort. Trader Joe’s was nearby, eggs were on our list, and the grocery sells a dozen for the same price as the warehouse.

But would there be any in stock? For weeks, we’ve watched countless commentators warn about a shortage of eggs and skyrocketing prices (like seven bucks a dozen). Bird flu is blamed. If I learned nothing else from all the SARS-CoV-2(severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 insanity, fear is the virus—and, whoa, is it contagious. My advice to you: Don’t be afraid. Judge by what you see, not by what you hear someone say.

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The Cats of University Heights: Peeky

For reasons I won’t even guess, Mississippi isn’t a street where many felines are seen. The series‘ exceptions are notable, like Kittens, Kitty, or Sylvester. On Dec. 9, 2022, I saw one peeking (hence, the nickname) before blinds; single sighting.

Peeky is the one-hundred-fourth profiled putty looking out door or window. The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 2:26 p.m. PST.

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The World on My Wall

On the last day of 2022, I ordered a giant, world map from Maps International via Amazon. A roll tube containing the item arrived today. Measuring 40 x 80 inches (101.6 x 203.2 cm), the laminated reference fills most of the wall behind me.

Among my 2023 goals: be more aware about global events. That’s an ambitious task, when so much of the U.S. press makes every little minutia into a catastrophic crisis.

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The Swimming Pool

Rising and falling voices coming from outside our front window served as ambient noise as I puttered about the apartment this afternoon. Sometime later, I stepped through the front gate on an errand run, when one of the talkers—a younger woman—approached and asked if she could ask a question. The older lady accompanying her used to live in one of the apartments—50 years ago! The former resident recalled there being a swimming pool, or was she mistaken?

Oh, yes, long ago, a pool was the courtyard centerpiece, but the thing had been retired and filled in decades ago. Where people swam, a tree grows, as you can see from the Featured Image—taken today using Leica Q2—and the companion photo from iPhone XS on Aug. 16, 2019.

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The Costs of Natural Gas Gouging

You might think that the year hasn’t progressed far enough along to designate the most notorious email. But we have one, delivered yesterday, without pomp nor apology, from SDGE—the so-called utility serving San Diego County. Excerpt: “Effective Jan. 1, 2023, a typical residential customer can expect an increase of $120 on their monthly natural gas bill relative to last January”. Say what?

Gosh, “new pricing became effective on” the first day of the year, according to the service provider. That’s a polite way of warning customers that they are about to get whacked aside the head with mindboggling blow. KPBS explains: