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Have a Seat, Bring Books and Friends

Whether or not intentionally done, these giveaways are arranged like an outdoor living room. Comfy chair is the centerpiece, with stool and fold-up seating for entertaining guests. The bookcase could occupy real reading material—and surely one of the nearby lending libraries could provide a novel for personal perusal or perhaps poetry to share with the group. The other standing shelf would be place to put out food and drinks. The orange cones could cordon space for the gathering.

The setup is exactly how I found it yesterday in the alley separating Alabama and Florida Streets. Seen nearby and previously profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series: Boxer, Pixie, and Spry.

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It’s Fake!

My wife and I came upon this sign, affixed to a utility pole, today, along Mission Avenue between Louisiana and Mississippi streets. Call me surprised, for having seen no other in our San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. So I got to wondering if a resident attempted a little scare tactic to get dog owners to clean up after their mutts. More effective: Place the notice higherand above, out of reach, a mock surveillance camera.

I walked about several streets inspecting every sign of every kind and all others shared in common: Tiny print somewhere indicating that the thing is the property of the city. By comparison, this one’s credit is “SmartSign.com”, which sells the warning, with a stake kit, for 27 bucks on the website.

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The Cats of University Heights: Parker

Our seventy-eighth kitty from Alabama, between boundaries Adams and Lincoln, is also the seventy-ninth seen behind door or window. Meet Parker—and, yes, that is the kitten’s real name. In the Featured Image, he sits overlooking the alley that separates the street from Mississippi.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the portrait, on Oct. 3, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1000 sec, 28mm; 9:14 a.m. PDT.

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Abandoned Homeless Shelter

On Nov. 3, 2021, alongside the Adams Substation (e.g. electrical hub) in University Heights, my wife and I passed by the makeshift refuge that you see in the Featured Image. For concern someone might be sleeping inside, I shot Leica Q2 from the hip, seeking not to disturb the resident. The first companion, taken the next day, looks towards the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on the alley behind Alabama Street and across from Old Trolley Barn Park.

Vitals, aperture manually set for all: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 11:39 a.m. PDT. The other: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 11:15 a.m., the next day. In the second photo you can see a bicycle behind the utility box. The entire setup was cleverly constructed but surprising for the busy location.

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Whoa, What’s That?

Mental note: Pay attention. Observe. Don’t assume. Now for an admission: I made a misidentification. On Nov. 25, 2020, I used a commercial sign to illustrate an analysis about SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns precipitating permanent pub and restaurant closures in San Diego. I thought an “a” had dropped off from “Eat’s”, on signage pointing to a presumedly closed eatery down an industrial alley/street in Hillcrest.

As the Featured Image reveals, looking from the other side, the correct spelling is “Eli’s”, referring to Eli Vigderson’s European Car Repairs. Part of the “l” has fallen away. What I thought was a “t” is instead a full letter and part of another. I got to wondering about the sign, after posting “Got Mini?” two days ago; the roadster was parked at an auto shop.

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What ‘Shot on iPhone’ Means to Me

The Featured Image demonstrates some of iPhone 13 Pro‘s photographic limitations. I used the telephoto lens for this pic of surfers and the San Diego coastline from Ocean Beach Pier, today. The small sensor simply can’t capture crisp detail the way a real camera can. For comparison, consider this surfer shot, which I took using Fujifilm X100F on April 1, 2017; see post “A Day at the (Pacific) Beach“.

The X100F packs an APC-S sensor and my Leica Q2 a full-frame, which capture greater detail, more light, and superior dynamic range. Apple promotes “Shot on iPhone”, which is a clever marketing campaign. Unquestionably, capable hands can produce some stunning photography from the smartphone. But the physics favor the cameras. Biology is analogy enough. Someone 2 meters (6 feet, 6 inches) tall could easily outplay someone my height—1.7 meters (5 feet, 6 inches)—on the basketball court. Height and reach are advantages, like larger electronic sensors.

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Got Mini?

A rear-window sticker asked that question, and I mentally lamented answering no. While walking through San Diego’s Hillcrest district, I passed the vehicle parked at Eli Vigderson’s European Car Repairs, which is across the street from Better Buzz Coffee on University Avenue. The auto shop is nearby the Eat’s sign that I used to illustrate a Nov. 25, 2020 story assessing the shocking number of restaurants and pubs permanently closed during California’s lockdowns meant to curb SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 infections.

Hillcrest is so grim, and also such a street photography opportunity, that I typically carry Leica Q2 Monochrom, which captured the Featured Image on Nov. 10, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 11:15 a.m. PST.

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The Cats of University Heights: Pixie

I presume, but cannot yet confirm, that the kitty seen on several occasions in the window of the property where roams Boxer is this pretty Tortie, who earns nickname Pixie for no particular reason. My wife and I first saw her on Halloween, along with Boxer. The Featured Image, taken on Nov. 6, 2021, is from when I spotted her alone. The alley house has an Alabama address, making Pixie the seventy-seventh feline found on the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln.

The first photo comes from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 12:19 p.m. PDT. The other uses the iPhone 13 Pro telephoto lens. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/1623 sec, 77mm; 3:02 p.m. PDT, October 31.

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A Rose by Any Other Name is Gone

Following “The Tree Tragedy” that destroyed the provider of shade (for us) and food and refuge (for birds and squirrels), I was ready to give notice and move out of our apartment. One problem: In December 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom essentially closed down the state for the entire month in response to a reported surge in SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 cases (e.g., positive tests for infection).

But Spring (e.g., Early Summer in San Diego parlance) brought more birds than any other year—many flocking to a hedge nearby our assigned parking space. Across the street, they, and other animals, used the mighty date palm as a majestic habitat. But South American Palm Weevils infested the tree, which the city destroyed in late July. The bugs are not indigenous and removal of infected palms seeks to slow their spread.

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Juicy Fruit

I frequently see Loki, who was profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series, jump onto a fence and into a yard where he doesn’t live. Two catio captives, nicknamed Jester and King, call home the place right next door. Today, while walking by, my wife and I saw something else on the fence—the owner’s generosity. Don’t you want one? C`mon, confess! The persimmons sure look delicious.

What I initially missed, and Annie pointed out, is the tree bearing the fruit. It towers in the blurred background of the Featured Image. The companion provides context, by focusing on the leaves and hanging persimmons, but would be meaningless without the first photo.

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Okay, They Can’t Both Be Right

Or am I missing something super obvious here? Take a look for yourself: CNBC; New York Post. The funny thing: Both news stories cite the same study but choose to frame the findings differently. Specifically, in presenting their opposing viewpoints, CNBC and New York Post link to different Tax Policy Center datasets—here and here, respectively.

The two headlines, and the reports themselves, are an excellent case study for how data is subjectively presented by the so-called mainstream media—or any other organization with some measure of partisan political leanings. The network is notoriously liberal and pro-Biden. The newspaper is arguably conservative and more critical of old Joe.

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Bell Weather

Santa Ana winds brought unseasonable heat to San Diego on this Thursday. By contrast, elsewhere: Parts of Minnesota and North Dakota are hunkering down for blizzard conditions. The high in my neighborhood of University Heights reached 30 degrees Celsius (86 F). By contrast, where white-out conditions are forecast: Watertown, SD is 0 C (32 F); as I write.

This morning, searing sunlight purged the frigid memory of living one winter in Minneapolis (decades ago). While walking along the Campus-North alley, between Adams and Madison, I came upon the discarded bicycle helmet that is the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 9:42 p.m. PDT; Leica Q2. Consider the photo, composed as shot, as homage to the warm weather.