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Locked and Loaded for Your Browsing Pleasure

Late yesterday, this site underwent a minor, but significant, alteration. An account executive for my webhost sent email reminding about something already known: That today, Google would start aggressively designating sites secure or not secure, depending on whether they used https or http, respectively. The former is encrypted, and presumably safer to engage.

For many months, I had strongly considered moving to another host—not for dissatisfaction but to get more benefits while spending as much, or even a little less. But, as I have learned from painful past experience, migrating WordPress installations can go badly. Why take the risk, when everything works just fine? The account executive and I chatted about a pay-yearly discount (my preferred arrangement) to stay put and also purchase of a SSL certificate for encrypting the site. We reached an agreement. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Ginger

Along Louisiana Street, between Meade and Monroe, on July 1, 2018, my wife and I spotted the furball appropriately nicknamed Ginger. I am fairly confident this is the same cat we saw moseying up Monroe behind Royal nearly a month earlier. Then, Ginger turned down the alley behind, which is where he, or she, went through a yard not long after I snapped the Featured Image.

I am rather dissatisfied with the portrait and its companion; for now they must do until another opportunity presents—and that time could be long coming, if ever. I captured both photos using Leica Q, three minutes to sunset (7:58 p.m. PDT). Vitals for the first, aperture and shutter speed preset for dusk street shooting: f/1.7, ISO 250, 1/250 sec, 28mm. The other is the same, except for ISO 1000. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Caddy

Shooting kitty portraits after sunset—in this case 26 minutes later—presents challenges, particularly when the subject hides under a parked vehicle. The furball strutted down the sidewalk as I approached along Florida Street between Madison and Mission avenues, then fled beneath a Cadillac; hence the chosen nickname.

The Featured Image is the last of a half-dozen portraits, all of which were manually focused using Leica Q; such control made the impossible shot manageable; okay, barely. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 3200, 1/60 sec, 28mm; 8:24 p.m. PDT. Understandably, the original DNG RAW was heavily edited. I applied considerable noise reduction, among other tweaks, with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Cupcake

Feline sightings along Mission Cliffs Drive are fairly rare. Since the series started in October 2016, only two have been profiled: Aylin and Fraidy. Meet a third! So there’s no misunderstanding: This Tuxedo-like furball is grey not the traditional black—and, as you can see, quite handsome.

I shot the Featured Image and its companion on July 13, 2018 using Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Vitals: f/4, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 50mm; 6:25 p.m. PDT. The other, taken one-minute later and after he stretched out, is same except for 1/180 sec shutter speed. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Friends

We follow up Georgia Twain with another pair. But the two are one less than they should be. I typically see three cats in the same apartment courtyard, on Florida between Meade and Monroe, but typically too far back for meaningful portrait. I stalked the trio for six months before capturing a shot of these, ah, Friends on July 14, 2018. They sat relatively close to the sidewalk.

The three live a few houses down from Lucy and diagonally across the way from Mew and Wonder. I will be lucky to ever get a usable portrait of the third or distinguish it from the other black. But I will try and update appropriately. 

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No Pass, No Comic-Con for Me

San Diego Comic-Con commences in two evenings. Unless something dramatically unexpected happens, I will not attend any part of the event—only miss since my first go-there in 2009. I managed only one day last year after being there for every other Con. Looks like 2018 will be even less.

I have resigned myself to circumstance, following failed Returning and Open registration attempts to purchase passes. I may go to Gaslamp, like last year, to shoot street photos with the Leica M10. Or maybe not. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Georgia Twain

While looking for Luci, who was lost but later found, I spotted an orange kitty cross the street and go into a yard at Monroe and Georgia. The shorthair later emerged, moseying into an apartment complex. There a pair of cats lounged far down the walkway. The newcomer’s invasion drew them close to the front, making a moment possible.

I shot the Featured Image one-minute to sunset, 7:52 p.m. PDT, and its companion one-minute after, on June 3, 2018. Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens is a low-light super combo. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 1600, 1/180 sec, 50mm. The companion’s EXIF is identical except for the timestamp.

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Luci Lost and Found

Some stories can’t be left behind, even if their telling is delayed. That is the case with Luci, who was featured in my “Cats of University Heights” series about three months ago. She disappeared on June 1, 2018. The following afternoon I saw on the NextDoor social network posting “Did anyone lose an elderly Tortise Shell cat?”, from about three hours earlier.

Verbatim: “I saw her Friday morning, June 1, (yesterday) walking very slowly on Florida street between Meade and Mission. She was heading north and looked disoriented and lost. Definitely an elderly kitty, based on how slowly she was moving. I was in the car and late to work, so could not stop to help her. Please is she someone’s lost kitty?” I immediately thought of Luci, with some frustration. Had the women posted 24 hours earlier, I could have searched for cat. 

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A Memory for Mom

Perhaps because my parents were perennial renters, our family moved residences every few years during my wayward youth. Undoubtedly, the house on Vesta Drive across from Hilltop School is most memorable place. I fondly recall walking out the front door, across the street, sneaking through a neighbor’s yard, and onto the elementary school’s sports field to classes.

During summer evenings, several adults would fly gas-powered model airplanes, using Hilltop’s driveway to take-off and land. Watching them soar was the coolest thing for a fourth-grader. Drones are their modern-day equivalent and way more prevalent. 

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It’s About Time

To celebrate my fifty-ninth birthday earlier this week, I acquired on this fine Friday the 13th the same (but slightly newer) model watch worn by both Cassie and Cole on 12 Monkeys, which wrapped its final season one week ago. Coherency and consistency makes for compelling character-driven, superb storytelling. The actors were well-chosen for their roles; the dynamic among them is believable and compelling.

Too many series shift suddenly to reboot the narrative, between seasons. Common tactic: Jumping months or years ahead, and in process changing characters’ circumstances while leaving viewers feeling like they missed something—as previous plots are tossed aside. Not 12 Monkeys, which fourth season was in almost all ways the most entertaining of all. Jennifer Goines performing P!NK for Der Furher is sure to achieve cult-meme status, when the program reaches the right threshold of fans.

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The Cats of University Heights: Gazers

Yesterday, while walking along Mississippi Street between Meade and Monroe, I spotted a pair of kitties looking at birds. They are the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth window watchers featured in the series so far. They presented poses that were irresistibly poignant.

I assume these are indoor beasties, but they do wear collars with tags, indicating perhaps some outdoor excursions. The Featured Image, which is modestly cropped, sets the scene. The two companions close in on the putty-tats.