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The Cats of University Heights: Bliss

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We celebrate Caturday with the forty-first feline seen behind either window or door—and in the most unusual, but cutest, pose yet. How could I nickname this sleepy anything else but Bliss? Sssh, don’t wake this darling, whom I encountered along Meade near Park Blvd.

Two portraits. Two different cropped compositions. I captured the Featured Image and companion using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, on March 10, 2019. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/480 sec, 63mm; 1:18 p.m. PDT. The other is the same, but 1/500 sec. Read More

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Say, Sunflower?

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The rainy season may be (mostly) over, but the full flowering super bloom sweeping Southern California is everywhere. How about them lilacs down the street? Or this sunflower rising from a nearby construction zone? Road crews have worked that sidewalk and street all Winter, seemingly. It’s amazing there is soil enough to grow anything, let alone something so sudden and big. But, hey, the small patch of dirt sits at the bottom of an incline, where water (lots of it) flows fast and the right elements were just right.

By the way: Seems like nothing sprouting out of the earth can grow fast enough, this Spring. We are overtaken by plants not just thick and lush but towering upward. The newspapers prattle on about the super bloom, but I am awed by the super sizes of every green leaf thing. Gardeners and landscapers are overworked—and with the President tightening up border crossings, I can’t imagine there are enough (illegal) immigrant workers to whack weeds and mow the grass. Oh, and for the record, California has officially cancelled the drought. Too much of a good thing is… Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Smudge

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The eleventh Alabama Street cat, Cal, has a friend, whom I nickname Smudge. Hey, the window is a bit grimy, as are most others around about the neighborhood. The unusually wet Winter brought lush greenery and lovely flowers but left behind crud on most everyone’s glass (ours, too). Smudge is the fortieth behind window (or door) watcher featured in the series and thirty-seventh seen on Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln.

Cal, who was profiled in February 2018, and his black buddy live in the same apartment. I have seen the Tuxedo often, in the same window—and after first observing Smudge, on March 2, 2019. I captured the Featured Image using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 63mm; 2:53 p.m. PST. Read More

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Lively Lilacs

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My Nana loved lilacs and roses—and both join an amazing Spring bloom in Southern California, following an unusually wet Winter. The lush greenery and flowering plants won’t last long, but their presence—and amazing aromas tickling my nose while walking—along with the weather, remind of home. Light, constant breezes and temperatures in the high teens to low twenties Celsius beneath puffy Cumulus and Nimbus clouds make San Diego feel so much like Aroostook County during Summer. My wife and I call them “Maine Days”, and they are this Spring’s hallmark but without its Down East annoyance: Mud season.

While Annie and I had seen occasional lilac flourishes, we were surprised to find a wall of the purplish flowers—along Mission, going East from Park Blvd.—on April Fools Day 2019. The Featured Image (warning: 21MB file) is the view from below, looking up at the lilacs. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/100 sec, 63mm; 5:15 p.m. PDT. Read More

Google Social Media Stupidity

Goodbye, Google+

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Two months ago I posted to Google+: “On April 1, 2019, Google will ceremoniously announce that after conducting focus groups and consulting with loyal users, the company has reversed its decision to close down Google+. On April 2, 2019, Google will pull the plug as planned and tell us that we’re April Fools”.

There was no prank—and I was being facetious rather than prescient—but those of us who stayed to the end nevertheless were fools. The grand social media experiment is over. RIP, Google+: June 28, 2011 – April 2, 2019. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Rosie

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When walking down Monroe from Maryland towards Arch, on Feb. 26, 2019, I spotted a pretty kitty close to where the Siamese Twins presented 11 days earlier. The owner carried in groceries, while her sister and I chatted. There’s a sad story to tell about one of the ladies, sometime later after I ask and if permission is granted.

I used Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to capture the Featured Image and first companion. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/600 sec, 63mm; 1:25 p.m. PST. Other is the same except 1/450 sec. Read More

Apple Journalism Media News Media

Subtract This from Apple News+

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I thought so little of what Apple might announce during its March 25th splashy event that I scheduled my annual physical at the same. Not that you asked, and that’s okay: I am healthy for my age, which is not something that can be said of the publishers exposing their operations to the Apple News+ plague. For consumers, the deal is sweet: $9.99 monthly for access to about 300 news sources—the majority magazines.

The first free month tempted, and I had to try it out. As you can see from the screenshot, my tenure didn’t last long—not even a day. During 2019, my subs to Entertainment Weekly, National Geographic, New Yorker, and Rolling Stone will expire, and all of them are available via Apple News+ for pennies, by comparison, plus a heap of other mags I would love to read. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Swirl

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While I walked along Madison between Delaware and Maryland, on March 7, 2019, a silky-fur feline mosied around a driveway, going back and forth to porch stairs meowing to be let in. A woman eventually obliged the kitty, but she didn’t know what he is called. For now, nickname Swirl will do. Hey, I got to choose something.

I captured the Featured Image and its companion using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 63mm; 10:47 a.m. PST. The other is same, but one minute later and 1/600 sec. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Giotto

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The Alabama parade continues with the third kitty presented consecutively—following Peanut and Rocky—and the thirty-sixth sighted on the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln since the series started in October 2016. That works out to a stunning 14 percent of profiled felines.

Meet nine-month-old Giotto, whose owners moved into the neighborhood about a quarter-of-a-year ago. I spotted the striking Savannah on March 1, 2019, looking out a bay-style window—making him thirty-ninth captured behind glass or screen. I returned the next day and was lucky enough to greet his caretakers as they left for a Caturday afternoon walk. The couple gladly gave permission to take photos of the magnificent beast, which I did using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Peanut

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The thirty-fifth feline from Alabama Street—between neighborhood boundaries Adams and Lincoln—is also the third in an impromptu series of harnessed beasties (Jake and Rocky are the others). Peanut is house companion to Rocky, and both shared owner with Monkey, who passed away about 12 months ago. Next door lived Smokey, who disappeared weeks later. In another house down resides Precious. Also on the same block: Alley, Harley, Holiday, Mitsie, and Sly.

Drama of the day was Laramie and Lupe, who lived across the road from Peanut and Rocky and were removed in the late afternoon. Three weeks ago, L&L were abandoned by their owner. This evening, they are being fostered in a Pacific Beach residence by a kind woman whose beloved pet recently died. The rescue group assures me that wherever Laramie and Lupe are adopted, the bonded pair will stay together. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Rocky

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Our second feline, following Jake, in the impromptu harnessed series is Rocky. I had heard about the Tortoiseshell and her house companion more than a year ago. But the 18-month- old rescues were indoor kitties. Yesterday, the owner brought out both for some supervised front lawn romping while wearing harnesses; it’s training for when leashes follow. BTW, unbelievably, Rocky is our thirty-fourth feline from Alabama Street, between neighborhood boundaries Adams and Lincoln.

You will meet Rocky’s buddy Peanut in the next profile. Both are rescue cats, and their adopted mom went with the intention of taking home one (Peanut) but couldn’t leave behind the other when learning that they had bonded while living at the shelter. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Jake

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For our last Caturday on Standard Time, before clocks jump (grumble, grumble) one hour ahead, we start an impromptu series of three harnessed felines. Two of them will lead us back to Alabama, where, for reasons that defy logic, more furballs have been seen than on any other street. But first we turn North—not the direction, but the avenue—between Madison and Monroe.

On March 7, 2019, while walking by where once lived Charlie and The Colonel, across the street I saw someone walking a handsome beastie. Of course, such sighting demanded investigation. I introduced myself to the friendly gent and met his beloved pet Jake. The kitty usually gets some out-in-the-yard supervised time; the harness and leash are the new thing, and Jake showed some resistance but not overt unwillingness to being outdoors this way. Read More