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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Tom and Jerry

For Friday the Thirteenth, we present a lucky find from yesterday. While walking up Meade Avenue in North Park, just beyond the University Heights boundary at Texas, my wife spotted a skinny kitty dash across the street. Annie eventually found him (or her) hiding under a truck on Arizona. We moved along.

Not long later, I spotted a shorthair slunk low in a porch column’s shadow. Annie expressed concern about the beastie acting fearful. That’s when I exclaimed and pointed to the cat’s companion, which had riveted attention: Mouse in a plastic cage. Oh, how I wonder what is the backstory!

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Palm Canyon Misadventure

My wife and I drove over to Balboa Park, today, to explore Palm Canyon Trail, only to find much of the path blocked by chain-link and sign. We covered greater distance walking from the parking lot to the path’s entrance. Well, welcome to the wiles of San Diego’s hidden natural wonders.

Still, I relished having dirt, rather than cement, beneath my shoes—and the outside-the-city feeling of being inside the canyon, beneath the cover of various tree species, with bird call above and the only other sound being the intrusive roar of jets flying overhead to land at the airport (yeah, flightpath).

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The Cats of University Heights: Sheen

We stay on Louisiana Street, where on the same block you might meet: Cuddles, Honcho, JinglesKuro, Regal, Saunter, or Squeaky. All-blacks are often hardest for me to distinguish. This fine feline bears resemblance to Kuro, who was spotted on a nearby property, but without bell collar; so I take a chance that the two are not one and the same.

The beastie backlog remains, but with fewer left to publish. While I have seen this shorthair several times over several months, the documented meeting (and greeting) occurred on Jan. 28, 2022.

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Perspective Highway

During the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns, I got into the bad habit of photographing alleys, buildings, and streets—yeah cats, too—but have yet to get back to people. They have come out of their dwellings, so I have no excuse.

That as preface, I present a pair of photos where humans are present but unseen. Hey, these aren’t self-driving cars. The view looks out from the University Avenue bridge in Hillcrest onto slow-moving traffic along California State Highway 163.

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This is Progress?

I am not obsessed with the construction site at El Cajon Blvd and Louisiana Street, despite the number of recent photos and commentaries about it: Cave’s Grave; Wonder Wall; Shattered Serenity; Postal Convenience Center. My interest is what the project represents to San Diego neighborhoods Hillcrest, North Park, and University Heights, where relaxation of zoning rules is bringing down charming businesses and homes and replacing them with high-rises that are way out of character with the area.

The Featured Image, taken on May 7, 2022 using Leica Q2, captures before, during, and after multi-unit construction. Foreground looks across the aforementioned recent demolition to a four-story residential complex at Mississippi, overlooking the recently relocated Red Fox Steak House.

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The Cats of University Heights: Jingles

On the same Louisiana block where the Craftsman Bungalows were demolished and where reside Cuddles, HonchoKuro, Regal, Saunter, and Squeaky, my wife and I met a Tuxedo whose manner and movement suggest elder cat.

I believe this fine feline is longest-ago photographed but unpublished beastie. Some kitties are more endearing than others, and this one tickled my fancy (yeah, yeah, archaic phrasing) such that I held back posting in hopes of getting a real name. While Annie and I have seen the shorthair since the first sighting on Jan. 23, 2022, we haven’t been lucky enough to encounter an owner.

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To Become an Amateur Radio Operator

Nine years after receiving a FRN (FCC Registration Number), I finally sat down for official examination to quality for a Ham Radio Technician Class license. The Featured Image shows one of the study materials used to prepare; alongside is the transceiver that will start my broadcasting journey. But nothing happens until the Federal Communications Commission issues a call sign, which with my name must appear in the agency’s online licensee database.

Before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 mandates, I would have spent a day in a class, followed by the 35-question test. Scoring 74 percent answers correct is the minimum to pass. Locally, classes are as often as monthly—none during the pandemic lockdowns—and move about San Diego County.

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Decorating the Cave’s Grave

The demolition site at El Cajon Blvd and Louisiana Street in University Heights returns five days later, because of alterations. Remnants remain of the Cave of Wonders building, but somebody has graffitied over some of the doodle drawings of the still-standing inner wall.

In reviewing the Featured Image, I see another change: The livable-looking property that was to the right behind in my previous shots is gone. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/160 sec, 28mm; 4:48 p.m. PDT; Leica Q2.

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We All Need a Smiley Break

Flashback two years, to May 2, 2020: SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns compelled Californians to avoid anyone and to otherwise practice so-called safe social distancing. The seeming hardship would pale compared to racial riots that would erupt weeks later.

One of my neighbors literally put on a happy face—among several encouraging, or funny, street decorations to adorn this University Heights property and/or the sidewalk straddling Meade Avenue. Seems like every time I walked by something different greeted. Thank you.

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The Better Barrier

Across my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, increasing trend: homeowners surround their front yards with obnoxious fences that while providing privacy create fortress-feeling and block residents’ view of surroundings—and beneficial sunlight. If you want to live in a dungeon, please sell your property to someone who will appreciate the local climate and move elsewhere. Perhaps Chicago, where you can add bars to all the windows, too.

Contrast that to the Featured Image, taken today using Leica Q2. While walking past this hedge, and not for the first time, I stopped to really look at its lovely practicality. The residents have privacy, which includes keeping dogs from peeing or poohing on the lawn, while providing a natural, beautiful barrier for their enjoyment and for other people.

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‘Soylent Green’ Warned Us About Twenty-Twenty-Two

My preview of this year came during summer 1973 when one of mom’s drive-in movie adventures ended with showing of “Soylent Green”, starring Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson—both pictured, respectively, in the first screenshot. Mama would have been 32 years old, with four kids piled into an overly spacious, blue Chrysler Plymouth that by today’s gas-guzzling standards was more akin to a boat on four wheels.

I got to thinking about the film a few months back, seeing as how its dystopian future is 2022, when there is supposed to be environmental devastation, famine, overpopulation, riots, war, and wide gulf of wealth and poverty separating the elite class from everyone else. Hold on, does that not describe the year to date?

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The Cats of University Heights: Coy

The backlog of unpublished kitties trails by more than four months. The oldest aren’t so much in a queue of many as one of waiting—as I hope to meet owners and obtain real names. Time comes to move along the stragglers, starting with this tabby who is most frustrating; I know his (or her) housemate, Shy, and really wanted correct identification. I see both beasties sunning in the same spot, but never together.

Shy joined the series in February 2019, and, yes, still lives in the apartment. Maybe the roomie is a pandemic putty; lots of adoptions occurred during the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns. Nearby, Honey Bunny may still be resident in the same complex. But, in January 2021, Veruca and her family moved from the house next door.