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The Cats of University Heights: Toasty

Anne and I kicked off her birthday (May 22, 2019) with a morning walk around the neighborhood streets on the East side of Park Blvd. Along Florida, between Madison and Monroe, I spotted a Siamese soaking up the sun on the same steps where I photographed maow maow seven months earlier. Looks like the home isn’t presently occupied, and the Calico is missing and presumed lost or abducted/rescued—the latter circumstance as reported by a neighbor seeing maow maow taken away in a cat carrier.

The newer steps-sitter earns nickname Toasty for warming beneath a few hours of scattered sunbeams bursting through storm clouds. Yep. Unseasonably wet weather again pours down on Southern California.

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The Cats of University Heights: Olive

Surely today’s Featured Image, captured using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, breaks several composition rules that photographers live by. Our kitty, whom I nickname Olive (for the piercing eyes), isn’t the obvious subject of the portrait even though he (or she) is intended to be. I cropped and edited the pic same day as shot, March 27, 2019, then put it aside. But having not seen the kitty since, and on reconsideration finding modest redeeming value in the dimly-seen Olive nearby the illuminated cat tree, I welcome the Torbie to our series. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/150 sec, 63mm; 5:55 p.m. PDT.

Olive, the forty-fourth kitty to appear behind window or door, sits in the same place where was seen Night in early August 2018. Also residing within the same multi-family property, along Georgia near Madison: Luci, Maven, and Peso.

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Build 2019: Principles Behind Microsoft Design

For the first time in a half-decade, I watched a Microsoft Build keynote this morning. Time gives fresh perspective, looking at where the company was compared to where it is today. Listening to CEO Satya Nadella and other Softies, I repeatedly found myself reminded of Isaac Asimov’s three laws or Robotics and how they might realistically be applied in the 21st Century. The rules, whether wise or not, set to ensure that humans could safely interact with complex, thinking machines. In Asimov’s science fiction stories, the laws were core components of the automaton’s brain—baked in, so to speak, and thus inviolable. They were there by design; foundationally.

Behind all product design, there are principles. During the Steve Jobs era, simplicity was among Apple’s main design ethics. As today’s developer conference keynote reminds, Microsoft embraces something broader—design ethics that harken back to the company’s founding objectives and others that share similar purpose as the robotic laws. On the latter point, Nadella repeatedly spoke about “trust” and “collective responsibility”. These are fundamental principles of design, particularly as Artificial Intelligence usage expands and more corporate developers depend on cloud computing platforms like Azure.

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The Cats of University Heights: Cat

On March 10, 2019, as I shot a fresh portrait of tiger-tabby Alley, someone walking by stopped and told me that there is a dude who takes pictures of the neighborhood kitties. I smiled: “Oh, that’s me”. The answer precipitated a delightful 20-minute conversation between two transplants—he and his family being in San Diego for about 18 months, because of a work transfer, but with tentative plans to return to Texas (employed by the same company) in perhaps a half year hence.

He also told me about his Tuxedo: Cat—and, yes, that’s a real name. So I made extra trips down Mississippi, between Meade and Monroe, looking for the beastie. Not until May Day did we finally meet. Cat started to approach me several times, as I called his name. But the camera continually scared the handsome animal away. That’s context for the Featured Image, captured using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture and shutter speed manually set: f/3.6, ISO 1000, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 7:15 p.m. PDT.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Ninja

Our sixth feline found outside the neighborhood’s designated borders could easily have been the seventh. Darth Mew originally was an “honorary” member, spotted on the other side of Texas Street going East up Meade towards Arizona. But I later learned that he, like Princess Leia, lives on Louisiana, which is one block back Westways from Texas and so within the boundary. Frightening: Thinking of Darth Mew crossing the bustling street, without getting killed in traffic. How could he?

Ninja (his real name) provided an unexpected explanation, during the first sighting in late September 2018—day before seeing a Bird scooter in a tree. As I approached the Texas crosswalk, the blackie walked down the Meade sidewalk towards me. But before I reached the opposite corner, the cat stepped into the street and slunk down the storm/rain gutter. I stopped, and looking back saw another behind me. Darth Mew could have crossed under the road, using the drainage pipe! Not over it. Clever cat(s)!

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The Cats of University Heights: Patches

We follow Pinky, with another Texas Street kitty, whom I nickname Patches. I spotted the Calico in a yard between Meade and Monroe, barely grabbing a shot before she disappeared behind a hedge. I have walked by the property many times since—March 16, 2019—hoping to snag a better portrait. After weeks passed, and no new sightings, it’s the one or none; so here is the moment.

I used Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/100 sec, 63mm; 1:43 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Pinky

Texas Street sightings are rare; with a little fanfare, we present the first of two consecutively. Meet the forty-third kitty to appear behind window or door, and she (or he) earns nickname Pinky. What a lovely nose! I spotted this lovely on April 4, 2019,  between Meade and Monroe, while walking with my wife.

I captured the Featured Image using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 63mm; 5:45 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Risky

Frisky is a common-enough kitty name, but we remove the “F” in nicknaming this disturbing shorthair—not for her behavior but location seen: Georgia and Howard, which is a dangerous intersection for traffic—whether foot or vehicular. My wife and I first met her on April 10, 2019, as we walked home from the Sprouts market. She approached us from Georgia. Next day, as I strode to the grocery, Risky greeted me along Howard.

The Featured Image, captured using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, and companion (from Google Pixel 3XL) are both from the 11th. Vitals for the first, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 63mm; 6:45 p.m. PDT. For the second: f/1.8, ISO 57, 1/1805 sec, 4.44mm; 6:42 p.m.

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The Cats of University Heights: Charlie IV

Who would have guessed that there are (at least) four felines named Charlie in the neighborhood? The others (known and) profiled in this series: first, second, and third. He also is the forty-second kitty to appear behind window or door—and in this instance in residence with a known companion: Shadow, who was featured in late January 2019.

I captured the Featured image on April 2, using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 63mm. 5 p.m. PDT. The companion portrait is the same image cropped differently. Which do you prefer?