Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Gucci

The Alabama cats are back, with the forty-third profiled from the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. There is a cache of kittens that may soon be included, should I get photos, that are being fostered across the street from where I saw this black. She earns nickname Diamond, for rarity of sightings.

I first observed the shorthair nearly a year ago, occasionally since—and always fleetingly, mornings when people leave for work. The kitty would disappear down nearby apartment complex steps, where also goes Sly. On July 31, 2019, Diamond made an unexpected afternoon appearance, poking through the fence surrounding the house where lived Laramie and Lupe before they were abandoned and later rescued. The beastie dug into foliage and dirt, for something, before laying out in unexpected repose. Oh, how I wanted to read the name tag, but close approach wasn’t happening.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Lively

A couple doors down from Cricket‘s house, my wife and I encountered a lively kitten on July 29, 2019. Hence, the nickname. Hanoi and Maxine reside close by, and near the sighting—along Maryland between Madison and Monroe—a car hit Kuma as he crossed the street to Annie; Sept. 15, 2011. The bastard driver didn’t stop, but our Maine Coon survived.

We observed Lively from a distance, and I stopped with Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to shoot what would be the Featured Image (warning: 15MB file). Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/300 sec. 63mm; 9:34 a.m. PDT. The cropped composition isn’t preferred, but it removes a distracting Stop sign to the left of the tabby’s head.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Cricket

About a half-block from where I saw Glow, a relatively new neighborhood resident lives at the corner of Maryland and Monroe. The house sold to new owners a few months ago, and some renovation followed—including the clearing of sidewalk-side foliage rising up a vertical protective wall along Monroe that obscured the backyard. The space attracted crickets, which until October 2017, during some evenings, I collected for our cats Cali and Neko to chase and eat inside our apartment; at the time, we lived around the corner on Cleveland. With the recent changes, I would be surprised if the insects gather there any longer.

The forty-eighth kitty in the series looking out from behind window or door was a sentimental sighting—for all the time that I spent skulking about the sidewalk and wall in the dark, with a flashlight and couple of plastic containers with lids. Surely, then, I needn’t explain this fine feline’s nickname.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Glow

We commemorate the last Caturday in July with the first of two felines looking out from behind windows—both on Maryland, and this one approaching Monroe from Meade. Earning nickname Glow, the blackie is our forty-seventh indoor-to-outdoor gazer. I used Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to shoot the Featured Image, on May 23, 2019, while walking home from the grocery store.

I deliberately held back the portrait, so that I could crop and re-crop with different mindset over the course of weeks. I also hoped to perhaps capture another moment. This composition qualifies as the least-dissatisfying of those created, and I seriously considered not including Glow in the series. But the cat is clear enough behind the glass, particularly its green eyes. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/340 sec, 63mm; 2:11 p.m. PDT.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Sprout

The 280th profile belongs to the fifth consecutively-presented Alabama kitty—forty-second featured from the street since the series started in October 2016. As we approach 300 and the third anniversary, I seriously consider closing down the project, which started as a photographic-practice exercise with expected, short duration. In a neighborhood seemingly dominated by dogs, there initially looked like maybe enough kitties to fill a month of posts. How could so many be lurking about?

I captured the Featured Image using iPhone XS on June 25,2019. I held back posting, hoping to learn the kitty’s real name. For now, I dub the shorthair Sprout. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/235 sec, 6mm; 10:01 a.m. PDT. The second portrait, with Zeppelin Pom Pom in the background, comes from Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. I saw both cats only once, together or apart. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 250, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 9:57 a.m.

Read More

What’s Behind the Nextdoor?

In classic episodes of game show “Let’s Make a Deal“, Monty Hall lets participants choose from among three doors, with the expectation that something prize-worthy waits behind one. But what if there are disappointing gag-gifts behind all of them? The answer kind of explains my abandoning social network Nextdoor for the second—and surely—last time.

I quit Nextdoor in mid-October last year after joining in August 2017. Primary reason: Interaction turned negative my relatively positive attitudes about the neighborhood. But, about five months ago, I reactivated my account after kitties Laramie and Lupe were abandoned; I worked with other concerned residents and a real estate agent seeking to get the animals safely removed before the property was sold. Nextdoor facilitated communication. Rescue House put the bonded pair into a foster home, and as I write they’re still waiting to be adopted.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Zeppelin Pom Pom

The fourth furball from Alabama Street, presented consecutively, is one of two seen outside the same property between Howard and Polk on June 25, 2019. Meet the friendly Zeppelin Pom Pom, which joins the list of best-named neighborhood kitties (some of whom have left or passed away since being profiled). Among my favs: Captain Blackbeard; Daniel Tiger; Darth Mew; Herbie, the Love Bug; Itchy Valentino; John Adams; Princess Leia; and The Colonel.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image, which gets unexpected presentation. When I opened the portrait to edit, Apple Photos automatically adjusted—but rather than straightening, the built-in algorithm mistakenly twisted into a Dutch Angle. I kind of like it. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/65 sec, 6mm; 9:57 a.m. PDT.

Read More

Audience Matters

While walking along Panorama Drive, in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood today, a bumper sticker caused me to chuckle. The message seemed so appropriately placed on a vehicle parked in what locals might call a well-to-do, liberal enclave. Above the one proclamation another exclaimed: “Keep the Mexicans. Deport Trump”. So surely the driver’s meaning is unequivocally plain: Fewer weapons saves lives. In other words, disarm Americans.

I laughed when passing, because interpretation could be far removed from intention, or purpose. There are anarchists, terrorists, and other people—such as those wanting to rid the country of haughty liberals—who might see something quite good and affirming about “More Guns, More Death”, reading the same sentiment with a divergent meaning that is justified by a different, or even opposing, ethical worldview. For one audience, the slogan is an admonition. For another, it’s an invitation—a call to arms, so to speak.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Astral

The trip down Alabama continues: Third furball presented consecutively, following Fuki and Boots; fortieth featured from the street, between boundaries Adams and Lincoln; and forty-sixth kitty to appear behind window or door. Besides the next two, there are another half-dozen of which I am aware but have been unable to present; most of those are indoors.

I used Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to capture the Featured Image on May 8, 2019. I held back posting by several months, hoping to possibly identify the real name. Several cats live in the same building, between El Cajon and Meade, and some owners identify them in the Pets section of social network Nextdoor. But not this animal, or that is obvious enough to me. I can wait no longer. For shining stare looking down from the second floor, this tabby earns nickname Astral. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 4:40 p.m. PDT.

Read More

Affordable Housing?

Oh the lies they tell to sell. San Diego is in the midst of a so-called affordable housing crisis, for which the poorly urban-planned cure eases zoning laws to increase population density among some neighborhoods. Funny thing, circumstances convince me that developers and politicians define “affordable housing” differently than do I or other residents. Rather than lower the entry point to rent, many newer properties raise it such that by comparison the already high monthly that I, or others, pay suddenly seems more affordable. Ah, yeah.

Consider, as example, the soon-to-open Blvd North Park, which takes up the block between Alabama and Florida on El Cajon. The complex is a wonder of marketing myths—ah, lies. As you can see from the Featured Image, which shows the leasing booth and building behind, the structure is very much under construction. Yet the leasing manger told me two weeks ago that the place would open—meaning be ready for tenants—on September 1. That’s the first lie; okay, a presumed one. The second is indisputable.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Boots

Our second of five, consecutively-presented Alabama cats is thirty-ninth seen on the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln, since the series‘ start in October 2016. For perspective, that works out to 14 percent of the 277 profiles published to date. I spotted the first felines there—on the same block and all on the same day—in September 2017: Itchy Valentino, Goldie, and Anthony. I frequently see the three still.

In fact, on July 7, 2019, as my wife and I walked by, Anthony trotted across his yard for some pats; guess he heard us talking and recognized our voices. As Annie bent down to oblige him, movement behind raptured my attention. The Tuxedo had a visitor, who wasn’t feeling friendly towards us. Ah, sorry for the interruption, kitty.