Tag: autos

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Whoa, What’s That?

Mental note: Pay attention. Observe. Don’t assume. Now for an admission: I made a misidentification. On Nov. 25, 2020, I used a commercial sign to illustrate an analysis about SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns precipitating permanent pub and restaurant closures in San Diego. I thought an “a” had dropped off from “Eat’s”, on signage pointing to a presumedly closed eatery down an industrial alley/street in Hillcrest.

As the Featured Image reveals, looking from the other side, the correct spelling is “Eli’s”, referring to Eli Vigderson’s European Car Repairs. Part of the “l” has fallen away. What I thought was a “t” is instead a full letter and part of another. I got to wondering about the sign, after posting “Got Mini?” two days ago; the roadster was parked at an auto shop.

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Got Mini?

A rear-window sticker asked that question, and I mentally lamented answering no. While walking through San Diego’s Hillcrest district, I passed the vehicle parked at Eli Vigderson’s European Car Repairs, which is across the street from Better Buzz Coffee on University Avenue. The auto shop is nearby the Eat’s sign that I used to illustrate a Nov. 25, 2020 story assessing the shocking number of restaurants and pubs permanently closed during California’s lockdowns meant to curb SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 infections.

Hillcrest is so grim, and also such a street photography opportunity, that I typically carry Leica Q2 Monochrom, which captured the Featured Image on Nov. 10, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 11:15 a.m. PST.

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The Sedan of Many Colors

I see this car along streets all over University Heights—Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Monroe (East and West sides of Park Blvd.), among others. Finding parking spaces where you live can be challenging, and whoever drives this vehicle is willing to walk a fair number of blocks to secure a spot.

Surely other residents are compelled to park far and away, but I wouldn’t know since so many autos look alike. The Hummer first sighted in February 2021 (and many times in various places, since) is an example. Then we have this multi-colored sedan, which most distinctive hue (pink hood and trunk) my Featured Image only hints at. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2, ISO 100, 1/6400 sec, 28mm; 2:23 p.m. PDT; Leica Q2.

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The Hummer Metaphor

San Diego changes around me, particularly from the cost-of-living increases brought by the ever-growing emigration of high-tech workers escaping Northern California; they’re well-paid and find here comparatively affordable rents and home prices—all of which rise as more Googler-types relocate. SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns set them free to work from anywhere there is reliable Internet.

So I was only modestly surprised to see a Hummer parked off of Lincoln in the University Heights neighborhood on Feb. 21, 2021. What amazed me more, when arriving here in October 2007, was the number of Hummers seen seemingly everywhere. You could have played an adapted Punch Buggy—and lost—for the few non-military Hummers traveling about the Washington, D.C. metro area that we left nearly 14 years ago. In San Diego, the contrast was stark, and I wondered why all the gas guzzlers given stereotypes about carbon-aware, environmentally-focused California culture. Should I answer status symbol? The late-2008 economic collapse purged the oversize vehicles from local roadways. Who could afford higher monthly payments or gasoline for a roadster rated city driving of 13 miles to-the-gallon?  By mid-2009, their numbers had diminished to near nothing; that I observed. Eventually, as the economy recovered, based on increasing sightings, various Jeep models replaced the Hummers as all-around utility vehicles.

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Flickr a Week 11: ‘Havanna Taxis’

Where are the customers? I ask, because why would anyone Uber when they could ride in one of these? Convertibles! Especially, as I understand, ride shares aren’t available—well, at least, for tourists.

Christoph Kilger captured self-titled “Havanna Taxis” on March 21, 2019, using Leica M10 and Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH lens. Vitals: f/1.4, ISO 400, 1/2000 sec, 35mm. The photo takes the week for color, composition, and symmetry. BTW, since when is Havana spelled with two “n”s?

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Be Blue, Buggy

There is something oh-so-stereotypical about 1960s-70s Volkswagens and Southern California. For sure, vintage VWs are commonly sighted, and weather is one reason. With so much sun and so little rain to accommodate them, Cal cars […]

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Saying Goodbye to a Classic Car

On the morning of April 15, 2018, a (now former) friend of my daughter rang my cell in frantic state. The (then) twenty-three old had borrowed her car, while his vehicle was in the shop. The young man claimed that someone sideswiped Molly’s convertible when parked and he was away meeting a client. I learned that dents and scrapes spanned front to rear panels and the door between them, amid his gasping and repeated promises about paying for repairs. He never did.

The car is gone now; the why and how is an oddly twisted tale that I tell after depositing the insurance check. That act closed the story’s last chapter. 

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Hello, Mini

What a strange place to find a classic: Carport along a nearby alley. So which of my neighbors has been hiding this lovely? With no license plate. Apparently good condition. Cool color. Best of all: Steering wheel on the right side! It’s a British beauty.

Had there been a license plate—out of respect for the owner’s privacy—I wouldn’t have stopped to capture the moment. No identifying information encouraged me to take license (ah, hum, dumb pun) with Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. 

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Scooter Booter

Did you know that mopeds typically are bigger air-polluters than cars or trucks? Kind of diminishes their mystique, don’t you think? Yeah. Yeah. But I would still consider riding (and owning) one. Some newer models’ emissions are cleaner (and, yes, that’s a justification).

I shot this scooter nearby the bridge that crosses Washington Street to The Hub shopping plaza, on March 2, 2017, at 11:41 a.m. PST, using Fujifilm X100F, which settings were changed to those used by photographer Kevin Mullins, with Classic Chrome film simulation. Vitals: f/4, ISO 400, 1/950 sec, 23mm. 

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My Two Losses

This week I pick up the pieces of early May and return to business as usual—eh, hopefully. I’ll recount events chronologically, offering context for near absence on my personal site and complete disappearance from BetaNews, where my last story, as of writing here, was April 27, 2016.

The following day, there was an unfortunate vehicular incident, involving our six-and-a-half old Toyota Yaris, which the insurer designated total loss. That wasn’t the outcome I had hoped for, despite extremely generous compensation for the car’s value. We paid for the Yaris in full and, as such, planned on running it for many more years yet.