Tag: California Living

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‘He Didn’t Make It’

Surely you recall hearing or reading the title of this post somewhere. “He didn’t make it” is such an overly used movie or television trope (books, too). The statement also aptly describes the fate of the fallen Grinch who is subject of the Featured Image. He survived immediate decoration take-down following end of the Christmas holidays, but he was no match for the series of torrential rainstorms buffeting California.

Flooding. Mudslides. Power outages. Record snowfall in the mountains. Sinkholes. Hey, but no wildfires; too wet for that. But, don’t you fret; all that water will soon be forgotten. Sun will dry the place, pretty quickly, and the body politick will want to resume fear-mongering about drought conditions caused (presumably) by Climate Change.

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Soon to be as Popular as Grand Ole Opry?

Today, I did an In-N-Out drive-by while other cars were ridiculously stuck in the drive-thru. What’s up with all this vehicular laziness? Park. Go inside and order. Your food will come faster. Shall we time it so you can see, or is your butt so planted you would never consider the freedom and ease found at the counter?

But I digress. The Featured Image, quickly taken from inside my Honda using Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, is shared solely to illustrate this post—and opportunity to snark vomit all over the fast-foodery’s homeland. This week, In-N-Out announced plans to open its farthest east location(s). In Tennessee. Why the Volunteer State, you might ask. The company doesn’t really answer, but you don’t need more sense than the drive-thru nutters to rightly reason. That’s where the customers are—meaning California expats and refugees. And you thought they all flocked to Idaho and Texas (yes, where many did flee).

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The Swimming Pool

Rising and falling voices coming from outside our front window served as ambient noise as I puttered about the apartment this afternoon. Sometime later, I stepped through the front gate on an errand run, when one of the talkers—a younger woman—approached and asked if she could ask a question. The older lady accompanying her used to live in one of the apartments—50 years ago! The former resident recalled there being a swimming pool, or was she mistaken?

Oh, yes, long ago, a pool was the courtyard centerpiece, but the thing had been retired and filled in decades ago. Where people swam, a tree grows, as you can see from the Featured Image—taken today using Leica Q2—and the companion photo from iPhone XS on Aug. 16, 2019.

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Street Legal

Bike lane expansion and building of multi-story residences reduce the number of parking spaces around San Diego. Here in University Heights, many neighbors are testy about the loss of street spots to safely (hopefully) park their vehicles.

But, hey, the city can make room for electric scooters, or bicycles, in legal locations (got to get `em off the sidewalk, eh). I was surprised to come upon such space—filled with a Bird, no less—along Adams Avenue across from Old Trolley Barn Park.

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The Costs of Natural Gas Gouging

You might think that the year hasn’t progressed far enough along to designate the most notorious email. But we have one, delivered yesterday, without pomp nor apology, from SDGE—the so-called utility serving San Diego County. Excerpt: “Effective Jan. 1, 2023, a typical residential customer can expect an increase of $120 on their monthly natural gas bill relative to last January”. Say what?

Gosh, “new pricing became effective on” the first day of the year, according to the service provider. That’s a polite way of warning customers that they are about to get whacked aside the head with mindboggling blow. KPBS explains:

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A Very SoCal Christmas

Christmas Day assumed various nuances that made memories for the Wilcox family and others. For starters, we could celebrate free of SARS-CoV-2(severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates that oppressed the previous two years’ holidays. Summer suddenly reappeared in a magnificently mild and sunny day, with the temperature reaching 25.6 degrees Celsius (78 Fahrenheit). Even as I write, temp is unseasonably 19 C (66 F). Tomorrow is supposed to be nearly as warm as today.

As I will more fully explain in a few days, my wife and I have changed computing platforms—PCs and smartphones. At 12:30 p.m. PST, I met parents and their adult age college student to buy Annie’s 13.3-inch MacBook Pro M1 (16GB RAM, 1TB SSD). I have yet to find a buyer for my 16.2-inch MBP M1, which is a monster configuration that only a crazy man would let go—or swap for something seemingly less. All will be revealed soon enough. There are reasons.

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No Christmas Cheer Here

One of the nearby assuredly festively-decorated houses isn’t this Christmas season. You can get a sense of what’s typical from the profile of Queenie, who joined my “Cats of University Heights” series in December 2021. Sadly, she vanished last month, and her owner assumes coyote.

Sad as that may seem, the family suffered another emotional assault a month earlier, when the homeowner came home to find that the four towering palms outside her house had been marked for removal (e.g. clearcutting). Reportedly, San Diego Gas and Electric ordered the curbside destruction.

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Elf Tree Peace

Typically, homeless hang out on the sidewalks along the walls outside Sprouts supermarket, located at the intersection of Georgia and Howard in San Diego neighborhood University Heights. As such I wouldn’t have seen—or been able to take the Featured Image of—the tree-hanging lucky charm, whether he be leprechaun or Santa’s elf (you tell me which). But yesterday, the space was uncharacteristically unoccupied.

What a difference 24 hours makes. This afternoon, when I strolled by: One gent lay sleeping, wrapped in a brown blanket. Someone else huddled under a makeshift habitat, of which bicycle hubs were part of the structure. Another fellow crumpled cans collected from recycle bins; he worked from garbage bags carried in, and hanging from, a shopping cart. I couldn’t see the tree, or what was on it.

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This is Pat

A year or so before China locked down Wuhan because of SARS-CoV-2(severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19, I saw someone rummaging recyclables from bins in an alley. I had a bag of seltzer cans to put out and gave them to the fellow, whom fit my stereotype of a homeless scrounger. But days later, we passed again—and then less than a week later, once more. He was a regular.

When we had amassed more giveaways and he appeared in the alley, I made a delivery and conversation. He wasn’t homeless! He lives here in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. He is perfectly housed and also nearly blind. Meet Pat. I wish more people showed as much self-reliance, even without a debilitating handicap.

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Sale Sofa or a New Car?

Few San Diego neighborhoods can compete with Hillcrest for the financial gulf between those with means and others with little or none. People pay beaucoup bucks to live and party in what I unaffectionately call Hellcrest, where the homeless camp or roam rampant and the housed sidestep those who aren’t like someone might a piece of dog poop.

Sofa sale at one of the finer furniture boutiques had me laughing on Oct. 13, 2022. I can’t say which is funnier: The 50-percent discount or the original price—both of which you can see in the Featured Image, which I captured using Leica Q2 Monochrom through the display window. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/100 sec, 28mm; 10:37 a.m. PDT.

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Californians call This ‘Being Neighborly’

Not long ago, the path up this hill led to a feral cat colony, where Johny and his dad lived (the younger kitty now has an indoor home and the older one passed away of natural causes). In June 2022, I saw a police cruiser chasing a coyote, which scrambled up the path and disappeared to where the putty-tats gathered (eh, could that be why the colony collapsed—chased away or, ah, eaten).

Today, for the first time, I saw the two “Private Property” signs and barrier that are essential elements of the Featured Image. I manually focused Leica Q2 Monochrom on the upper warning marker. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/1000 sec, 28mm; 12:21 p.m. PDT.

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About Those Mail-in Ballots

Americans vote in the Midterms on Nov. 8, 2022, but Californians can do so now by drop-boxing or posting the mail-in ballots that all registered voters received—and who can guess how many people moved out of state or have died (sure, blame SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19); are the voter rolls ever up to date?

By my count, across San Diego County, there are about 149 dropbox locations, but local news media claims more than 200. Unlike Election 2020 many, if not most, are not staffed. So who’s voting for whom is the question, which applies as much to those dispatched by USPS?