Tag: California Living

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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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What’s Not Upside Down in California?

While walking along Monroe, approaching Utah, in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, a street sign beckoned my attention. Consider the Featured Image, captured using Leica Q2, as a metaphor for all things unimaginably crackers about the Golden State. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2, ISO 100, 1/5000 sec, 28mm; 2:54 p.m. PST, Feb. 10, 2021.

We could start with the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns that have devastated California’s economy; compelled tens of thousands of businesses to permanently close; put millions of people out of work and unable to pay either rent or mortgage; prevented landlords and lenders from collecting the aforementioned and prohibited them from evicting tenants and homeowners; forced families or individuals into homelessness; kept kids out of school for 11 months and counting; opened the prisons, releasing potentially dangerous individuals into the population (many of these former inmates become homeless); and—hell, that’s long-enough list of misery.

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Surely There is a Better Way to Help the Homeless

I specifically shot the Featured Image, yesterday using Leica Q2, to illustrate this essay. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 11:22 a.m. PST. The carts belonged to one of three homeless men gathered together a few meters away on the Hillcrest side of Washington Street Bridge (University Heights is on the other). For sure, San Diego has a significant indigent population. But I write about San Francisco and something that surprises me—and perhaps will you, too.

According to the SF Chronicle (sorry, subscription required), the city is “currently sheltering more than 2,200 homeless people in about 25 hotels” and the “monthly program costs range from $15 million to $18 million”. By my math, that works out to between $6,818.18 to $8,8181.82 per person each month. If these people were paid, the equivalent annual salary would be between $82,000 and $98,000. Oh, and looks like the United States government will cover costs through the end of September 2021.

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If the Lockdown Lasts Long Enough…

I am so tempted to buy a can of spray paint and replace that last zero in twenty-twenty with a one. Because given that Southern California’s COVID-19 crackdown continues unabated—and that the restaurant couldn’t have opened in “Early Fall” because of it—autumn twenty-twenty-one looks ever more realistic. That assumes the place isn’t forced into insolvency, like so many other local eateries. In this County, SanDiegoVille keeps a running list of restaurants and pubs permanently shuttered during 2020—the majority since the pandemic’s start. I count 113 entities, but more when accounting for establishments with multiple locations.

These businesses are prohibited from seating customers, indoors or outdoors; take-out and delivery are the only options, and they don’t generate enough revenue to keep operations aloft. The widening spread of COVID-19, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), demonstrates that forced closures are ineffective killing the pandemic. But they sure look likely to massively massacre small- and medium-size businesses.

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You Spell It Like This

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes you need a second one to communicate the message. I captured the Featured Image today along University Ave. in San Diego’s Hillcrest Neighborhood. “Massachusetts” is correctly spelled in the billboard for Mike’s Pizzeria.

Digressing, why New England pie? I recall there being a New York pizza place in the location before it joined the many shops and restaurants that have closed thanks to the overly onerous lockdowns imposed by Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom. He acts like some quirky, hallucinogenic-taking medium blessed him as the messiah of COVID-19—the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2). He will kill more people (and businesses) than he will ever save; he attacks the pandemic with the figurative equivalent of atomic bombs. Will someone please hide the launch codes before radioactive fallout kills us all!

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The Tree Tragedy

I can’t speak for my wife, but to me a pair of benefits marshaled my interest in choosing our current apartment: The front windows and what I call the “squirrel tree” majestically before them—as expected, providing plentiful wildlife entertainment for our cats Cali and Neko to watch; for the humans, too. Yesterday, the management company overseeing the property snuffed out magic, and life.

Time is immeasurable this year, thanks to triple-P: pandemic, politics, and protests (e.g., SARS-CoV-2, severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2, also known as COVID-19; Election 2020; and racial riots). As such, I don’t recall how long ago the building manager spoke to me about the tree—two or more months, seems like). He said that the perennial would likely be dramatically trimmed back; being top heavy, the branches pulled the trunk into brickwork before it (see first photo). Some discussion drifted to removal, which I opposed, promising in threatening tone: “The day they cut down that tree is the day I give notice”.

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California’s Christmas Coal Stocking Stuffer

For a state top-heavy with liberal-leaning Climate Change crazies cruising electric cars and demanding the end of carbon emissions, California sure loves coal—as in stuffed by the truckloads into Christmas stockings. Governor Gavin “Grinch” Newsom assures plenty of blackened lumps this holiday, following his most recent order that effectively shuts down most of California and demands that citizens stay home and embark on nothing more than “essential travel”; how odd that trips for alcohol and cannabis are allowed, although I’d like to think that Santa regards them as naughty and worthy of a sack of curbside coal—seeing as how the lockdown order permits deliveries but forbids visits from the likes of Old Saint Nick.

Today marks the first full day of shutdown misery, which will last until at least Dec. 27, 2020. Driving through Ocean Beach this morning, I was struck by how many eateries and pubs had set up outdoor dining areas—some costing tens of thousands of dollars to construct. Now they’re useless monuments to COVID-19, colossal wastes of capital, and resounding lessons that trying to do the right thing for public health is the wrong approach when Governor Newssolini keeps changing the rules by which businesses operate during the pandemic.

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California Cancels Christmas

Reading the list from my previous post, Cali life might seem so fab that you’re ready to move to the Golden State. Cool your jets and read on first. Earlier today, Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom extinguished the light at the end of the holidays, by announcing even more SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19restrictions that assure Santa won’t shimmy down any California chimneys this Christmas Eve, even if wearing a mask or practicing social distancing. St. Nick Corp. isn’t an “essential business”, meaning one exempt from the onerous obstructions to living—or even breathing—under the benevolence of Governor Newssolini’s  auspicious authority.

Bigger than the new lockdown protocols is their nebulous nature. Newsom has organized the state into five regions, placing San Diego County with Los Angeles County, which has the greatest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases (e.g. infections) in the United States. He expects that ICU capacity will fall to 15 percent within the next day or two, which will be the event that steals Christmas from Southern California, if not statewide. But he was downright dubious about when this would happen, although he could confidently say that once the trigger pulls, the new shutdown order would be in place for at least three weeks. Do the math. Santa ain’t coming this year!

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The Benefits of Living the COVID California Crackdown

Thanks to Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom’s dictates demanding that citizens stay home, California is now a fine freeloading paradise where taking responsibility for anything is a crime. But that’s okay, because his do-nothing principle is assured to protect us—locked inside our own living-in-paradise prisons—from SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19.

I have heard some commenters refer to the Gov as Newssolini, but anyone with more than two functioning neurons should see such insinuation insults the dictator. (Say, Mr. Mussolini, how’s the temperature in Hell these days?)

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Let the People Eat

For what did Rudford’s have to be grateful for on Thanksgiving Day last week? I wonder, as the COVID-19 crackdown prohibits indoor dining and imposes a 10-p.m.-to-5-a.m. curfew that impinges on the 24-hour diner’s normal operations. Eateries across California—and the country—are beaten back because of rising confirmed SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) infections, which are misidentified by politicians and the news media as cases. Most people testing positive are not sick nor will they be hospitalized.

In the weekly report released today: 81,084 people have tested positive (e.g., confirmed cases) for COVID-19 since San Diego County started tracking data in February. Median age: 35. Number of deaths: 997, with a median age of 76. No one died in the week ended Nov. 28, 2020. Case fatality rate: 1.2 percent. Stated differently, if you live in SDC and test positive your chance of surviving the Novel Coronavirus is 98.8 percent.

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You’re a Mean One, Governor Grinch

One of my University Heights neighbors is ready for Christmas—and that with Thanksgiving still two weeks away. What immediately follows? Black Friday, which will be a bust for many, if not most, local retailers—and perhaps every other business—now that Governor Gavin “Grinch” Newsom has dumped San Diego County back into the most restrictive lockdown tier; aka Purple. The shutdown supposedly will curtail rising COVID-19 infections caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) and, thus, save lives. But at what cost to livelihoods?

Perhaps the holiday decor isn’t meant to be a commentary on the current state of affairs; either way, I make it one. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image yesterday. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 9:12 a.m. PST. The Grinch is appropriate metaphor for the Gov, while the ravens feed on the economic dead that another shutdown murders. Bones picked clean of flesh by the carrion flock hang nearby. How funny! That is the same skeleton seen sitting in a car—on March 29.