Tag: San Diego

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The Cats of University Heights: Pumpkin

What do I know? Apparently not enough, by being completely clueless that in the United States October 29 is National Cat Day. Well, that calls for a commemorative kitty. Meet Pumpkin—and, yes, that is his real name. The kitten is something of a stray that his owner inherited about six weeks ago.

Some interesting connections: Pumpkin lives in the same house where was Willow; she and her family moved away during the  SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 mandates. Pumpkin’s mom is also longtime caretaker of ferals Mimi and Sweet Pea. The Maine Coons lost their luscious backyard home when the owner of the property died and relatives sold the place.

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The Cats of University Heights: Forlorn

Happy Caturday, unless perhaps you are this magnificent Tuxedo. In the three portraits quickly taken using Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, he (or she) presents sad eyes in all of them. I passed the kitty on the afternoon of Oct. 10, 2023, basking in sunlight and looking out on the bustling street; I won’t say which one. Vitals, for the Featured Image: f/4.9, ISO 50, 1/400 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 4:52 p.m. PDT.

Nickname Forlorn for obvious reasons, the Tux is the one-hundred-seventeenth furball found behind door or window since this series started in October 2016.

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Don’t Bite Me

I shot the Featured Image using Leica Q2, today, as my wife and I returned to University Heights from grocery shopping in Hillcrest. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 11:39 a.m. PDT.

Spiders hold a special place in my heart, and something about the giant fake one demanded photographic attention. I considered close-cropping but the entire holiday decoration display deserved showcasing. So here we are.

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Monster Mash

Since moving to the San Diego village of University Heights 16 years ago, I have given little attention to Halloween decorations. But in 2023, they are everywhere—and in exponential numbers. Some neighbors seemingly try to outdo others. Ostentatious, expansive, nightly-noticeable are the prevalent themes.

But a few seasonal adornments stand out for being tastefully austere, like these in the windows of a house along Lincoln. Coincidentally, in January, I wrote about the property then being the most costly rental ($5,950) in the neighborhood.

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‘No Contract, No Peace; No Justice, No Peace’

The headline is the slogan I heard chanted by striking workers, seen on the El Cajon Blvd sidewalk between Georgia and Florida streets and alongside—but not on—Kindred Hospital property, which is in San Diego neighborhood University Heights. Last time I saw, and documented, similar picketing was June 2018.

But the tone was different today; hostile even. “No justice, no peace” is more typically associated with cultural and societal protests, particularly regarding equality or race. I always have regarded it as an implicit threat; you may not agree. Putting that aside, how else should “no peace” be interpretated as chanted by unionized workers demanding contract concessions? You tell me.

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Is That a Threat or a Promise?

As Halloween approaches—and the number of ghoulish yard decorations explode like no other year—we return for more. I used Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra to capture the Featured Image, last night. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 1000, 1/8 sec, 70mm (film equivalent); 7:52 p.m. PDT.

The grave stones are quite elaborate, running outside the cement enclosure and facing the sidewalk. I returned about an hour ago, with Leica Q2, for a sharper shot—but illumination is orange and nowhere as striking as the blue. So I passed the opportunity.

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Big Book Sale Surprise

My wife asked about going to see the San Diego mural from my Oct. 18, 2023 post, so today we walked to the alley between El Cajon Blvd and Howard Ave. along 30th Street in North Park. She took first photos; I shot some refreshers.

From there we headed West along Howard towards Sprouts market to buy bananas and organic whole milk. The University Heights Public Library book sale room opens into the grocer’s parking lot—and it was open. So we ventured inside for a surprise.

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Now That’s Frightening

Welcome to another blast from the past. I captured the Feature Image on this date in 2012, using Galaxy Nexus, which was codeveloped by Google and Samsung and manufactured by the latter company. Vitals: f/2.75, ISO 50, 1/115 sec, 3.43mm; 3:40 p.m. PDT.

Location: Monroe, between Cleveland and Maryland, in University Heights. The property is good measurement of San Diego’s changing housing market. The place sold for $520,000 in June 2011. The family living there moved to a larger home and put this place on the market, where it went for $617,500 in September 2013.

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The Cats of University Heights: Aura

We go from Marmalade on Mississippi to the alley behind the street along the same block. My wife spotted the grey today, and I stopped with Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra for a shot through the chain-link fence.

Take a close look at the Featured Image. A white glow outlines the kitty—and it’s not some digital artifact produced by the smartphone’s sensor. The late-day sun created the effect for which this fine feline earns nickname Aura. Vitals: f/4.9, ISO 250, 1/60 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 5:47 p.m. PDT.

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The Most Unaffordable City

San Diego is too prestigious a place. In July 2023, rents exceeded San Francisco. Yikes! Last month, the median-selling price for residences (houses and more) topped $1 million. The city earns yet another distinction: U.S. News & World Report has crowned San Diego as “#1 in most expensive places to live”. Uh, yeah.

Los Angeles is second; broadly, California cities capture seven spots in the top ten. Oh joy. I marvel at how suddenly—catastrophically—was the transition from, quoting the motto, “America’s finest city” to America’s most unaffordable place to live. Four years ago, food, sundries, and housing cost so much less.

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The Cats of University Heights: Marmalade

This series started seven years ago—Oct. 17, 2016—with a kitty I call Scruffy. Five-hundred-fifty-three profiles later, I continue to discover new kitties—something I couldn’t conceive in a neighborhood with so many dog owners.

My miscalculation: Failing to understand the make-up of San Diego households, of which 52 percent are renters rather than homeowners. As such, tenant turnover is fairly frequent and includes pets; for people living in smaller spaces, feline friends are a popular choice. Foolish me, for not seeing the obvious.

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Sixteen Years Ago Today

On Oct. 15, 2007, the Wilcox family arrived in San Diego from the Washington, D.C.-metro area. Within days, I began to understand the character of Communist California Culture and regret relocating. But we came to assist my aged father-in-law, so that he might maintain freedom to live in his apartment, which he did until passing away there at age 95 in January 2017.

My wife and I talked about returning to the East Coast almost immediately after her dad’s death. But our only child (an adult, by then) was attached to Southern California, and she wasn’t ready for us to leave her. We stayed—or shall I say overstayed—our time here. San Diego has changed all too much in terrible ways—almost all brought about by state and/or local mandates.