Tag: teampixel

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The Cats of University Heights: Jake

For our last Caturday on Standard Time, before clocks jump (grumble, grumble) one hour ahead, we start an impromptu series of three harnessed felines. Two of them will lead us back to Alabama, where, for reasons that defy logic, more furballs have been seen than on any other street. But first we turn North—not the direction, but the avenue—between Madison and Monroe.

On March 7, 2019, while walking by where once lived Charlie and The Colonel, across the street I saw someone walking a handsome beastie. Of course, such sighting demanded investigation. I introduced myself to the friendly gent and met his beloved pet Jake. The kitty usually gets some out-in-the-yard supervised time; the harness and leash are the new thing, and Jake showed some resistance but not overt unwillingness to being outdoors this way.

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Candy Crush

If you believe the Wall Street Journal (and some other news outlets), “No One’s Making Sweethearts This Year, Crushing Lovers of Valentine’s Day Candy“. NECCO (New England Confectionery Company), the manufacturer behind the confection, closed its doors in 2018. Sweethearts’ new brand owner, Spangler Candy Company, hopes to have production lines ramped up for Valentine’s Day 2020, but existing supplies are limited for this year. Hehe, good thing this stuff has long shelf life.

Given the Sweethearts shortages, I was surprised to see a bowl of the candies strategically placed between the cosmetic and jewelry sections inside Macy’s Fashion Valley. Shouldn’t there be a security guard to protect these precious commodities from smash-and-grab robbers rushing the bowl? I imagine a sitcom plot where an attempted jewelry case robbery is merely a distraction for stealing Sweethearts instead. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Mewl

Wagering a guess, the shorthair that I call Mewl is a pregnant female. She was needy and noisy—hence the nickname—when my wife and I encountered the kitty along Spalding Place on Feb. 6, 2019. We approached from Madison Avenue through the alley between Park and Georgia, when we saw her walking from street to sidewalk. She turned when I pulled out Google Pixel 3 and loudly and nearly continuously meowed as she came up to us.

I spent some time tweaking the Featured Image and its companion, particularly for highlights and shadows. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 58, 1/1466 sec, 4.44mm; 10:43 a.m. PST. I let Google Photos auto-tune the second pic, for comparison sake. To my eyes, the first is more color accurate, as captured by the smartphone. The other has a more yellowish hue. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 57, 1/1565 sec; 4.44mm; 10:43 a.m. 

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The Joy Ride

Classify this story in the category of surprising Sunday dramas. Painters have been working on our apartment building and parking their lift truck along the street. Around 11:45 a.m. PST, I saw some stranger climb onto the lift and start it up. While he wore yellow utility belts that gave the aura of authority, his presence was suspicious, because: Neither he nor his buddy was one of the three painters; his companion drove a nondescript white utility truck, while the painters’ vehicle is branded and red; and he initially fumbled around like someone unfamiliar with the controls.

When the dude unparked the lift, I wondered: Is he stealing it? Off he drove down the street, with his companion following behind in the white truck. This is my neighborhood, it’s a sleepy Sunday, and I am more curious than a cat. I had to follow, first on foot and then by car. The pair drove about 1.8 km (1.1 miles) through University Heights to Rhode Island Ave., which is nearby an area called The Point and overlooks a canyon leading into commercial area Mission Valley below. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Ruff

Heavy rains gave way to summer sun this fine Caturday, as temperatures topped 21 degrees Celsius. I hauled out for a late-morning walk, with intention of calling my sister who winters in Florida. Her line went straight to voicemail. I rang my (last living) uncle, instead. Yikes, he prepared his Northern Maine homestead for impending heavy snow and possible power outage. About 15 minutes into the conversation, I asked that he wait while I used Google Pixel 3 XL to capture several quick portraits of a handsome dark grey shorthair sitting beneath a propped window and looking out through the screen.

The Featured Image is the second shot of four, taken along Meade Avenue not far from where Teach lives. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 67, 1/7813 sec, 4.44mm; 11:22 a.m. PST. Thirty-fourth behind-the-window watcher to appear in the series, the cat earns its nickname for fine white ruff. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Mitsie

Our second featured feline of 2019 is the thirtieth seen along Alabama—on the same block where live Harley, Holiday, Laramie, Lupe, and Precious and where were the homes of the departed Monkey and missing Smokey. I have exclaimed about the putty population density on the street, numerous times, and I know of at least four more cats on the block that have yet to be photographed. But there are others of which I am aware along the 1.5 km stretch between Adams and Lincoln.

I met Mitsie (her real name), one of her owners, and three dogs while they sunned on the cool morning of Dec. 29, 2018. She came to one of her current caretakers as a stray about six years ago, when he lived in Imperial Beach, Calif. 

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AMC and I argue the Semantics of A-List Membership

Earlier this week, movie theater chain AMC dumped coal in my Christmas stocking when I attempted to cancel the $19.95-a-month, watch-three-movies-a-week Stubs A-List subscription. One, and then another, customer representative informed me that at signup, the terms of service explicitly states that commitment is for three months. He, then she, warned that cancellation would trigger immediate charge for the remaining two months. But the ToS restriction shouldn’t apply to me, being a returning customer.

Everything comes down to the meaning of one word: Initial. When A-List launched, on June 26, 2018, my wife and I joined. We ended our membership about 90 days later. The ToS states: “A-List has an initial non-cancelable term of three (3) monthly membership periods (the ‘Initial Commitment’)”. We were good with accepting that requirement, which we met. But on November 18, with a few holiday movies of interest, I resubscribed, presuming that by making a second commitment I could cancel whenever. However, AMC service reps claim that my 3-month obligation reset and initial is the applicable word. Oh, did I futilely argue the semantics of that. C`mon? Doesn’t initial mean first time

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Gatto Basket

The folks over at Tuft + Paw saw my “Cats of University Heights” series and asked about my interest in some of their products and “to collaborate with you on a story. We have a talented team of cat behavior experts, designers, and engineers”. In looking over the outfit’s website, the understated designs of the feline furniture and accessories greatly appealed, but not the pricing, which I felt fell into a niche of well-to-do shoppers. Finally, on December 2nd, I seriously responded to founder Jackson Cunningham’s request (it has been a hectic autumn).

The $129, all-wool, Gatto Basket arrived this afternoon (my formal review, with tidbits about the company’s notorious beta tester, appears on BetaNews). Baskets are abundant inside our apartment. My wife loves them. As such, I unpacked the Gatto with great trepidation, wondering: “Why would any cat take to this?” We have so many others inside which our kitties can play, but for the most part neither does. A basket is a basket, right? Apparently, not. I plopped the thing onto the living room floor, and Cali settled inside quite nicely. Immediately, in fact, and she is finicky. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Stark

Meet Stark, who earns his (or her) nickname for my mood while writing (see next paragraph) and ambience of the Featured Image, which I captured using Google Pixel 3 XL on Nov. 18, 2018. The tiger tabby presented for portrait near where Monroe and North avenues meet. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 58, 1/3906 sec, 4.44mm; 3:19 p.m. PST.

This post has the distinction of being my first composed using WordPress 5.0’s so-called Gutenberg editor. I’m not loving it, in the least. Compatibility and reliability top my list of blogging software priorities—and neither is consistent composing with the radically new WP incarnation, using a theme from a reliable designer that supports the new editor. Some other theme authors have sent email warnings recommending against Gutenberg, to which my webhost auto-updated this site middle of last week.