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The Cats of University Heights: Sugar

On July Fourth 2018, as my wife and I walked down Florida between Madison and Monroe, I saw a kitty on apartment steps and its owners nearby preparing to barbecue. I snapped a quick portrait with Google Pixel 2 XL and asked the name. How sweet. Sugar. I haven’t seen the shorthair since. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/1.8, ISO 55, 1/4673 sec, 4.459mm; 6:57 p.m. PDT.

I started this series 23 months ago and likely will end it on the two-year anniversary (October 16). Look for an explanation why in about two weeks. 
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The Cats of University Heights: Honey

Something like nine months ago, I caught fleeting glimpse of a calico going into an apartment courtyard, up to a second floor landing and being let inside a door. I missed the moment, which returned on Aug. 16, 2018. The shorthair hung outside the building—and not visibly for just the one day that week but several. I seized the first opportunity, as my wife and I carried home groceries, and let alone the kitty on the others.

Earning nickname Honey, the beastie is the twenty-seventh sighted along Alabama Street. As we greeted, and I snapped portraits, No. 11, Cal, looked down from an open window. I shot the Featured Image and the first companion using Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Vitals: f/4.8, ISO 200, 1/180 sec, 50mm; 9:12 a.m. PDT. The other is same except for 1/250 shutter speed and 9:10 a.m. timestamp. 
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Finally! A Good Use for the Shopping Mall’s Vacant Anchor Store

Today’s Westfield Mission Valley visit offered up something even more surprising than seeing our first FlixBus. My wife suggested walking around the perimeter of the empty store where once was Macy’s—so we could be more in shade than sun. But turning from the parking lot side back towards the mall proper, we encountered police tape blocking off the area in shadows. Then we came upon the sign that is the Featured Image.

Think of all that empty square-footage an anchor department store leaves behind for SWAT to do God knows what—and he ain’t telling me—to prepare for incidents involving terrorists, Twitter rumormongers, or Trump-haters (of which there are too many in San Diego). Perhaps the police practiced hostage negotiation and rescue tactics. But all seemed quiet when Anne and I meandered by.
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‘On the Bus, That’s Where We’re Ridin’

I feel the generational gap, after spotting my first FlixBus this afternoon. Half-decade ago, I would have written about the company’s start and followed its progress—like so many other wannabe tech and social-behavior disruptors seeking to win over Millennial minds and money.

Bright, bold green and orange buses, mobile app to schedule or pay, on-board Wi-Fi, and budget-friendly pricing scream cool, cost-consciousness for the connected generation—among which car ownership is more Scarlet Letter than merit badge of adulthood. 
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The Cats of University Heights: Tuna

For International Cat Day, we celebrate with a shorthair named for every kitty’s favorite food. We regarded one another from a distance, on July 27, 2018. Just as I crouched down with Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens, a gentleman came out a door above the animal. I asked for a name. He hesitated, then answered: “I call her Tuna”. There you go. Yum. Yum.

I captured the Featured Image at 6:54 p.m. PDT, just after the gent walked by. Vitals: f/4, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 50mm (EXIF mistakenly reports f/2.5). On two other separate occasions, I saw Tuna on the steps when passing the property, on Georgia between Mission and Monroe. Last night, my wife and I stopped to look, and Tuna surprised by strutting down the steps to great us. 
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The Cats of University Heights: Cocoa

As my wife and I walked up Maryland Ave. late yesterday afternoon, something hiding in the flowers caught my attention—and I missed the perfect portrait when the meower came out to greet us. The Featured Image isn’t from the feline’s first approach but second, when she temporarily moved up the steps, before coming back to the street for more pats. Vitals: f/3.6, ISO 200, 1/1700 sec, 35.6mm. I captured the moment using the Fujifilm X-T1 and XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS kit lens at 5:59 p.m. PDT, with Classic Chrome simulation set.

The day marked the first return to service for the digital camera. I boxed up the X-T1 and posted for sale on Craigslist twenty-nine days ago, after seeing selling prices for new hadn’t budged from $1,699—despite release of the X-T2. I decided to recover some of my investment, being satisfied enough with the Fuji X100F received on February 28th. About an hour-and-a-half before our couple’s walk, a potential buyer from Orange County contacted me. He wondered about the X-T1’s condition and probed on price, seeing as mine was so high ($1,100 in prime condition). He surprised me. The bottom had fallen, and I hadn’t seen: Adorama, Amazon, and B&H all are discounting the mirrorless-and-lens kit by $500. As such, no one, if anyone, would buy from me for even $900. It’s pointless giving up so much value; it’s a wonderful shooter. I unboxed the kit, attached Hard Graft Atelier Hang Camera Strap, and updated the body’s firmware to version 5.10. 
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