Chargers kicker Nick Novak at Kids Newsday.

chargers kicker nick novak at kids newsday

Our leisurely walk through Balboa Park has been interrupted by a great pic I got this morning!

Outstanding kicker Nick Novak and other Chargers players were out on busy street corners to help with Kids Newsday, which raises money for Rady Children’s Hospital! They were handing out newspapers filled with cool articles written by kids while collecting donations from passing motorists.

In this photo, Nick is being interviewed by a Union Tribune journalist in Mission Valley. You can see other participants holding yellow signs across the intersection.

Pleasant stroll toward the Old Globe Theatre.

old globe theatre comes into view

Here comes the famous Old Globe Theatre into view! It’s the round Tudor-style building there on the left. More about it in my next blog post…

museum of man and california tower from the east

Turning for a moment to the left, we see the east side of the Museum of Man’s colorful dome and the picturesque California Tower.

a pleasant nook in balboa park

A pleasant nook below with benches. That’s the Craig Noel Garden, named after the Old Globe Theatre’s founding director. This is a great place to take a rest, or read a book!

Water splashes from face in fountain at west end of the Craig Noel Garden.
Water splashes from face in fountain at west end of the Craig Noel Garden.
Plaque explains how Craig Noel helped to found the Old Globe Theatre.
Plaque explains how Craig Noel helped to found the Old Globe Theatre.
Passage by Museum of Man leads back toward El Prado.
Passage by Museum of Man leads back toward El Prado.

Follow me to see Balboa Park’s theatres.

view from el prado of conrad prebys theatre center

Join me as we walk east through Balboa Park. Having passed the Museum of Man, we now turn north to peer through an archway that leads to three of San Diego’s most prominent theatres. They are the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, and the world-famous, much celebrated Old Globe Theatre. The latter is modeled after the original Globe Theatre in London, where William Shakespeare saw many of his own plays performed. Just a sliver is visible in this photo, on the left.

In the next blog post we will proceed through the archway…

Another pic taken from an archway on the opposite side of El Prado.
Another pic taken from an archway on the opposite side of El Prado.

Beer, headhunters, and instruments of torture.

beer, headhunters, and instruments of torture

What’s that? Huh?

Check out these two banners! They’re hanging in the courtyard in front of the Museum of Man, at the west end of El Prado in Balboa Park.

The first advertises an exhibition about the history of beer. Beerology seems to include the study of imbibing pharaohs and thirsty headhunters. Drink up!

The second depicts a chair covered with sharp spikes. Presumably one of those can be found on display in the museum, along with other delightful instruments of torture. A quite memorable cultural experience!

People walk through plaza in front of the Museum of Man.
People walk through plaza in front of the Museum of Man.

Lawn bowlers enjoy Sunday in Balboa Park.

san diego lawn bowling club in balboa park

Every weekend, folks dressed in white are out on the bowling green near the west end of Balboa Park. The San Diego Lawn Bowling Club must have a pretty good membership, because I’ve seen scores of players all out enjoying the sport at the same time.

I usually linger for a couple minutes to watch a game unfold. Excellent accuracy is required to win.

A game has ended and the scattered balls are collected.
A game has ended and the scattered balls are collected.
Keeping score on a lazy, sunny weekend day.
Keeping score on a lazy, sunny weekend day.
Sign provides info about free lawn bowl lessons.
Sign provides info about free lawn bowl lessons.

Peek into the San Diego Firehouse Museum.

sign at the firehouse museum in little italy

If you’re ever in the Little Italy neighborhood in downtown San Diego, you might want to check out the small but jam-packed Firehouse Museum.

Shiny red fire trucks, interesting historical photos, old fire fighting apparatus, memorabilia and even Smokey Bear are on display. And excited kids can climb into one of the cool fire engines!

This sign by the sidewalk invites tourists and passersby to take a peek into the firehouse.

a peek at a cool firetruck and smokey bear

I took a photo from outside, aiming left.

old firetrucks in san diego firehouse museum

And then the above photo aiming right.

The next pic was taken on a later day, in the early morning when the museum was still closed…

The San Diego Firehouse Museum in the early morning.
The San Diego Firehouse Museum in the early morning.

A plaque appeared on the museum’s exterior in mid to late 2015!

Old Fire Station Number Six. From 1915 to 1970, San Diego Fire Department's original Fire Station 6 proudly served the community of Little Italy.
Old Fire Station Number Six. From 1915 to 1970, San Diego Fire Department’s original Fire Station 6 proudly served the community of Little Italy.

The plaque includes this fascinating information:

In the workshop on this site some of America’s most significant fire service innovations were created by the specialty trade-skilled firefighters who worked here, including the world’s first gas engine powered fireboat, the Bill Kettner. In 1963 the National Fire Protection Association declared the national standard thread the official fire hose thread of the United States of America. The machine which enabled this federal legislation was invented here six years earlier by inventor and battalion chief Robert Ely. The common thread allowed thousands of American firefighters to connect their fire hoses together, allowing them to work as one. As a result, countless lives and priceless amounts of property and the environment have been saved.

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A crabby waiter serves a surf monkey!

surf monkey in hillcrest is served by a crab

A boring old utility box in Hillcrest was transformed by an inspired artist into a colorful canvas. This fun example of urban art depicts a meditating monkey sitting by the surf, with white clouds and a volcano in the background. He’s being served a beverage by a crab!

Tattered, ghostly sails of the haunted Star!

tattered sails of the haunted star of india

As Halloween approaches, I’ve noticed some changes during my walks about San Diego. A few scary decorations have begun to appear here and there among houses, shops and offices. One change in particular is difficult to miss.

The Star of India has put on her tattered sails!

A spooky Star of India makes a very cool October sight on San Diego Bay. This year, visitors who experience Haunting Tales from our Seafaring Past, in addition to touring the venerable old ship, will hear ghost stories and scary legends about life at sea. Kids attending are encouraged to dress in costume. In the days ahead, I’ll probably see a lot of pint-sized pirates shuffling along the Embarcadero!

The Star of India, owned by the San Diego Maritime Museum, recently turned 150 years old. The world’s oldest active sailing ship, she was originally named Euterpe, after the Greek muse of music and poetry. During her lifetime she’s made 21 circumnavigations of the globe, and has hauled cargo, emigrants and even fish in Alaska. Various people have died on board, including her first captain, and there have been reports of ghostly sightings. Some visitors say they feel the touch of a cold hand when they stand near the mast where a young sailor, a stowaway, fell from the rigging to his death in 1884. Step aboard if you dare!

UPDATE!

Here come a few more pics from October 2014…

Morning pic of a sail in tatters for Halloween's spooky Star of India.
Morning pic of a sail in shreds for Halloween-themed Star of India.
Torn sails befit the spooky Halloween spirit.
Torn sails befit the spooky Halloween spirit.
October sign on historic tall ship reads Haunted Tales on the Star of India.
October sign on historic tall ship reads Haunted Tales on the Star of India.

Photos of San Diego County Administration Building.

san diego county administration building

This unmistakable landmark has been photographed a million times. Now make it a million and one.

Yes, it’s the San Diego County Administration Center.

Finished in 1938, designed by several renowned local architects including William Templeton Johnson, Richard Requa and Louis John Gill, the historic building is Spanish Revival/Streamline Moderne in style with Beaux-Arts classical touches.

It stands overlooking the Embarcadero, just across Harbor Drive, not far from the Star of India.

For several decades it also served as the Civic Center of San Diego. Today, a large public park is being developed on either side of the building, where parking lots recently existed. I considered posting a photo of the construction, but all you’d see is dirt and bulldozers.

County Administration Building seen from Pacific Highway.
County Administration Building seen from Pacific Highway.

The first two pics are of the building’s east side, which faces downtown’s Little Italy. The other pics from the very similar west side I took during a walk along the Embarcadero on a later day…

Looking up at the west entrance of San Diego County Administration Building.
Looking up at the west entrance of San Diego County Administration Building.
Tiles depict fish, Navy ships on the bay, Mission San Diego, Balboa Park and an airplane.
Tiles depict fish, Navy ships on the bay, Mission San Diego, Balboa Park and an airplane.
Ornamental column near entrance with eagle on top.
Ornamental column near entrance with eagle on top.
View from the west, across Harbor Drive.
View from the west, across Harbor Drive.

UPDATE!

Here are a couple more pics. I took these with a newer camera many years later. These are on the east side of the building, where there is a plaza, shady benches and two fountains. Domes featuring a beautiful tile mosaic in the American Southwest style attract the eye at either end of the building. I’m looking north in the next photo…

Giant octopus steals tin cans from ship!

giant octopus steals tin cans from ship

And now for your entertainment: another terrifying scene!

Beware of giant octopi with a taste for canned foods! This wily octopus steals tin cans from helpless, despairing sailors, who then promptly throw themselves into watery oblivion. When you’re in the middle of the ocean in an old ship full of tin cans, what is one to do?

This cool mural adds character to the front of a small dive bar on Bankers Hill. The place’s name is Tin Can Alehouse. I’m told they serve beer exclusively in cans.

This monstrous octopus really means business!
This monstrous octopus really means business!

A ship in peril. I guess some sea creatures like their beer in a can.
A ship in peril. I guess some sea creatures like their beer in a can.

Jump for your lives men! Grab ahold of a tin can!
Jump for your lives men! Grab hold of a tin can!