How the most wonderful dreams are made real.

Your most wonderful dreams can turn into reality . . . with effort, optimism and dogged persistence. And patience. And unwavering vision.

Over the years I’ve recorded many instances of extraordinary–even improbable–dreams coming true. I’ve learned about or have met people who raise their eyes toward a distant, shimmering dream, then reach up to grab it.

All of these individuals are motivated by an undying passion.

Here are a few instances that I happen to remember. I’ve blogged about athletes who achieve the pinnacle of success; artists, inventors and visionaries who create astonishing new wonders; students who step confidently into the future…

Click the following links:

Celebration of Champions at Elite Athlete Training Center!

“There is no shortcut to true success.”

More photos of amazing, experimental holographic art!

An amazing cube, like real Space: full of stars!

The fantastic, amazing Harper’s Topiary Garden!

Aviation history at Waldo Dean Waterman Park.

World’s most amazing car, displayed in San Diego!

Cool photos of creativity at Maker Faire San Diego!

Salk Institute architect Louis Kahn: an amazing exhibit!

Founders of Balboa Park linger in Sefton Plaza.

Kid entrepreneurs showcase their creativity!

San Diego school students do amazing things!

What amazing things will you do?

An amazing cube, like real Space: full of stars!

One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen made its very first appearance this evening in San Diego. Mitchell Walker, who plays didgeridoo in Balboa Park and Seaport Village, has completed an epic project that began as a dream almost 40 years ago. He has officially completed The Great Stellarium Project!

Mitchell’s 30-inch Plexiglas cube which contains a three-dimensional star map–his amazing Stellarium–made its debut in Balboa Park near the Fleet Science Center. The Stellarium was admired by curious passersby, and by astronomy lovers who’d gathered for the monthly stargazing “Stars In The Park” event of the San Diego Astronomy Association.

Mitchell has an irrepressible smile and a great sense of humor. One of his biggest passions is science fiction–Star Trek in particular. For much of his life he’s had a strong fascination with astronomy.

Years ago, Mitchell’s dream to recreate a part of our galaxy was inspired by the star map that figures in the film The UFO Incident. His idea was to design a transparent cube that holds an accurate portrayal of the stars nearest to our sun. His first attempt to invent such a marvel resulted in a cube that was 15 inches square. He still uses that smaller cube as a night light.

The impressive 30-inch Stellarium that debuted today displays our “stellar neighborhood” within 50 light years of Sol, the sun. Our tiny corner of the galaxy took Mitchell a little over a year to build. The 166 stars are obviously not to scale, but the distances between them and their relative positions around Sol are accurate. Each tiny star, attached to a filament that is almost invisible, shines with fluorescent paint in the color that matches its spectral classification. In darkness, under the cube’s black light, the effect is extraordinary.

After the sun set this evening, I sat on a nearby park bench and watched as people stopped to peer into the dreamlike Stellarium. Some pressed a button at the cube’s base to listen to Mitchell’s recorded audio narration.

Clouds unfortunately concealed the night sky. For a magical moment or two, members of the San Diego Astronomy Association abandoned their nearby telescopes and joined their friend Mitchell Walker, to gaze into a wondrous cube full of stars.

Please visit Mitchell’s web page that describes his Stellarium here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos aboard Peruvian Navy tall ship BAP Unión!

Many cool sights await visitors who come aboard Peruvian Navy training ship BAP Unión.
Many cool sights await visitors who come aboard Peruvian Navy training ship BAP Unión.

This morning I stepped aboard an amazing ship. The enormous Peruvian tall ship BAP Unión visited San Diego for the weekend!

The BAP Unión is a beautiful sailing vessel that is used to train cadets in the Peruvian Navy. The 378 foot, four-masted barque also operates as a floating goodwill ambassador, uniquely representing the nation of Peru.

San Diego is the first stop of BAP Unión’s first ever tour of the West Coast!

I took photographs of the tall ship from Broadway Pier late Thursday. Today I took the opportunity to go aboard and walk around the deck on a self-guided tour.

Please read the photo captions for more interesting information. Click the signs and they will enlarge for easy reading.

Four-masted barque BAP Unión docked at Broadway Pier in San Diego, during its 2019 tour of the West Coast.
Four-masted barque BAP Unión docked at Broadway Pier in San Diego, during its 2019 tour of the West Coast.
People explore the impressive tall ship during its visit to San Diego's Embarcadero.
People explore the impressive tall ship during its visit to San Diego’s Embarcadero.
Sign explains the BAP Unión's figurehead, which represents emperor Túpac Inca Yupanqui, who led a fleet of rafts on a voyage of exploration across the Pacific Ocean.
Sign explains the BAP Unión’s figurehead, which represents emperor Túpac Inca Yupanqui, who led a fleet of rafts on a voyage of exploration across the Pacific Ocean.
The bronze figurehead was sculpted by Peruvian artist Pilar Martínez.
The bronze figurehead was sculpted by Peruvian artist Pilar Martínez.
A gangway welcomes curious visitors during a sunny San Diego weekend.
A gangway welcomes curious visitors during a sunny San Diego weekend.
Bienvenidos a bordo al BAP "Unión"
Bienvenidos a bordo al B.A.P. “Unión”
On the main deck of BAP Unión, near the aft mainmast and its many ropes.
On the main deck of BAP Unión, near the aft mainmast and its many working ropes.
The ship's shining bell.
The ship’s shining bell.
Tilting my head upward to gaze at the tall ship's masts, yards and rigging.
Tilting my head upward to gaze at the tall ship’s masts, yards and rigging.
I've turned about to face the ship's stern. I see plaques, the ship's wheel and the ship's bridge.
I’ve turned about to face the ship’s stern. I see plaques, the ship’s wheel and the bridge.
Sign explains Peru's coat of arms, a national symbol used by the nation's armed forces.
Sign explains Peru’s coat of arms, a national symbol used by the country’s armed forces.
Plaque commemorates the launching of BAP Unión on December 22, 2014. The ship was commissioned on January 27, 2016. At the time of her commissioning, she was the largest sailing ship in Latin America.
Plaque commemorates the launching of BAP Unión on December 22, 2014. The ship was commissioned on January 27, 2016. At the time of her commissioning, she was the largest sailing ship in Latin America.
Artistic metalwork can be found all over the perfectly maintained tall ship, including these medallion-like designs.
Artistic metalwork can be found all over the perfectly maintained tall ship, including these medallion-like designs.
Shining plaques in the wooden deck at the foot of some steps.
Shining plaques in the wooden deck at the foot of some steps.
Climbing up the steps that lead to an area near the ship's bridge.
Climbing up the steps that lead to an area near the ship’s bridge.
Engraved at the edge of each step is BUQUE ESCUELA UNION.
Engraved at the edge of each step is BUQUE ESCUELA UNION.
Looking back down at the wooden deck around the aft mainmast.
Looking back down at the wooden deck around the aft mainmast.
A visitor aboard the BAP Unión checks out the impressive ship's wheel.
A visitor aboard the BAP Unión checks out the impressive ship’s wheel.
The shining words BUQUE ESCUELA A VELA UNION.
The words BUQUE ESCUELA A VELA UNION.
A sign provides a description of the ship's wheel.
A sign provides a description of the ship’s wheel.
Looking forward along the ship. Many downtown San Diego buildings rise in the background.
Looking forward across the amazing ship. Many downtown San Diego buildings rise in the background.
Mounted above the ship's bridge is Peru's proud coat of arms.
Mounted above the ship’s bridge is Peru’s coat of arms.
Walking past the bridge toward the stern of BAP Unión.
Walking past the bridge toward the stern of BAP Unión.
Visitors pose for a photo at a second wheel at the rear of the enormous tall ship.
Visitors pose for a photo at a second wheel at the rear of the large tall ship.
Looking straight up into the San Diego sky at the billowing flag of Peru.
Looking straight up into the San Diego sky at the billowing flag of Peru.
Starting forward, about to pass the ship's bridge.
Starting forward, about to pass the ship’s bridge.
Sign explains the bridge, where modern navigation and steering controls are located. The ship's watch is constant under the command of an officer.
Sign explains the bridge, where modern navigation and steering controls are located, and where naval cadets train. The ship’s watch is constant under the command of an officer.
About to descend steps, as I continue forward along the port side of the tall ship.
About to descend steps, as I continue forward along the port side of the ship.
A crew member on deck tends to some ropes.
A crew member on deck tends to some ropes.
Another look upward before heading into an internal part of the ship.
Another look upward before heading into an internal part of the ship.
Inside a comfortable cabin, visitors enjoy looking at many cultural displays concerning Peru, including exquisite crafts and textiles.
Inside a spacious cabin, visitors enjoy looking at many cultural displays that concern Peru, including exquisite crafts and textiles.
A fantastic work of art represents Peruvian culture.
A fantastic work of art represents Peruvian culture.
A colorful Peruvian folk art figurine.
A colorful Peruvian folk art figurine.
An officer's cap, books, and more artwork on a shelf.
An officer’s cap with books and more artwork on a shelf.
A photo through a window into the ship's kitchen, where Peruvian dishes are prepared for the crew and foreign guests.
As the self-guided tour proceeded, I took a photo through a window into the ship’s kitchen. This is where Peruvian dishes are prepared for the crew and foreign guests.
Sign describes the kitchen of BAP Unión.
Sign describes the kitchen of BAP Unión.
I see food being prepared!
I see some food being prepared!
Back outside in sunlight on a more forward part of the main deck. Souvenirs and wares from Peru could be purchased by visitors.
Back outside in sunlight on a more forward part of the main deck. Souvenirs from Peru could be purchased by visitors.
Another flight of steps leads toward the ship's bow.
Another flight of steps leads toward the ship’s bow.
I couldn't stop looking up.
I couldn’t stop looking up.
Visitors learn a bit about the tall ship's operation, including how an anchor is lowered.
Visitors learn a bit about the tall ship’s operation, including how an anchor is lowered.
An anchor chain, winch and other equipment on the deck near BAP Unión's bow.
An anchor chain, winch and other equipment operated by naval cadets near BAP Unión’s bow.
Looking backward across the upper deck of the picturesque Peruvian tall ship.
Looking back across the upper deck of the picturesque Peruvian tall ship.
One last sets of steps to descend before the self-guided tour ends.
One last sets of steps to descend before the self-guided tour ends.
The incredible Peruvian tall ship BAP Unión visits San Diego.
The incredible Peruvian tall ship BAP Unión visits San Diego.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

An amazing Peruvian tall ship visits San Diego!

The Peruvian Navy training ship BAP Unión is presently docked at San Diego’s Broadway Pier. I walked out onto the pier late today to check out the enormous, four-masted tall ship!

The 3-year-old BAP Unión is a 378 foot steel-hulled barque, with a crew that includes many Peruvian naval cadets. As young sailors learn about duty aboard an amazing sailing ship, the BAP Unión serves as a fine ambassador for the nation of Peru wherever it goes. The handsome bronze figurehead, which includes symbols from the Inca culture, was created by Peruvian sculptor Pilar Martinez Woodman.

Today the tall ship begins her very first tour of the West Coast, following earlier stops at San Juan, Miami, Mayport, Norfolk and Boston. The BAP Unión will be docked at San Diego’s Embarcadero through this weekend, and visitors can enjoy tours aboard the vessel with an admission ticket to the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

As I walked out on Broadway Pier, I took some cool photos!

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Cool photos of San Diego’s 2019 Busker Fest!

San Diego's own world-famous Murrugun the Mystic exhales a huge fireball during Seaport Village's 2019 Busker Fest!
San Diego’s own world-famous Murrugun the Mystic exhales a huge fireball during Seaport Village’s 2019 Busker Fest!

This is my fifth year blogging about Seaport Village’s annual busker festival. It’s so much fun, I try not to miss it!

This afternoon I randomly walked about Seaport Village, checking out the acts of great street performers from all around the United States and the world. I protected my camera from the wind and showers and took a whole bunch of photographs. Unfortunately, today’s attendance seemed reduced by the weather.

Tomorrow the sun is supposed to come out. Hopefully more people will then head to Seaport Village for this free weekend event!

The highlight for me was the two-act performance of San Diego’s own world-famous danger act and carnival sideshow performer Murrugun the Mystic! As I watched, I could plainly see he was enjoying himself!

Since I last blogged about Murrugun, he has appeared on even more TV shows. He has now been featured on AMC’s Freakshow, Cougar Town, CSI: New York, The Late Late Show with James Corden, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! He also holds multiple Guinness World Records for sword swallowing!

I spoke to him briefly after his show, and I learned he’s devising a hollow tube contraption that he will insert into his throat. From that tube he will explosively shoot flaming arrows! Wow! I can’t wait to see that!

Here come fun photos! Enjoy!

Even with the drizzly, breezy winter weather, people came out to Seaport Village on Saturday to watch some of the best street performers from around the world.
Even with the drizzly, breezy winter weather, people came out to Seaport Village on Saturday to watch some of the best street performers in the world.
Daniel Israel juggles while high atop a unicycle!
Daniel Israel juggles while high atop a unicycle!
Cate Flaherty is a professional circus acrobat. Her juggling and balancing performance was great!
Cate Flaherty is a professional circus acrobat with a big smile. Her juggling and balancing performance was great!
George Gilbert entertains people by the water. For a grand finale, he magically made a pineapple appear under his hat!
George Gilbert entertains people by the water. For a grand finale, he magically made a pineapple appear under his hat!
Nolan Webster included a lot of humor in his parlor magic show. That ball was actually attached to his nose! Cheater!
Nolan Webster included a lot of humor in his parlor magic show. That ball was actually attached to his nose! Cheater!
The audiences at the Busker Fest were all smiles.
The audiences at the Busker Fest were all smiles.
Kids seemed to have the best time while the buskers performed. Many adults were very shy.
Kids seemed to have the best time while the buskers performed. Many adults were very shy.
Murrugan the Mystic calls an audience together near Seaport Village's central fountain before beginning his amazing two part act!
Murrugun the Mystic calls an audience together near Seaport Village’s central fountain before beginning his amazing two-part act!
Murrugan's first act is a series of fantastic fire breathing and eating tricks, including shooting flames out of his mouth!
Murrugun’s first act is a series of fantastic fire breathing and eating tricks, including shooting flames out of his mouth! He performed to one side, out of the wind.
The second act was sword swallowing. Murrugan the Mystic is one of the very few true sword swallowers in the world.
The second act was sword swallowing. Murrugun the Mystic is one of very few true sword swallowers in the world.
That's a genuine, long and very sharp sword poised on Murrugun's tongue.
That’s a genuine, long and very sharp sword poised on Murrugun’s tongue.
Here we go!
Here we go!
When all the way in, the sword has penetrated between his heart and lungs and ends at the bottom of his stomach, just below the belly button!
When all the way in, the sword has penetrated between his heart and lungs and ends at the bottom of his stomach, just below the belly button!
Next comes a sword sandwich--six swords carefully aligned together. Over the decades, a scary number of performers have died doing this dangerous sword swallowing trick.
Next comes a sword sandwich–six swords carefully aligned together. Over the decades, a scary number of performers have died doing this dangerous sword swallowing trick. Murrugun himself was once seriously injured.
That's a lot of sharp steel to swallow!
That’s a lot of sharp steel to swallow!
In go six genuine swords!
In go six genuine swords!
One of the most amazing human spectacles you're likely to ever witness!
One of the most amazing human spectacles you’re likely to ever witness!
Back near the water, Jonathan Strange was doing ring linking magic with an assistant from the audience.
Back near the water, Jonathan Strange was doing some mystifying ring linking magic with an assistant chosen from the audience.
Molly Keczan includes lasso rope tricks in her fun The Farmer's Daughter Show.
Molly Keczan includes lasso rope tricks in her fun The Farmer’s Daughter Show.
The Farmer's Daughter keeps balance as she walks along the top of glass milk bottles--with one good eye! A wildly successful show, in spite of her contact lens difficulty!
The Farmer’s Daughter keeps balance as she walks along the top of glass milk bottles–with one good eye! A wildly successful show, in spite of her contact lens difficulty!
While walking around I spotted Martika Daniels setting up for her act with a big smile.
While walking around I spotted Martika Daniels setting up for her act with a big smile.
Martika's cool show included being stood upon while lying on a bed of nails!
Martika’s amazing show included being stood upon while lying on a bed of nails!
Ouch! Martika explained that stunts like this make some of life's difficulties seem small by comparison. Her show was super positive and inspirational!
Ouch! Martika explained that stunts like this make some of life’s difficulties seem small by comparison. Her show was super positive and inspirational!
Another awesome sword swallowing act!
Another awesome sword swallowing act!
Buskers and audience members all seemed to have a good time, even if the San Diego weather didn't cooperate today!
Buskers and audience members all seemed to have a great time, even if the San Diego weather didn’t cooperate today!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Amazing vistas atop Mount Soledad.

This morning I drove to Mount Soledad. A new winter storm is on the way, and the clouds are more dramatic than usual.

Breathtaking vistas open up at the summit of Mount Soledad. Standing beside the cross of Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, I turned slowly about and took it all in.

To the north: La Jolla, Del Mar and the Pacific Ocean. To the northeast: University City. To the east and southeast: the distant foothills and mountains of East County. To the hazy south: tiny downtown, Mission Bay and Point Loma.

In every direction: amazing beauty!

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Donald Duck comes to life at Comic-Con Museum!

Patrick Block draws the face of Donald Duck during the Creating a Comics Story event at the future home of the Comic-Con Museum.
Patrick Block, long-time Disney comics artist, draws the famous face of Donald Duck. A beloved character comes to life during the Creating a Comics Story event at the future home of the Comic-Con Museum.

This afternoon I attended one of the coolest events EVER!

I and other spellbound people sat in the auditorium of the future Comic-Con Museum, watching as veteran Disney comics artists Patrick and Shelley Block brought Donald Duck to life! With the help of the audience, right before our eyes, they created an absolutely original, hilarious and brilliant comic book story! The penciled five page story was about Donald Duck working as janitor at a comic book convention, and much of the story’s essential plot came spontaneously from the audience!

It was pure magic. Patrick sketched with practiced ease while sharing his thought process, and Shelley Block contributed humorous banter and brilliant inspiration.  From the tip of a number 7 mechanical pencil, Donald Duck emerged into our world–reminding readers that much in life is inherently funny, and that a cartoon about a zany “everyperson” duck can reinforce a sense of our own humanity.

During the event all sorts of questions were asked by the smart audience, and I wish I had taken notes. But the entire experience was simply too mesmerizing.

If this is a preview of coming events at the Comic-Con Museum, which we learned is slated to open in May of 2021, it’s going to be one of the most amazing museums in the world. That’s no exaggeration.

I can’t wait!

Art and writing team Patrick and Shelly Block, Disney comics creators for 26 years, talk about the creative process.
Art and writing team Patrick and Shelly Block, Disney comics creators for 26 years, talk about the creative process.
Three pages of the five page Donald Duck comic are nearly done. Through an odd series of events, Donald has become janitor at a comic book convention!
Three pages of the five page Donald Duck comic are nearly done. Through an odd series of funny events, Donald has become janitor at a comic book convention!
Donald Duck wants to see the masquerade ball, and after many gags and catastrophes ends up winning it!
Donald Duck wants to see the masquerade ball, and after many gags and catastrophes ends up winning it!
Original artwork created by Patrick and Shelly Block for the Comic-Con Museum. Don't forget us funny animal comics!
Original Donald Duck artwork created by Patrick and Shelly Block for the Comic-Con Museum. Don’t forget us funny animal comics!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!