Funny cats, coffee, books and a teacup!

This black cat likes drinking lattes.
This black cat likes drinking lattes.

Check out these photos of fun street art on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights. A small electrical box just east of the Normal Heights landmark sign is painted with three funny cats.

They are drinking coffee, reading books, or sitting in a teacup!

Coffee. Cats. Books. Sometimes the answers to life's troubles are quite simple.
Coffee. Cats. Books. Sometimes the answers to life’s troubles are quite simple.
Cat in armchair reads Of Mice and Men. On the shelves are Cat's Cradle, The Cat in the Hat, Puss in Boots, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof...
Cat in a comfy armchair reads Of Mice and Men. Books on the nearby shelves include Cat’s Cradle, The Cat in the Hat, Puss in Boots, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof…
This kitten likes oolong tea.
This kitten in a teacup must like oolong tea!

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!

Books fly in a children’s reading mural!

Favorite fairy tale and storybook characters come to life in a faded mural by the Linda Vista Library.
Favorite fairy tale and storybook characters live in a mural by the Linda Vista Library.

A mural painted on a building wall next to the Linda Vista Branch of the San Diego Public Library promotes children’s reading. Books take wing and fly!

Small scenes from fairy tales and fables appear in a colorful landscape surrounding a castle. The mural is home to The Tortoise and the Hare, Humpty Dumpty, Puss in Boots, the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, Mother Goose, the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and other classic storybook characters.

Murals fade, but worlds painted by human imagination do not.

Flights of imagination. Books take wing.
Flights of imagination. Timeless stories take wing.
Once upon a time there were magic books that could fly. Their goal was to teach children.
Once upon a time there were magic books that could fly. Their goal was to teach children.

Soar to new heights. Read.
Soar to new heights. Read.

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!

I also write fiction. Like fairy tales, my short stories concern life. You can read them at my website Short Stories by Richard.

Behind the scenes look at the City Archives!

Old books contain important records in the cold vault of the San Diego City Clerk's Archives Center.
Stacks of old books contain important records in the cold vault of the San Diego City Clerk’s Archives Center.

Yesterday I stepped into City Hall to enjoy an educational event open to the public during the City Clerk’s 3rd Annual Archives Month. When I entered the Archives Center in the basement of the San Diego City Administration Building, I didn’t really know what I might experience.

I saw and learned more from this behind the scenes tour than I expected!

I and a few others were led into a small lecture room and introduced to City of San Diego Archivist Jerry Handfield. He’s an energetic historian and professional archivist who in the past has served as State Archivist for both Indiana and Washington.

Jerry Handfield presented an overview of his job and explained the critical importance of maintaining genuine, reliable, trustworthy public records.

We learned that good governance depends on maintaining accurate records. Trustworthy public records protect the rights of citizens and promotes public trust in government. A healthy democracy relies on trust in its institutions.

Archives play such an important role that in 1850, when San Diego was a tiny town with very limited resources, the city’s newly created common council directed that a very expensive iron safe be appropriated to the clerk for the safekeeping of city records.

As an archivist, Jerry Handfield provided a list of reasons why records matter: they protect life (medical records), protect the public from disasters (maps and floor plans), protect property rights (deeds), and include all sorts of other critical information. He mentioned insurance and bank records, marriage licenses, work licenses and business records.

We learned that for an archivist preservation is a constant war. It’s a war against time, negligence, disasters like floods and mold, decay caused by acids in paper, and other often unpredictable factors. Some media that store records, such as floppy disks and magnetic tape, degrade over time, become corrupted or technologically obsolete.

Some of the City Archive’s older paper documents are given a special chemical treatment to help preserve them. Many are placed in acid-free sleeves or boxes and placed in a temperature and humidity controlled cold vault.

The City Clerk Archives is continuously working to digitize its many hard copy records–to preserve them for all time and make them readily available to the public via the internet. But there remain thousands upon thousands of documents and photos to be scanned and classified.

After the lecture we stepped into the cold vault and saw shelves stacked high with archival material. Then we stepped into a room where photos and negatives are scanned and digitized.

Ranged all around the main room of the Archives Center are additional interesting displays. I saw many Mayoral Artifacts that were presented as gifts to the city from all over the globe. Among these are an assortment of beautiful decorative plates.

Enough of my inadequate written description. Let’s look at a few photos and you’ll get a better idea of what I experienced!

San Diego City Archivist Jerry Handfield describes the importance of accurately recording and carefully preserving critical information.
San Diego City Archivist Jerry Handfield describes the importance of accurately recording and carefully preserving critical information.
Stacks of special boxes containing official records fill the temperature and humidity controlled cold vault at the City Archives.
Stacks of boxes containing official records fill the temperature and humidity controlled cold vault at the City Archives.
Archivist Jerry Handfield shows visitors shelves of old canvas and leather-bound books, including some that contain City Council Resolutions.
Archivist Jerry Handfield shows visitors shelves of old canvas and leather-bound books, including many that contain past City Council Resolutions.
In one room at the Archives Center, old photographs are scanned and categorized in order to be digitized for easy public access.
In one room at the Archives Center, old photographs are scanned and categorized by trained volunteers, in order to be digitized for easy public access.
Many cool historical photos of San Diego cover the walls!
Many cool historical photos of San Diego cover the walls of this room!
Man and Children in Halloween costumes, circa 1960.
Man and Children in Halloween costumes, circa 1960.
First Official Map of San Diego, June 1867.
First Official Map of San Diego, June 1867.
A treasure trove of San Diego history at one's fingertips!
A treasure trove of San Diego history at one’s fingertips!
Mayoral artifacts displayed at the San Diego City Clerk's Archives Center include many gifts from around the world.
Mayoral artifacts displayed in the main room of the San Diego City Clerk’s Archives Center include gifts from other cities and people around the world.
Armetale plate with Seal of City of San Diego.
Armetale plate with Seal of City of San Diego.
Paper mache oni mask from Mizusawa, Japan.
Paper mache oni mask from Mizusawa, Japan.
Filner Mayoral Artifact RF-4. Ballast Point Whaling Station, San Diego, California (1820's).
Filner Mayoral Artifact RF-4. Ballast Point Whaling Station, San Diego, California (1820’s).
While walking about the City Archives I spied the cover of an Official Views San Diego Panama-California Exposition souvenir book.
While walking about the main room of the City Archives I spied this cover of an Official Views San Diego Panama-California Exposition souvenir book.
Boxes upon boxes hold tons of paper records in the basement of City Hall!
Boxes upon boxes hold tons of paper records in the basement of City Hall!

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 might say this blog is a sort of digital archive. 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!

Readers, writers gather for Festival of Books!

Those who love to read meet those who love to write at the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!
Those who love to read meet those who love to write at the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!

This morning I headed to Liberty Station in Point Loma to enjoy the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!

I was excited to see that a positively enormous crowd had gathered to celebrate reading and writing! I didn’t attend any of the panels, but I did walk around to check out fascinating displays by local authors, publishers, cultural institutions and organizations that promote literacy. I spoke to many of the writers and was inspired by their creative energy and optimism!

These days the written word might be read on phones more frequently than on paper, but those words are just as vital as ever.

What would life be without words?

Words connect people.

Words define the world to our minds.

Words are how we create meaning.

The big San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books was held at Liberty Station in Point Loma.
The big San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books was held at beautiful Liberty Station in Point Loma.
Many local and regional authors showcased their books at the festival.
Many local and regional authors showcased their books at the festival.
Readers could meet friendly authors, get a signed copy, and make new discoveries!
Readers could meet friendly authors, get a signed copy, and make new discoveries!
Looks like Frida Kahlo is into that book.
Looks like Frida Kahlo is into that book.
Books as decor??? READ THEM, you silly people!
Books as decor? READ THEM, you silly people!
Write Out Loud, who produces TwainFest and other cool literary events, smiled for my camera! PoeFest in Old Town's spooky-at-night Adobe Chapel is coming in October.
Write Out Loud, who produces TwainFest and other cool literary events, smiled for my camera! PoeFest in Old Town’s spooky-at-night Adobe Chapel is coming in October!
I read a few days ago that the La Jolla Playhouse's musical Diana is heading to Broadway. Thumbs up!
I read a few days ago that the La Jolla Playhouse’s musical Diana is heading to Broadway. Thumbs up!
These cool folks representing the San Diego Repertory Theatre told me their digs at Horton Plaza are getting an upgrade!
These cool folks representing the San Diego Repertory Theatre told me their digs at Horton Plaza are getting an upgrade!
An exciting new era is beginning at the San Diego Symphony. Their new conductor is internationally acclaimed Rafael Payare!
An exciting new era is beginning at the San Diego Symphony. Their new conductor is internationally acclaimed Rafael Payare!
I know why these folks are smiling. Comedian Steve Martin's funny farce, The Underpants, is now playing at the Old Globe Theatre!
I know why these folks are smiling. Comedian Steve Martin’s funny farce, The Underpants, is now playing at the Old Globe Theatre!
Letras Sin Fronteras had their bookmobile at the festival.
Letras Sin Fronteras had their cool bookmobile at the festival.
The state of Maine asked Coronado author Tamara Merrill to write a book about prejudice in that region's past. It's titled Shadows in Our Bones.
The state of Maine asked Coronado author Tamara Merrill to write a book about prejudice in that region’s past. It’s titled Shadows in Our Bones.
I remember seeing Sheri Fink with her fun Whimsical World children's books during my walks near Seaport Village!
I remember seeing Sheri Fink with her fun Whimsical World children’s books during my walks near Seaport Village!
I love the cover of The Happy Little Garbage Truck by author Josan Wright Callender!
I love the cover of The Happy Little Garbage Truck by author Josan Wright Callender!
I caught an energetic performance by San Diego Taiko at the festival stage.
I caught an energetic performance by San Diego Taiko at the festival stage.
I also enjoyed seeing some cool Star Wars cosplay!
I also enjoyed seeing some awesome Star Wars cosplay!
First 5 San Diego was promoting parents reading to their children at a very young age.
First 5 San Diego was promoting parents reading to their children at a very young age.
Some fun, easy books that a young kid would surely love!
Some fun, easy books that any young kid would surely love!
San Diego Writers, Ink had a table at the Festival of Books. They nurture local writers with classes, groups, workshops and readings!
San Diego Writers, Ink had a table at the Festival of Books. They nurture local writers with classes, groups, workshops and readings!
Author Jim Stevens said I couldn't read a few sentences from any page of his novel without laughing. I did . . . and I did!
Author Jim Stevens said I couldn’t read a few sentences from any page of this novel without laughing. I did . . . and I did!
San Diego Zoo Global Press has launched fun children's books about animals! I met author and illustrator of Periwinkle's Journey, Suzy Spafford, of Suzy's Zoo fame.
San Diego Zoo Global Press has launched fun children’s books about animals! I met author and illustrator of Periwinkle’s Journey, Suzy Spafford, of Suzy’s Zoo fame.
A penguin makes a journey...
A penguin makes a journey…
Anyone could piece together poems like mosaics at the Words To Go table.
Anyone could piece together poems like mosaics at the Words To Go table.
I learned UC San Diego Extension is building a new facility in downtown's East Village. Very cool!
I learned UC San Diego Extension is building a new facility in downtown’s East Village. Very cool!
Some fun kids art at their table!
Some colorful kids art at their table!
Local word lover Richard Lederer, the Wizard of Idiom, was showing his many books and silently correcting my grammar.
Local word lover Richard Lederer, the Wizard of Idiom, was showing his many books and silently correcting my grammar.
Mister is the true story of a chicken, inspired by a San Diego teacher!
Mister is the true story of a chicken, inspired by a San Diego teacher!
Eat. Sleep. Read.
Eat. Sleep. Read.
KPBS had a table display of this year's One Book, One San Diego titles.
KPBS had a table display of this year’s One Book, One San Diego titles.
Visitors to the festival could write the title of their favorite book on this big chalkboard.
Visitors to the festival could write the title of their favorite book on this big chalkboard.
The San Diego Public Library had a booth, plus a nearby bookstore at the festival.
The San Diego Public Library had a booth, plus a nearby bookstore at the festival.
Visitors could write suggestions for the San Diego Public Library. Ebooks appeared to be a popular desire.
Visitors could write suggestions for the San Diego Public Library. Ebooks appeared to be a popular desire.
The Union Tribune had a special exhibit concerning journalism. Truth is Always the Strongest Argument.
The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper had a special indoor exhibit concerning journalism. Truth is Always the Strongest Argument – Sophocles.
The Festival of Books is an amazing San Diego event where writers and readers meet and share a love for the written word!
The Festival of Books is an absolutely amazing San Diego event where writers and readers meet and share a love for the written word!

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!

Great writing, reading celebrated at TwainFest!

Giant puppets representing Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe roam Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during 2019 TwainFest!
Giant puppets representing Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe roam Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during 2019 TwainFest!

Today I enjoyed one of my very favorite San Diego events. I headed to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park for a celebration of great writing and reading at 2019 TwainFest!

Literature is the focus of this annual festival–the most famous 19th century literature and writers in particular. Produced by Write Out Loud, TwainFest features live readings, performances, period music and costumes, games, and a variety of fun activities for the entire family.

Kids not only develop an appreciation for classic books, but they experience the joy of creativity!

Here comes a tall Mark Twain puppet walking through Old Town San Diego!
Here comes a tall Mark Twain puppet walking through Old Town San Diego!
A noon parade circles the Old Town plaza during 2019 TwainFest, where great writers and reading are celebrated!
A noon parade circles the Old Town plaza during 2019 TwainFest, where great writers and reading are celebrated!
Many characters in 19th century period costume could be spotted at the annual event.
Many characters in 19th century period costume could be spotted at the annual event.
Musical entertainment on the main stage. Fiesta de Reyes presents TwainFest by Write Out Loud. Laughter, Levity and Literature.
Musical entertainment on the main stage. Fiesta de Reyes presents TwainFest by Write Out Loud. Laughter, Levity and Literature.
This sea captain might have been an acquaintance of Herman Melville. He has been joined by Lewis Carroll's Red Queen.
This salty Captain Swordfish might have been an acquaintance of Moby Dick author Herman Melville. He has been joined by Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen.
I met Walt Whitman, who told me this is his first time at TwainFest.
I met poet Walt Whitman, who told me this is his first time at TwainFest.
One of many fun games at TwainFest. Spinning the Wheel of Fiction, in order to solve a literary clue.
One of many fun games at TwainFest. Spinning the Wheel of Fiction, in order to solve a literary clue.
Characters and scenes from Mark Twain's stories could be colored, like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.
Characters and scenes from Mark Twain’s stories could be colored, like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.
Anyone could walk up, grab a marker, and help write several Never Ending Stories.
Anyone could walk up, grab a marker, and help write several Never Ending Stories.
A performance of a magical folk tale in the Japanese Kamishibai tradition.
A performance of a magical folk tale in the Japanese Kamishibai tradition.
Lively music from 19th century San Diego adds life to the cultural event.
Lively music from 19th century San Diego adds life to the cultural event.
Some fun musical accompaniment nearby.
Some fun musical accompaniment nearby.
Kids were learning how to play drums and the fife.
Kids were learning how to play drums and the fife.
The young and the young at heart could play Victorian era games on the grass, including wheelbarrow races, sack races, egg races and the game of graces.
The young and the young at heart could play Victorian era games on the grass, including wheelbarrow races, sack races, egg races and the game of graces.
A crazy wheelbarrow race is underway. It's hard not to fall out when you turn!
A crazy wheelbarrow race is underway. It’s hard not to fall out when your driver abruptly turns!
Visitors to TwainFest could learn how to make simple books by folding paper and applying fancy cover designs with a glue stick.
Visitors to TwainFest could learn how to make simple books by folding paper and applying fancy cover designs with a glue stick.
Of course, a literature themed event must include lots of classic books.
Of course, a literature themed event must include lots of classic books.
Shelves full of books!
Shelves full of books!
Some history reenactors had set up a Civil War era field encampment.
Some history reenactors had set up a Civil War era field encampment.
Union soldiers in uniform appear at attention.
Union soldiers in uniform appear at attention.
The nearby Headquarters Post Office contained more costumed participants.
The nearby Headquarters Post Office contained more costumed participants.
A working telegraph was on display.
A working telegraph was on display.
While walking about, I noticed many smiling volunteers handing out TwainFest programs.
While walking about, I noticed many smiling people handing out TwainFest programs. (I’m sure Write Out Loud always welcomes new volunteers.)
Stories were being told at the Casa de Estudillo about immigrants, the descendants of early California, and the road to women's suffrage.
Stories were being told at the Casa de Estudillo about immigrants, the descendants of early California, and the road to women’s suffrage.
At the Old Town Courthouse Museum, people could take a literacy test to see whether they could vote in the election of 1872.
At the Old Town Courthouse Museum, people could take a literacy test to see whether they could vote in the election of 1872.
Political illustrations and cartoons from print over a century ago.
Political illustrations and cartoons from print over a century ago.
Young people were enjoying a Mad Hatter tea party, with Alice and other Wonderland characters!
Young people were enjoying a Mad Hatter tea party, with Alice and other Wonderland characters!
It appeared that some people had already painted Tom Sawyer's fence with whitewash!
It appeared that some people had already painted Tom Sawyer’s fence with whitewash!
Is that the Red Queen or the Queen of Hearts? I get them confused.
Is that the Red Queen or the Queen of Hearts? I get them confused.
Don't be an idiom. (You probably don't want to be an oxymoron either.)
Don’t be an idiom. (You probably don’t want to be an oxymoron either.)
More dramatic words were being read inside Old Town's one room Mason Street Schoolhouse. I recognized funny passages from Tom Sawyer.
More dramatic words were being read inside Old Town’s one room Mason Street Schoolhouse. I recognized those funny wart-cure passages from Tom Sawyer.
A puppet show delights kids in Old Town's plaza.
A puppet show delights kids in Old Town’s plaza.
The smiles go on and on during TwainFest...
The smiles and good times live on and on during TwainFest…
...thanks in part to this amiable if somewhat satirical fellow.
…thanks in part to this amiable if somewhat satirical fellow.

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!

Wizard of Oz street art in Coronado!

The Good Witch of the North and The Wicked Witch of the West meet on the yellow brick road, as a balloon flies away in Oz.
The Good Witch of the North and The Wicked Witch of the West meet on the yellow brick road, as a balloon flies away in Oz.

One of the utility boxes painted a few years back for the Art Outside the Box project in Coronado depicts scenes and characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other novels in the popular Oz series by L. Frank Baum.

The happy artwork, which greets those walking down the Orange Avenue sidewalk near the Coronado Library, was painted by local students Eva B., Audrey S., and Sienna F.

L. Frank Baum and Coronado are closely related. The author spent many winters in a house near the famous Hotel del Coronado, whose fantastic architecture is said to be the inspiration for his Emerald City.

You can learn more and see photos of his winter house by clicking here!

Walking past Wizard of Oz street art in Coronado. The title of this public art is Fairy Tale.
Walking past Wizard of Oz street art in Coronado. The title of this public art is Fairy Tale.
Another side of the utility box depicting L. Frank Baum's wonderful land of Oz. The popular author often spent his winters writing in a house in Coronado.
Another side of the utility box depicting L. Frank Baum’s wonderful land of Oz. The popular author often spent his winters writing in a rented house in Coronado.
One of the magical creatures in Oz.
One of the magical creatures in Oz.
Dorothy walks along the yellow brick road as Art Outside the Box.
Dorothy walks along the yellow brick road. A fun work of Art Outside the Box.

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!

Walking up the Snake Path at UCSD.

If you dare, walk with me up the Snake Path at UCSD. We will proceed from innocence to knowledge.

We’ll begin at a spot near the Jacobs School of Engineering, then head west up a hill toward the amazing Geisel Library. Our path is the winding 560-foot length of a scaly snake.

Snake Path, part of the UC San Diego Stuart Collection, was created by Alexis Smith in 1992. The scales of the snake are hexagonal pieces of colored slate.

We’ll pass a monumental granite book, none other than Milton’s Paradise Lost. On the cover is engraved: “And wilt thou not be loathe to leave this Paradise, but shalt possess a Paradise within thee, happier far.”

We’ll linger at a bench in a small Garden of Eden. Written on the bench are Thomas Gray’s words: “Yet ah why should they know their fate/When sorrow never comes too late/And happiness too swiftly flies/Thought would destroy their Paradise/No more, where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise.”

Toward innocence or knowledge. Which direction is best?

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!