A short story about a mysterious artifact.

Have you ever visited a museum and viewed an historical object that seems timeless? An artifact that might still belong in the hands of the living?

I’ve written a short story based on my own strange experiences. It has a surprise ending. It’s titled The Recovered Artifact.

To read it, click here!

I would like to express gratitude to those teachers who’ve introduced my story One Thousand Likes to students recently using Google Classroom. I observe my website stats and am stunned. I never imagined such a small story would be read by so many. It’s a writer’s wildest dream come true!

Now it’s time to start brainstorming again!

There are many more places to walk in San Diego and many more photographs to take. Unexpected new adventures await! Thanks for coming along!

Wishing all my readers a Happy New Year!

Richard

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.

Amazing life-size cardboard superhero sculptures!

Wow!

Did you step inside the Comic-Con Museum during 2019 December Nights? If you did, you saw an exhibit that was absolutely amazing!

Young artists Connor and Bauer Lee have created fantastic life-size cardboard sculptures of popular Marvel and DC superheroes, plus various Pixar and Star Wars movie characters!

I believe I recognized: Groot, Black Manta holding a mace, a tiny X-wing starfighter, Wall-E, a gigantic Hulkbuster armor (under construction), Thor’s Stormbreaker hammer, Iron Man, C-3PO, R2-D2, Baby Groot, Wonder Woman, plus other fantastic creations including several superhero masks.

The two brothers have been building these cardboard models for many years. I spoke to Connor briefly and he explained that they select an image of a popular character, blow it up, then begin to craft the sculpture based on that initial design. I asked how long it might take to finish the enormous, extremely complex Hulkbuster armor sculpture you see in my photos, and he said about a year.

According to the Cardboard Superheroes website: We hold free workshops for kids in an effort to promote the arts for youth as we’ve see funding for the arts being cut in school and are working to provide an alternative that is free and fun for kids.

That’s definitely a super cool and inspirational project! I’m sure young students everywhere would love to be creative and make their favorite characters with simple cardboard!

I hope local schools take advantage of what appears to be an awesome opportunity. For more info, you can contact Cardboard Superheroes at their website 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!

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!

Free activities and help for San Diego seniors!

Look what I discovered today!

I was walking around Balboa Park, looking at an arts and crafts sale in the Casa del Prado courtyard, when I discovered some great information. If you’re in San Diego and at least 55 years old (or if you know someone who is) there are lots of activities and services available for seniors, and many are absolutely free!

A friendly gentleman with the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department told me all about it. The program is called AgeWell Services. You can visit the AgeWell Services website by clicking here.

AgeWell Services offers art classes, senior art shows, needle crafts, poetry parties, dance lessons, talent shows, craft sales and much more. There’s free tea, coffee, water, bingo and social opportunities in the Balboa Park Senior Lounge, and easy walks around Balboa Park. There are laugh hours and free movies. There are informative talks. There is even free assistance for those 60 years or older with a variety of legal issues such as wills and renter disputes!

There are senior activities at many City of San Diego Recreation Centers!

AgeWell Services also has occasional day trips to interesting places like the J. Paul Getty Museum, Big Bear, Catalina Island and Julian. I noticed these special trips are offered for a very reasonable fee.

If you’d like to see all of these activities and services that are available to San Diego seniors, you should subscribe to a newsletter that comes out every few months called The Scroll. The Scroll is packed with all the latest information, including a Calendar of Events.

To join the mailing list for The Scroll, or to learn more about AgeWell Services, simply call 619-525-8247.

Volunteers are also needed! Call 619-236-6905 if you’d like to volunteer!

Fascination, reflection, and a Recovered Stream.

I was getting ready to board a trolley this evening at America Plaza when activity in a window caught my eye.

A person inside the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego gallery was working above a small planet amid water-like artwork!

The title of the coming exhibition is Oscar Romo: Recovered Stream. According to the museum website: This fall and winter MCASD will present multiple talks by distinguished scientists who will share their knowledge about climate change in conjunction with the participatory exhibition Oscar Romo: Recovered Stream.

With some searching on the internet, I learned environmentalist Oscar Romo is a professor at UC San Diego. His area of expertise is coastal and marine ecosystem conservation, using a natural systems design perspective. He has a special interest in the San Diego-Tijuana border region.

The upcoming talks should be very interesting!

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!

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!

City Clerk’s Archives Month: Hidden Treasures!

Original concrete figure from San Diego Museum of Art, 1915-1916.
Original concrete figure from San Diego Museum of Art, 1915-1916.

Today I walked to the City Administration Building in downtown San Diego to view a unique historical exhibit. During City Clerk’s Archives Month, from September 30th to October 31st, the public can step inside the lobby of City Hall and discover Hidden Treasures!

The San Diego City Clerk has partnered with the San Diego History Center to display a variety of documents and artifacts from our city’s past. In addition to this exhibit, Archives Month features many free educational events including lectures, movies and workshops.

(I attended one of the lectures today, and took a tour behind the scenes in the City Administration Building’s basement, where the City Archives are safely preserved. I’ll be blogging about that awesome experience shortly!)

2019 Archives Month Lecture and Tour Schedule. (Click image to enlarge.)
Sign shows 2019 Archives Month Lecture and Tour Schedule. (Click photo to enlarge for easy reading.)
City Clerk Archives Month in 2019 features an exhibit of Hidden Treasures in the lobby of the City Administration Building.
City Clerk Archives Month in 2019 features an exhibit of Hidden Treasures in the lobby of the City Administration Building.
Many historical documents in the exhibit provide fascinating glimpses into San Diego's past.
Many historical documents in the exhibit provide fascinating glimpses into San Diego’s past. (I was pleased to see a Dog Tax Receipt featuring San Diego’s famous town dog, Bum.)
Historical documents on display includes an announcement for the Presidio Hill Park dedication in 1929.
Documents on display include an announcement for the Presidio Hill Park dedication in 1929. Pictured is the Junípero Serra Museum, original home of the San Diego Historical Society.
A collection of old City Clerk seal embossers.
A collection of old City Clerk seal embossers.
Posters describe 18th century San Diego and Presidio Excavation Artifacts from 1965.
Posters describe life in 18th century San Diego. Nearby are Presidio Excavation Artifacts from 1965.
These fragments from an olive jar might date as far back as 1769.
These fragments from an olive jar might date as far back as 1769.
The exhibit includes fragments of bottles, jars, bowls and plates from early San Diego.
The exhibit includes fragments of bottles, jars, bowls and plates from early San Diego.
Roof Tile, Presidio, 1869.
Roof tile from the Presidio.
Presidio artifacts include cannon and musket balls.
Presidio artifacts include cannon and musket balls.
Artifacts on display include the New Town Excavation Collection from the 1980s.
Other artifacts on display include the New Town Excavation Collection from the 1980s.
New Town artifacts include pistol fragments, 1850-1870.
New Town artifacts include pistol fragments, 1850-1870.
Other early artifacts from New Town include a broken bottle, ceramic wire insulators and a clay effigy.
Other artifacts from 19th century New Town include a broken bottle, ceramic wire insulators and a clay effigy.

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!