Mark Twain lives at Old Town’s TwainFest!

Here comes Mark Twain during Old Town San Diego's literary TwainFest!
Here comes Mark Twain during Old Town San Diego’s literary TwainFest!

One of my favorite San Diego events of all time took place today in historic Old Town!

TwainFest is an amazing annual festival celebrating Mark Twain and other famous authors from the 19th century. While there seems to be an emphasis on American and English novelists, I saw homages to writers, poets and storytellers from around the world. Scenes from American and California history also appear in several of the exhibits. Which makes sense, because Old Town is a history-filled park recreating the earliest days of San Diego!

To get an idea of what TwainFest is about, enjoy a quick look at these fun pics! And be sure to attend next year, if you can!

TwainFest is part of Stagecoach Days at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Event is part of Stagecoach Days at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
And here comes a towering puppet of American author Edgar Allan Poe!
And here comes a towering puppet of American author Edgar Allan Poe!
Lots of entertainment included a stage with music and various contests.
Lots of entertainment included a stage with music and various contests.
Music included those familiar old folk songs that had everyone clapping.
Music included those familiar old folk songs that had everyone clapping.
Costumed participants were roaming about the central plaza of historic Old Town.
Costumed participants roaming about the central plaza of historic Old Town.
Families enjoyed many activities including games.
Families enjoyed many activities including games.
Excited kids blast off across the grass in an old-fashioned sack race!
Excited kids blast off across the grass in an old-fashioned sack race!
Kids of all ages enjoyed many unique literature-themed games and activities.
Kids of all ages enjoyed many unique literature-themed games and activities.
The TwainFest Wheel of Fiction featured many famous writers.
The TwainFest Wheel of Fiction featured many famous writers.
Booth inspired by Lewis Carroll had me making up a silly word!
Booth inspired by Lewis Carroll had me making up a silly word!
Never-ending stories had visitors adding their imaginative sentences.
Never-ending stories had visitors adding their imaginative sentences.
The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County readies to soar from a catapult!
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County ready to soar from catapult!
I wonder if Mark Twain imagined kids would replicate his famous short story!
I wonder if Mark Twain imagined kids would replicate his famous short story!
Children really enjoyed this guy's amazing flea circus!
Children really enjoyed this cool guy’s amazing flea circus!
A flea performer mounts the trapeze before the incredulous audience.
A flea performer mounts the trapeze before the incredulous audience.
Girl uses magnifying lenses to watch a flea take a swan dive from high platform.
Girl uses magnifying lenses to watch a flea take a swan dive from high platform.
The Quotation Machine rumbled before producing a quote.
The Quotation Machine rumbled before producing a quote.
Here come some horses around the Old Town San Diego square!
Here come some horses around the Old Town San Diego square!
The Marshall informed me that all was well.
The Marshall informed me that all was well.
Small audience in one shady corner enjoyed music and stories.
Small audience in one shady corner enjoyed music and stories.
The big Liar's Contest featured lots of tall tales and jaw-dropping whoppers.
The big Liar’s Contest featured lots of tall tales and jaw-dropping whoppers.
This guy is demonstrating the eloquent effects of literary potions.
This slick salesman is demonstrating the eloquent effects of literary potions.
Bottled Verne, Dickinson, Whitman, Bronte, Byron and more!
Bottled Verne, Dickinson, Whitman, Bronte, Byron and more!
Voters in election of 1872 must pass a literacy test!
Voters in presidential election of 1872 must pass a literacy test!
Of course, TwainFest had a bookstore with many classics of literature!
Of course, TwainFest had a bookstore with many classics of literature!
People could trade places with Henry David Thoreau.
People could trade places with Henry David Thoreau.
The guilty author of civil disobedience!
The obviously guilty author of civil disobedience!
Thoreau locks himself in with a brave visitor.
Thoreau locks himself in with a brave visitor.
It's the Daniel Webster Frog Toss!
It’s the Daniel Webster Frog Toss!
Carroll's Red Queen challenges all comers to flamingo croquet!
Carroll’s Red Queen challenges all comers to flamingo croquet!
Old Town event included the historic Mason Street School.
Old Town event included the historic Mason Street School.
Actors read poetry from Alice in Wonderland in one room schoolhouse.
Actors read poetry from Alice in Wonderland in one room schoolhouse.
Here come participants in the literary costume contest!
Here come participants in the fancy literary costume contest!
The spirit of Twain lives at this wonderful annual festival.
The spirit of Twain lives at this very wonderful annual festival.

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American heroes honored at Veterans Museum.

On steps of Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.
On steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.

Today a special event was held at Balboa Park’s Veterans Museum and Memorial Center. The Spirit of 1945 National Day of Remembrance honored American veterans who defended freedom around the globe during World War II.

The Spirit of ’45 is an annual event held throughout the United States in many cities. It marks the anniversary of V-J Day, the day the Japanese finally surrendered and World War II ended. The special event has become increasingly important, as thousands of heroes from The Greatest Generation now pass away every year.

Many San Diego dignitaries attended today’s ceremony, including an ex-mayor, city council member, district attorney, police chief, plus some very high-ranking military officers. But in my mind, the day was all about ordinary Americans who personally sacrificed to do an extremely difficult and very important thing.

Several of these heroes recalled in short speeches what it was like to hear the news that the war had ended. You could hear the emotion in their voices, almost 70 years later.

After the ceremony, veterans told their personal stories inside the museum, so that memories will continue of those times and their deeds.

Spirit of 1945 National Day of Remembrance was held near museum.
Spirit of 1945 National Day of Remembrance was held near the museum.
Memorial for combat wounded veterans is one of nearby monuments.
Memorial for combat wounded veterans is one of the nearby monuments.
Color guard poses for me while they wait for event to officially begin.
Color guard poses for me while they wait for the event to officially begin.
World War II veteran helped into museum side door.
World War II veteran helped by serviceman into museum side door.
Tents line walkway where Spirit of 1945 event took place today.
Tents line walkway where Spirit of 1945 event took place today.
Girl Scouts help to check in the honored veterans.
Girl Scouts help to check in the honored veterans.
Over a hundred vets were in attendance, remembering the war's end.
Over a hundred vets were in attendance, remembering the war’s end.
Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial had a display.
Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial had a display.
Filipino-American Military Officers Association Tent.
Filipino-American Military Officers Association tent.
Clowns and face painters were there to entertain kids.
Clowns and face painters were there to entertain families with kids.
Duty Honor Country is at the center of a small circular plaza.
Duty Honor Country written at the center of a small circular plaza.
And so are some dancers enjoying the nearby band playing swing music!
Dancers enjoy the nearby band playing swing music!
Now it seems everybody's dancing!
Now it seems everybody’s dancing!
Here are the musicians. Big band music was playing from the 1940s era.
Here are the musicians. Big band music was playing from the 1940s era.
B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II rises above a nearby fountain.
B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II rises above a nearby fountain.
Now I'm standing in back area where chairs were under shady trees.
Now I’m standing in back area where chairs were under shady trees.
Nearby, guys in vintage military uniforms look at some historical images.
Nearby, guys in vintage military uniforms look at some historical images.
Kids check out a tent and various items carried by soldiers decades ago.
Kids check out a tent and various items carried by soldiers decades ago.
Many were wearing clothing and uniforms common during World War II.
Many were wearing clothing and uniforms common during World War II.
Display on grass shows maps and articles from a battlefield.
Display on grass shows maps and articles from a battlefield.
Scattered items inside a command tent include old magazines.
Scattered items inside a command tent include old magazines.
One got a flavor of the experiences of the Greatest Generation.
One got a flavor of the difficult experiences of the Greatest Generation.
Here comes color guard, prior to National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.
Here comes color guard, prior to National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.
Veteran talks about Victory in the Pacific and how overjoyed the troops were.
Veteran talks about Victory in the Pacific and how overjoyed the troops were.
A generation of veterans listens as speakers honor their sacrifices for freedom.
A generation of veterans listens as speakers honor their sacrifices for freedom.
Veterans salute a general who spoke about his pride for those who served.
Veterans salute a general who spoke about his pride for those who served.
A bust to be set near B-24 Liberator is unveiled by the artist and others.
A bust to be set near the B-24 Liberator sculpture is unveiled by local artist Richard Becker. To the far right stands retired Brigadier General Robert L Cardenas, USAF.
Bust of a brave World War II aviator.
Bust of Brigadier General Robert L Cardenas , an accomplished World War II aviator. The sculpture was created by renowned San Diego artist Richard Becker.
Everyone listens to happy memories of V-J Day on August 14, 1945.
Everyone listens to happy memories of V-J Day on August 14, 1945.
Crowd was twice the size that had been expected.
Crowd was twice the size that had been expected.
The ceremony ends and I take a pic over beautiful flowers.
The ceremony ends and I take a pic over beautiful flowers.
Sailors help the aging American heroes back to their cars.
Sailors ready to help aging American heroes back to their cars.

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Philippine Cultural Arts Festival in Balboa Park.

Folk dancers prepare to go on stage at today's cultural exhibition.
Folk dancers prepare to go on stage at today’s cultural exhibition.

I went for a typical weekend walk today. I just headed up to Balboa Park to see what I would see.

And I saw a lot!

My most interesting and enjoyable experience came as I strolled through the 30th Philippine Cultural Arts Festival put on by the Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts and Education Center. The big event was taking place on some grass at the south end of Balboa Park, near Park Boulevard.

Lots of folks were enjoying authentic Filipino food, browsing through many booths, and watching a variety of unique demonstrations and entertainment. Workshops were even available to the public, teaching anyone interested to speak Tagalog, play the Bandurria, Angklung and Kulintang, practice self-defense in the style of Arnis or Eskrima, and dance Tinikling, which is the very colorful national dance of the Philippines.

Here are some pics!

Scott Lost showcases his 2nd Shift comic books and other artwork!
Scott Lost showcases his 2nd Shift comic books and other artwork!

Local artist Scott Lost was showing and selling his work. He has self-published a cool independent comic book series called 2nd Shift. Check it out!

Funny t-shirts celebrate Filipino life at special event in Balboa Park.
Funny t-shirts celebrate Filipino life at special event in Balboa Park.
Guys with swords teach Philippine martial arts!
Guys with swords teach Philippine martial arts!

I wouldn’t mess with these dudes!

Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts and Education Center.
Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts and Education Center.
San Diegans from many different communities enjoyed the festival.
San Diegans from many different communities enjoyed the festival.
Folk dances from the Philippines were part of the cultural exhibition.
Folk dances from the Philippines were part of the cultural exhibition.
The audience enjoyed some colorful and joyful entertainment!
The audience enjoyed some colorful and joyful sights!

The festival is also going on Sunday (tomorrow) from 11-5. You’ll find it by the corner of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way. If you’re in San Diego, check it out!

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Festival celebrates Wizard of Oz in Coronado!

Festival celebrates Oz at Spreckels Park in Coronado.
Festival celebrates all things Oz at Spreckels Park in Coronado.

Today a special event was held in Coronado’s Spreckels Park celebrating The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum’s other popular children’s novels. The family festival was put on to coincide with the 50th annual Winkie Con, a convention for fans of the Land of Oz.

Winkie Con, now also called Oz Con International (I suspect to sound like Comic-Con International), is growing in popularity and will be held next week for the first time in San Diego. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the classic Wizard of Oz movie, starring Judy Garland!

I strolled through the happy, colorful Coronado festival and got a few pics. According to what I’ve read, there were all sorts of activities during the day, including a children’s parade.

I then sauntered across Orange Avenue and took several photos of the famous Wizard of Oz stained glass wall inside the Coronado Public Library!

Dorothy and a Wicked Witch walk along checking out some art.
Dorothy and a Wicked Witch walk along checking out some art.
Art along Orange Avenue sidewalk includes images from the Oz books.
Art along Orange Avenue sidewalk includes images from the Oz books.
Wizard of Oz characters were all over Spreckels Park today!
Wizard of Oz characters were all over Spreckels Park today!
People enjoy music at the bandstand on a warm summer day.
People enjoy music at the bandstand on a warm summer day.
Kids can follow the yellow brick road and spin a prize wheel.
Kids could follow the yellow brick road and spin a prize wheel.
These signs and balloons were all over the green grass.
These signs and balloons were all over the green grass.

I assume these were part of a fun kids activity.

The Cowardly Lion on stained glass at Coronado Public Library.
The Cowardly Lion on stained glass at Coronado Public Library.

Now I’m visiting the Coronado Library which is located across the street from Spreckels Park.

Author L. Frank Baum spent a good deal of time in Coronado, writing many of his novels in a rented house not far from the Hotel del Coronado.  (You might check out my earlier blog post on this subject!)  He modeled the Emerald City of Oz after the fantastic, world famous Victorian beach resort hotel.

Because of its strong connection with L. Frank Baum, Coronado today is often referred to as the Emerald City!

These fun Wizard of Oz glass panels in the library were created by artist Brenda Smith.

The Scarecrow greets library visitors.
The Scarecrow greets two crows and library visitors.
Dorothy, Toto and Munchkins are a permanent feature of the library!
Dorothy, Toto and Munchkins are a permanent feature of the library!

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Comic-Con morning near the convention center.

Huge Resurrection ad on Petco Park baseball stadium.
Huge Resurrection ad on Petco Park baseball stadium.

Early this morning, shortly after sunrise, I headed down toward the Gaslamp to see what was going on at 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. Thousands of people had gravitated around the convention center and were waiting in long lines to be the first inside and attend popular panels.

I walked from the east side of Petco Park, over the Harbor Drive pedestrian bridge, and past the Hilton Hotel to the back of the convention center. I then walked back around to the front and across the street to the Gaslamp trolley station. Here is what I saw:

Sleepy Hollow covered bridge recreated in Petco Park parking lot.
Sleepy Hollow covered bridge recreated in Petco Park parking lot.
This big Once Upon a Time banner is falling off Petco Park!
This big Once Upon a Time banner is falling off Petco Park!

I walked a bit northwest along Tony Gwynn Drive to get this picture.

Workers push huge Homer Simpson eyeball into a big yellow head.
Workers push huge Homer Simpson eyeball into a big yellow head.

Now I’m across Harbor Drive directly in front of the Hilton.

Homer's Dome area opened on Friday behind the convention center.
Homer’s Dome area opened on Friday behind the convention center.
One of the fun Simpsons games set up on the grass by the Hilton hotel.
One of the fun Simpsons games set up on the grass by the Hilton hotel.
Gotham skyline contains Riddler's and Penguin's not-so-secret lairs.
Gotham skyline contains Riddler’s and Penguin’s not-so-secret lairs.

This is between Homer’s Dome and the San Diego bay.

A long zip line lets daring Comic-Con guests fly past Gotham City!
A long zip line lets daring Comic-Con guests fly past Gotham City!
Comic-Con fans wait in long lines for popular panels.
Comic-Con fans wait in long lines for popular panels.
Vehicle from Into the Storm, a new movie about storm chasers.
Vehicle from Into the Storm, a new movie about storm chasers.
Fan sitting by the bay behind San Diego Convention Center looks wicked.
Fan sitting by the bay behind San Diego Convention Center looks wicked.
Looks like a huge Godzilla is on the rampage in San Diego!
Looks like a huge Godzilla is on the rampage in San Diego!
The fearsome monster rises darkly into the sky and now I'm worried.
The fearsome monster rises darkly into the sky and now I’m worried.
Smiling Wonder Girl is here to handle the dire situation!
Smiling Wonder Girl is here to handle the dire situation!
Someone inside this costume will keep us all safe, thank goodness.
Someone inside this costume will keep us all safe, thank goodness.
News reporter talks with very elegantly dressed Star Wars characters.
News reporter talks with very elegantly dressed Star Wars characters.
Cool cosplayers were in front of the convention center before it opened.
Cool cosplayers were in front of the convention center before it opened.
Batman zoomed by. I used Gimp cartoon mode to make blurry pic fun!
Batman zoomed by. I used Gimp cartoon filter to improve blurry pic!
Captain America and others head across Harbor Drive to the Gaslamp.
Captain America and others head across Harbor Drive to the Gaslamp.

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Cosplay and Comic-Con craziness in the Gaslamp!

Gentleman heads toward downtown's Gaslamp with a Spiderman tie.
Gentleman heads toward downtown’s Gaslamp with a Spiderman tie.

Except for the very last photo, I snapped these pics today in the early evening as I walked around downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. 2014 San Diego Comic-Con is in full swing!

Cool Adult Swim car seems to offer free rides around San Diego.
Cool Adult Swim car seems to offer free rides around San Diego.
Steampunk guys heading down toward the center of cosplay action.
Mad Hatter guys heading down toward the center of cosplay action.
It's Spidey driving a pedicab and giving me a thumbs up!
It’s Spidey driving a pedicab and giving me a thumbs up!
Lifetime Channel is to hold a Witches event tonight in San Diego.
Lifetime Channel is to hold a Witches event tonight in San Diego.
Mobile advertisement for the Sin City sequel, A Dame to Kill For.
Mobile advertisement for the Sin City sequel, A Dame to Kill For.
This colorful shop is appealing to the huge Comic-Con crowd.
This colorful shop is appealing to the huge Comic-Con crowd.
Gaslamp Reading Cinemas has showings, including Star Wars Rebels.
Gaslamp Reading Cinemas has showings, including Star Wars Rebels.
Flash sign is a window wrap near Petco Park.
Flash sign is a window wrap near Petco Park.
Two hostesses at a local restaurant are dressed for Comic-Con.
Two hostesses at a local restaurant are dressed for Comic-Con.
Lady with gigantic identification card is promoting Community.
Lady with gigantic identification card is promoting Community.
Lady swings in middle of the cool Assassin's Creed obstacle course.
Lady swings in middle of the cool Assassin’s Creed obstacle course.
This happy family belongs to the Justice League.
This happy family belongs to the Justice League.
Oh my goodness! That might be the real Dark Knight facing me!
Oh my goodness! That might be the real Dark Knight facing me!
Witches were chanting in a circle by the Gaslamp trolley station.
Witches were chanting in a circle by the Gaslamp trolley station.
One witch hexes me with her spooky red eyes.
One witch hexes me with her spooky red eyes.
Superman is down but not out.
Superman is down but not out.
Is that an angry bird or a happy bird, I wonder.
Is that an angry bird or a happy bird, I wonder.
That arm looks downright formidable.
That arm looks downright formidable.
This fantastic beast is called the Giant Creature. It's piloted by a small alien on top. The creature was moving about for the nearby crowd.
Giant Creature catches the attention of Comic-Con fans near the Tin Fish.

This fantastic beast is called the Giant Creature. It’s piloted by a small alien on top. No, actually it contains four people who move the huge limbs from inside. The creature was slowly moving about for the nearby crowd.

Giant Creature is promoting a new fun phone app called Blippar.
Giant Creature is promoting a new fun phone app called Blippar.
Pedicabs become pirate ships and carriages for Once Upon a Time.
Pedicabs become pirate ships and carriages for Once Upon a Time.
This tough vehicle is from the upcoming Brad Pitt movie Fury.
This tough vehicle is from the upcoming Brad Pitt movie Fury.
Dead Island 2 ad on back of enterprising pedicab.
Dead Island 2 ad on back of enterprising pedicab.
Here comes Wonder Woman from the convention center across street.
Here comes Wonder Woman from the convention center across street.
This guy is Green Goblin of Mordor.
This guy is Green Goblin of Mordor.
Crazy people wearing shark heads were promoting Sharknado 2.
Crazy people wearing shark heads were promoting Sharknado 2.
Young Leia has Sharknado 2 chainsaw.
Young Princess Leia has a Sharknado 2 chainsaw.
Just a whole bunch of fun cosplay up and down the crowded streets!
Just a whole bunch of fun cosplay up and down the crowded streets!
Boy shows cool costume as I cross street in Mission Valley this morning.
Boy shows cool costume as I cross street in Mission Valley this morning.

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Pics of 2014 San Diego Comic-Con Preview Night!

Thousands crammed San Diego Convention Center for Preview Night!
Thousands crammed San Diego Convention Center for Preview Night!

I finally sorted through a bunch of photos from 2014 San Diego Comic-Con Preview Night, which ended just a few hours ago! Many images came out blurry, poorly composed or marred by glare from bright lights in the convention center’s ceiling. I did manage to capture a few decent pics which provide an idea of the extraordinary, mind-blowing experience. Three hours raced by in a flash as I wandered with a friend about the endless and amazing displays. I hope you enjoy this small glimpse…

Loads of awesomely cool stuff was literally everywhere one turned.
Loads of awesomely cool stuff was literally everywhere one turned.
Anything imaginable could be bought, including Star Trek uniforms.
Anything imaginable could be bought, including Star Trek uniforms.
Models of science fiction and fantasy characters were everywhere.
Models of science fiction and fantasy characters were everywhere.
Spiderman figurine just one of hundreds on display.
Spiderman figurine just one of hundreds on display.
Rocket Raccoon was a very popular character.
Rocket Raccoon was a very popular character.
Huge Marvel mural contained the new Thor and Captain America.
Huge Marvel mural contained the new Thor and Captain America.
I recognized this tiny alien from Men in Black.
I recognized this tiny alien from Men in Black.
Mace Windu in a movie clip shown above huge Star Wars exhibit.
Mace Windu in a movie clip shown above huge Star Wars exhibit.
Cool detailed model of Boba Fett.
Cool detailed model of Boba Fett.
One of many Darth Vaders at Comic-Con!
One of many Darth Vaders at San Diego Comic-Con!
This is a special, huge Darth Vader Hot Wheels car!
This is a special, huge Darth Vader Hot Wheels car!
I spotted the DeLorean from Back to the Future!
I spotted the DeLorean from Back to the Future!
Super scary looking Predator head.
Super scary looking Predator head.
Looks like a T. Rex devouring a nearby Nazgul.
Almost looks like this T. Rex is devouring a nearby Nazgul.
I modified this blurry image of the DC exhibit.
I tried to jazz up this sadly blurry image of the DC exhibit.
Wonder Woman in a glass case and passing fans.
Wonder Woman in a glass case and passing fans.
Cowl used by Michael Keaton in first Batman movie.
Cowl used by Michael Keaton in first Batman movie.
Cowl used by George Clooney in Batman and Robin.
Cowl used by George Clooney in Batman and Robin.
Batarangs used as props in various movies.
Batarangs used as props in various movies.
Clown masks used in heist scene in The Dark Knight.
Clown masks used in heist scene in The Dark Knight.
MAD magazine's Alfred E. Neuman.
Mosaic of MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman.
Alfred E. Neuman evolves from a caveman.
Alfred E. Neuman evolves from a caveman.
Swag bags were handy for 2014 San Diego Comic-Con Preview Night.
Swag bags were handy for 2014 San Diego Comic-Con Preview Night.
Art, prints, comics, collectibles, you name it was for sale and on display.
Art, prints, comics, collectibles, you name it was for sale and on display.
Huge Alien pod was an isolation chamber for video game players.
Huge Alien pod was an isolation chamber for video game players.
Lots of video games could be sampled including realistic racers.
Lots of video games could be sampled including realistic racers.
Comic books are a staple of San Diego Comic-Con.
Comic books are a staple of San Diego Comic-Con.
Even Sponge Bob has his own crazy comic.
Even Sponge Bob has his own crazy comic.
Horror paintings from Clive Barker's Imaginer art book on display.
Horror paintings from Clive Barker’s Imaginer art book on display.
Gollum with a tasty fish poses with Tolkien fan.
Gollum with a tasty fish poses with Tolkien fan.
Elven helmet from Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Elven helmet from Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Smaug from The Hobbit was a popular attraction during Preview Night.
Smaug from The Hobbit was a popular attraction during Preview Night.
Bright cartoon faces hover above the Nickelodeon exhibit.
Bright cartoon faces hover above the Nickelodeon exhibit.
Another sample of sheer fun and eye-catching delights.
Another sample of sheer fun and eye-catching delights.
You could buy official Wonder Woman bracelets!
You could buy official Wonder Woman bracelets!
Batman and his rogue's gallery are always popular.
Batman and his rogue’s gallery are always super popular.
Warner Bros. was promoting their superheroic television lineup.
Warner Bros. was promoting their superhero television lineup.
Fantastic art filled row upon row. You could spend hours just looking.
Fantastic art filled row upon row. You could spend hours just looking.
Geek Nation did a fine job creating this fellow.
Geek Nation did a fine job creating this fellow.
Kids young and old were just having a big load of fun.
Kids young and old were just having a big load of fun.
You could win a White Walker mask from Game of Thrones.
You could win a White Walker mask from Game of Thrones.

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Cool stuff rises for 2014 Comic-Con!

Workers put up Blacklist venue for 2014 San Diego Comic-Con.
Workers put up special venue for 2014 San Diego Comic-Con.

This afternoon, four days before the start of 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, I went for a walk around the Gaslamp and convention center and took a bunch of very unique pictures!

Check out some photos of construction workers assembling cool event venues, hanging banners, applying gigantic building wraps, and painting colorful advertising murals for the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con!

Enjoy!

Fans going through this door will get to be put on the Blacklist.
This structure will promote the new Constantine television show.
Blacklist site is by the convention center and Omni Hotel.
Blacklist site is by the convention center and Omni Hotel.
Gaslamp's Tin Fish restaurant to be taken over by the Blacklist.
Gaslamp’s Tin Fish restaurant to be taken over by the Blacklist.
Hannibal poster with Comic-Con construction in background.
Hannibal poster with Comic-Con construction in background.
Grimm ad by the Gaslamp trolley station.
Grimm ad by the Gaslamp trolley station.
Emerald City will be a new NBC TV series.
Emerald City will be a brand new NBC TV series.
Brad Pitt's Fury on side of the Hard Rock Hotel.
Brad Pitt’s Fury splashed on side of the Hard Rock Hotel.
Workers take break while hanging 2014 San Diego Comic-Con banner!
Workers take break while hanging big 2014 San Diego Comic-Con banner!
Several Comic-Con banners already on San Diego Convention Center.
Several Comic-Con banners already on San Diego Convention Center.
Huge Legends building wrap on Marriott Hotel features Sean Bean.
Huge Legends building wrap on Marriott Hotel features Sean Bean.
Workers on platform apply Legends graphic on building for Comic-Con!
Workers on platform apply Legends graphic on building for Comic-Con!
Magic 2015 table top gaming poster on Marriott Hotel parking wall.
Magic 2015 table top gaming poster on Marriott Hotel parking wall.
True Blood banners hang from San Diego trolley posts.
True Blood banners have been hung from San Diego trolley posts.
Huge Simpsons wrap being applied to Marriott!
Huge Simpsons wrap rises colorfully on the Marriott!

Looks like the left half of the Simpsons graphic is up so far.

Simpsons TV show to launch on FXX.
Simpsons TV marathon to launch in August on FXX.
Assassin's Creed obstacle course being installed across Harbor Drive.
Assassin’s Creed obstacle course being installed across Harbor Drive.
Obstacle course includes jumping and climbing.
Obstacle course includes lots of jumping and climbing.
Ubisoft's video game Assassin's Creed Unity to debut at 2014 Comic-Con.
Ubisoft’s video game Assassin’s Creed Unity to debut at 2014 Comic-Con.
New television show The Strain has mural painted on Gaslamp building.
New television show The Strain has mural painted on Gaslamp building.
Worker paints worm dangling from a huge bulging eyeball!
Worker paints worm dangling from a huge bulging eyeball!

Stay tuned! Many more pics are coming!

UPDATE!!!

Here come more pics that I took early Tuesday morning, with about 48 hours to go before 2014 Comic-Con officially opens…

The Strain building mural is finally completed.
The Strain building mural is finally completed.
The Assassin’s Creed obstacle course looks half finished on Tuesday.
The Assassin’s Creed obstacle course looks half finished on Tuesday.
The Interview on Hard Rock Hotel with James Franco and Seth Rogen.
The Interview on Hard Rock Hotel with James Franco and Seth Rogen.
Large blue Constantine dome appears to be covered with strange runes.
Large blue Constantine dome appears to be covered with strange runes.
Constantine banners hang by the Gaslamp trolley station.
Constantine banners hang by the Gaslamp trolley station.
The Tin Fish restaurant completely covered with Blacklist graphics!
The Tin Fish restaurant now completely covered with Blacklist graphics!
History Channel mural on Petco Park advertises Vikings.
History Channel mural on Petco Park advertises Vikings.
Ascension building wrap being applied early Tuesday morning.
Ascension building wrap being applied early Tuesday morning.
Closer look at Ascension graphics on Gaslamp building.
Closer look at Ascension graphics on Gaslamp building.
Goosebumps green face peers from Hard Rock Hotel.
Goosebumps green face peers from Hard Rock Hotel.

Here’s one last cool pic which I altered a bit by increasing the contrast:

View from San Diego Convention Center as Gotham trolley passes.
View from San Diego Convention Center as Gotham trolley passes.

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Cool sand sculptures at Sun and Sea Festival!

2014 Imperial Beach Sun and Sea sandcastle greets visitors.
2014 Imperial Beach Sun and Sea sandcastle greets visitors.

I had to take one more trip to Imperial Beach this summer because of another big, fun event by the pier. Today was the 2014 Sun and Sea Festival! The event replaces the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition which came to an end back in 2011.

Master sandcastle builders who have won many international awards converged to demonstrate their craft and compete for top honors just north of the Imperial Beach pier. When I arrived, the creations were roughly half done. So I got a bunch of interesting photos of the artists in action!

Featured sand sculpture built by Kirk Rademaker of Sand Masters.
Featured sand sculpture built by Kirk Rademaker of Sand Masters.

This centerpiece sandcastle stood near the foot of the pier, adjacent to busy vendor tents, and a variety of other fun activities.

Crowd watches master sand sculptors creating fantastic works of art.
Crowd watches master sand sculptors creating fantastic works of art.

Looking north from the pier toward the field of action.

Teams north of Imperial Beach pier works on a detailed creations.
Teams north of Imperial Beach pier work on detailed creations.
Plastic fork with two tines removed is used to create stonework detail.
Plastic fork with two tines removed is used to create stonework detail.
Patience, planning and creativity on a Southern California beach!
Patience, planning and creativity on a Southern California beach!
Sand creations are sprinkled with water to prevent disintegration.
Sand creations are sprinkled with water to prevent disintegration.
Tall structure looks like an exaggerated Eiffel Tower.
Tall structure looks like an exaggerated Eiffel Tower.
Sand head props up photos used to model more amazing creations.
Sand head props up photos used to model  rat from Ratatouille.
One unique sand sculpture was all about dogs.
One unique sand sculpture was all about dogs.
A dog has its day at Camp Run a Mutt.
A beach dog has its day at Camp Run a Mutt.
A castle with tall spires in the Imperial Beach competition.
A castle with tall spires in the Imperial Beach competition.
The 2014 Sun and Sea Festival attracted many onlookers.
The 2014 Sun and Sea Festival attracted many onlookers.
Brushes are often used to smooth and contour the sand.
Brushes are often used to smooth and contour the sand.
Water and sand are mixed to form raw material.
Water and sand are mixed to form raw building material.
Close look at some detailed work getting started.
Close look at some detailed work getting started.
Artist works on a tire of a Transformers sand sculpture.
Artist works on a tire of a Transformers sand sculpture.

Unfortunately, the Transformers sculpture wasn’t too far along, so I couldn’t get more interesting pics.

I think this is an octopus.
I think this is an octopus.
Huge, complex sand sculpture with many team members working.
Huge, complex sand sculpture with many team members working.
Now and Then is the theme of this sculpture.
Now and Then is the theme of this sculpture.
Long straight edge turns a broad swath of level sand into a boardwalk.
Long straight edge turns a broad swath of level sand into a boardwalk.
I like how quaint this sandcastle appears!
I like how quaint this sandcastle appears!
The Sand Squirrels was one team competing at the festival.
The Sand Squirrels was one team competing at the festival.
Rocket's engine of the Futurama sand sculpture.
Rocket’s engine of the funny Futurama sand sculpture.
Robot appears to be doing some sun bathing!
Robot appears to be doing some sun bathing!
Super cool locomotive sand sculpture near the IB pier.
Super cool locomotive sand sculpture near the IB pier.
I liked this huge underground sand train most of all!
I liked this huge underground sand train most of all!
Everybody is watching the teams build their sand creations!
Everybody is watching the pros build their sand creations!
Kids on the pier's other side build castles, too!
Kids on the pier’s other side build castles, too!

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Pics of early San Diego Comic-Con preparation.

Gaslamp trolley station has superhero sign about a ticket app.
Gaslamp trolley station has superhero sign about a ticket app.

Here are a few pics of new Comic-Con related things I’ve spotted around the Gaslamp in the past two days. The 2014 San Diego Comic-Con is now just one week away! It seems that most of the important preparation will take place early next week, and perhaps over this weekend. I’ll post new stuff as I discover it!

Several long banners with faces advertise The Leftovers on HBO.
Several long banners with faces advertise The Leftovers on HBO.

Several of these banners run along the trolley tracks opposite the convention center. I saw one being put up yesterday morning.

Jay and Silent Bob will eat Comic-Con!
Jay and Silent Bob will eat Comic-Con!

Looks like The American Comedy Co. has a bunch of hilarious Comic-Con entertainment ready to go!

This odd Hulk is on a window of Gaslamp's Rockin' Baja.
This unusual Hulk is on one window of Rockin’ Baja.
Lobster with pointed ears. Steam me up, Scotty!
Lobster with pointed ears. Steam me up, Scotty!

I wonder if Spock would ever put on a sombrero.  He probably would if it were logical.

Electric Dreams Factory sign applied to Hard Rock Hotel window.
Electric Dreams Factory sign applied to Hard Rock Hotel window.

Huge signs concerning an upcoming Adam Sandler movie called Pixels were going up all over the Hard Rock Hotel as I walked by early this morning.  Sony will host a special event during Comic-Con called the Pixels Electric Dreams Factory Arcade, where gamers will be able to play classic arcade games from the 80’s!

San Diego Comic-Con logo being painted on a taco shop window.
San Diego Comic-Con logo being painted on a taco shop window.

Okay, I added the above photo from Little Italy on Friday afternoon.  I was walking home from work. So now, technically, all these pics aren’t from the Gaslamp.

UPDATE!

I just learned I’ll probably be attending Preview Night this coming Wednesday, so stay tuned for (hopefully) a whole bunch of awesome stuff!

ANOTHER UPDATE!

Here come more pics… I snapped these in the days leading up to Comic-Con!

Poster by trolley station promotes another season of Blacklist.
Poster by trolley station promotes another season of Blacklist.
Alex Ross cool Justice League graphic above a Gaslamp door.
Alex Ross cool Justice League graphic above a Gaslamp door.
The Haunted Hotel has two scary Comic-Con dates.
The Haunted Hotel has two scary Comic-Con dates.
The Strain television show advertisement on Old Town Trolley Tours bus.
The Strain television show advertisement on Old Town Trolley Tours bus.

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