Quiet forms, late light, and untold stories.

An early evening walk along the Embarcadero. I didn’t take many photos. But some of the images contain such strong, silent feeling that I’ve decided to share them.

I titled this modest series of photographs: Quiet forms, late light, and untold stories.

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!

The promise of musical power.

Tomorrow evening’s San Diego International Organ Festival’s concert is going to be awesome. I heard part of the rehearsal today.

The majestic Spreckels Organ accompanied by beautifully played string instruments is too emotionally powerful for words.

Starting at 7:30 pm on Monday, August 26, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez will be joined by four accomplished chamber musicians, including members of the San Diego Symphony.

You can sense the musical power a little bit in a few of these photos.

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!

A heart on the ground. Music on a rooftop.

A couple days ago I noticed two hearts while walking through downtown.

One was lying on the hard sidewalk, protected with sharp barbs. The other was up on a rooftop, in a musician playing violin. The musician’s heart was precarious, vulnerable and free.

Do you protect your heart? Do you express it?

To read thoughtful short stories about the complex human condition, click Short Stories by Richard.

Do smartphones make people more shallow?

I probably shouldn’t post this blog. I share some of the guilt. After all, I’m a producer of internet content.

During my walk through Balboa Park today, I felt creeping despair.

Balboa Park is an amazing, wonderful, special place. Lifted eyes see a world that is infinitely interesting and beautiful.

About one third of the people I observed had their eyes absolutely fixed to the tiny screens of their smartphones. They were too obsessed to notice the vast world around them. Nor other people around them.

Of these, many were grown adults searching for a virtual Pokemon, a game fit for the simple mind of a child. At least these people looked up from time to time.

Yes, I know some people were busy communicating with friends, or perhaps looking up information, or a map of the park.

I also know that our lives are complex and so is human psychology. Everyone is different. I, too, have my silly, simple pleasures. It’s hard to draw firm conclusions. Technology changes. The culture changes. People change. Fads come and go.

But it does appear that humans are powerfully drawn to stimuli on isolated screens.

And, of course, the wonderful thing about smartphones is they can make life so much easier. Eye-to-eye politeness is no longer required. The potential for vulnerability in spontaneously spoken words is thankfully avoided. Problem solving is automatic. Critical thinking is less and less necessary. Simple and self-comforting ideas flood social media. Self absorption is made as easy as pie. Narcissism is rewarded.

I often wonder, as virtual reality becomes increasingly prevalent, whether people will permanently insert their entire selves into shallow, shrinking virtual worlds. The Matrix, of our own choosing.

If it feels good, why fight it?

Survey of racial identity, feelings at MCASD.

People walk past the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's gallery at America Plaza.
People walk past the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s building at America Plaza.

I recently noticed new thought-provoking graphics in the windows of the MCASD building at America Plaza.

Last year, a survey was taken of 100 people passing through America Plaza. Questions were asked about racial and ethnic identity. Today an outdoor display at downtown’s Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego expands on the results and explores the complicated subject.

The window graphics are designed to catch the eye and draw visitors into the nearby gallery.

This project was produced by artists with students from local colleges in San Diego and Tijuana who participated in Transnational Seminar 1, lead by Collective Magpie.

On April 20th, 100 pedestrians took a survey here in America Plaza about race and ethnicity. Self-classification data was compiled.
On April 20th, 100 pedestrians took a survey here in America Plaza about race and ethnicity. Self-classification data was compiled.
Of the 100 surveyed, 83 answered mixed race; 14 white people; 3 people of color.
Of the 100 surveyed, 83 answered mixed race; 14 white people; 3 people of color.
Feelings about racial identity can differ from person to person.
Feelings about racial identity can differ from person to person.
One of two panels containing some of the racial or ethnic classifications that one might choose.
One of two panels containing some of the racial and ethnic categories that a person might choose.
A splash of words, asking passersby what the ultimate definition of race is.
A splash of words, asking people walking down Kettner Boulevard what the ultimate definition of race is…
People might feel differently about their racial identity depending on a range of factors and circumstances.
People might feel differently about their racial identity depending on a range of factors and circumstances, from their appearance…to their dreams…to their immediate environment…to the way they live.
Thought-provoking graphics in the windows of MCASD's downtown gallery at America Plaza.
Thought-provoking graphics concerning race in the windows of MCASD’s building at America Plaza.

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!

A day full of dreaming by the water.

Dreaming together by the sparkling water.
Dreaming together by the sparkling water.

A slow, lazy day. One last November day of unseasonably warm weather. Like many, I had the day off from work.

A quiet stroll along San Diego Bay.

A day for dreaming by the water.

Reflected light is all we see. A dream of light flows from the hand of painter Paul Strahm.
Sitting in sunshine above the water. A dream of light flows from the hand of the always friendly painter Paul Strahm.
The undefinable essence of dreams.
The undefinable essence of dreams.
A vision beyond the reach of a pier.
A vision beyond the reach of a pier.
Light on water invites meditation.
A firm foundation and quiet moment. Light on water invites meditation.
More quiet time by the water.
Time vanishes near the water.
Ripples in a strange reality.
Ripples in a strange reality.
Moving together past a burst of beauty.
Moving together in the walk of life, past a burst of beauty.
Almost like a dream within a dream.
Almost like a dream within a dream.
Enjoying this magic, wonderful life together.
Enjoying this magic, wonderful life together.
Reading words by the tranquil water. Sensing deeper truths.
Reading words by tranquil water. Perhaps sensing deeper truths.
Another day of dreaming by the water.
Another day of dreaming by the shining water.

Today two ideas for short stories came to me like a dream. As I sat on a bench by beautiful San Diego Bay, I penned a few passing words.

I believe the titles will be The Failed Heart and A Dangerous Noise. When these stories feel finished–if that feeling ever comes–I’ll publish them on my writing blog Short Stories by Richard.

Three dystopian short stories.

Perhaps you’ve noticed I love to write fiction. I love to combine words. Words are tools that can dig toward truth.

I’ve recently written three short stories that are absolutely dystopian. They concern advancements in technology and the possibility of our own dehumanization.

I’m not a pessimist. I prefer to smile and generally try to find and highlight good things in life. But I also strive to be intellectually honest. I recognize that the human world contains both light and darkness. And some of my stories can be quite dark.

These three dystopian stories are: Life Made Easier, A Ship Without Ghosts, and What the Giant Saw. Click the links if you’d like to read them.

It’s funny–the latter, most recent story was written yesterday as I sat beside the small river in Balboa Park’s beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden. Looking down at the living water, I felt strangely like a giant. Perhaps my stream of thought emerged from that feeling.

All of my modest works of fiction can be found at my website Short Stories by Richard.