Stingaree: an exciting novel set in early San Diego!

Historical photo of the First and Last Chance Saloon, inside San Diego's rowdy Stingaree District.
Historical photo of the First and Last Chance Saloon, inside San Diego’s rowdy Stingaree District.

Murder! Gambling halls and brothels! Wyatt Earp! Corrupt police! Scheming businessmen! Secretive gangs! Pirates! A rip-roaring story dripping with suspense and excitement!

Would you like to read the first few chapters of a thrilling novel set in late 19th century San Diego? Jack Tyler, a talented author of adventure and steampunk fiction, is now writing an action-packed novel titled Stingaree, which takes place in San Diego’s old red-light district–an area of town that today is part of the Gaslamp Quarter. He has made many great chapters available to the public–for free! Click here to visit his website, then find the link to Stingaree.

In the late 1800s, the Stingaree was where sailors, ranch hands, and the working class sought their thrills in a depressed and rather desolate city. It was home to dozens of gambling parlors, whorehouses and saloons. Law-abiding citizens stayed away for their own safety. To be seen in the Stingaree might destroy one’s reputation. At night all hell would break loose. Those who prospered running tawdry businesses in the Stingaree had to pay the police bribes and watch their own backs.

In the novel Stingaree, the reader will recognize a variety of historical persons and locations. From the construction of the Hotel del Coronado, to George Marston’s department store, to the Horton House Hotel–the story is an exciting journey back in time. Jack Tyler successfully presents a city full of danger, uncertainty and great promise. From his imagination emerges an assortment of wonderfully inventive characters.

I must say I really enjoyed reading the completed chapters. This is the sort of smart, well-constructed story that would make for a really entertaining movie or television series. Cliffhangers and plot twists abound. Enjoy a fun read by clicking here and look for the link to Stingaree!

Amazing youth exhibition at San Diego Museum of Art!

Senna Osawa, Tamayo Watermelon, mixed media, Second Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Senna Osawa, Tamayo Watermelon, mixed media, Second Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.

Look what I discovered!

The San Diego Museum of Art has a free exhibition of art that was created by local school students. It’s called Young Art 2017: Beyond the Ordinary. You can find it in Gallery 15, which leads from the museum’s outdoor sculpture court to the restrooms that are often used by diners at Panama 66.

Every two years, a new exhibition of Young Art is presented by the museum. All I can say is once you step through the door your jaw will drop! Dozens of outstanding, truly amazing works of art line the walls and fill a few display cases.

Inspired students from Kindergarten to Twelfth Grade, from schools throughout San Diego County, have created all sorts of fantastic still life artwork, including paintings, drawings, mixed media, photography and ceramic sculptures. Some of the students have written a sentence or two explaining their thoughts and creative process.

My quick photos of these few examples barely scratch the surface. I just chose some of the art that I personally like. Funny–perhaps my favorite piece was created by a talented young artist in Kindergarten!

If you visit Balboa Park, you must take a look!

Beyond the Ordinary. Young Art 2017. Amazing, inspired artwork in a free exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park!
Beyond the Ordinary. Young Art 2017. Amazing, inspired artwork in a free exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park!
Catherine Zhao, Message in a Bottle, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Catherine Zhao, Message in a Bottle, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
The Great Fruit Bowl, a drawing by many Christ Church Day School Second Grade student artists.
The Great Fruit Bowl, a drawing by many Christ Church Day School Second Grade student artists.
Fizzah Arshad, Tea, drawing, Ninth Grade, Otay Ranch High School.
Fizzah Arshad, Tea, drawing, Ninth Grade, Otay Ranch High School.
Arissa Diaz-Lelevier, Multi-media Still Life, mixed media, Eighth Grade, Stella Maris Academy.
Arissa Diaz-Lelevier, Multi-media Still Life, mixed media, Eighth Grade, Stella Maris Academy.
Mirabella Komniey, Pitcher, mixed media, Fifth Grade, Vista Grande Elementary.
Mirabella Komniey, Pitcher, mixed media, Fifth Grade, Vista Grande Elementary.
Emma Cecil, Enticement, painting, Twelfth Grade, Torrey Pines High School.
Emma Cecil, Enticement, painting, Twelfth Grade, Torrey Pines High School.
Camryn Melendez, Apricot Sunrise, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Camryn Melendez, Apricot Sunrise, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Eric Pak, Flora and Skull, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Eric Pak, Flora and Skull, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Karina Spinazzola, Lemons and Lilies, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Karina Spinazzola, Lemons and Lilies, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Anh Huynh, Distilled, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Anh Huynh, Distilled, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Caden Glazner, Time for Tea, painting, Third Grade, Del Sur Elementary.
Caden Glazner, Time for Tea, painting, Third Grade, Del Sur Elementary.
Joy Zou, Tea Time, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Joy Zou, Tea Time, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Bella Anderson and Cate Hunsberger, Medieval Lunch, painting, Seventh Grade, Coronado Middle School.
Bella Anderson and Cate Hunsberger, Medieval Lunch, painting, Seventh Grade, Coronado Middle School.
Skylar Britt, O'Keeffe Flower, mixed media, Kindergarten, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Skylar Britt, O’Keeffe Flower, mixed media, Kindergarten, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Jenna Vo, Magritte Floating Still Life, mixed media, Fourth Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Jenna Vo, Magritte Floating Still Life, mixed media, Fourth Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Creativity, expression, and one wonderful park.

Young lady is about to get a surprise during a fun magic show in Balboa Park.
A young lady is about to get a surprise during a fun magic show in Balboa Park.

I observed many emotions today.  These emotions were expressed in the eyes and faces of people I encountered during a walk through wonderful Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is like a small slice of some ideal world: so many people coming together, sharing dreams and happy visions. A walk through the park is like all the good things in human life stirred into one potent elixir, with smiles, freedom, friendship, rampant creativity on every side, and much sunlight. And, of course, memories of special moments and of past loved ones–and, sometimes, sadness.

Kenny Shelton juggles in between magic acts. Today he tossed dizzy feelings of joy toward hundreds of people on El Prado.
Kenny Shelton juggles in between magic acts. Today he tossed dizzy feelings of joy toward hundreds of people on El Prado.

Kenny seems like a great guy. He’s definitely funny and a crowd-pleaser! Need some entertainment in San Diego?  Find him here!

The San Diego Harmony Ringers conjure bright, cheerful music in Balboa Park.
The San Diego Harmony Ringers conjure bright, cheerful music in Balboa Park.
Intense sadness near the Museum of Man, as people remember the Sewol ferry disaster in South Korea, which happened 1000 days ago. The victims' families are still searching for answers.
Intense sadness near the Museum of Man, as people remember the Sewol ferry disaster in South Korea, which happened 1000 days ago. The victims’ families are still searching for answers.
A belly dancer and musicians draw a large crowd near the Botanical Building. The audience is spellbound.
A belly dancer and musicians draw a large crowd near the Botanical Building. The audience is spellbound.
A group prays under a beautiful tree. Human hope, pain, love . . . among the dropping leaves.
A group prays under a beautiful tree. Human hope, pain, love . . . among the dropping leaves.
Creating a labyrinth in Balboa Park's Zoro Garden. This gentleman created a similar labyrinth which I photographed near the Botanical Building some time ago. If he mentioned his name, I apologize for forgetting and not writing it down.
Creating a labyrinth in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden. This gentleman created a similar labyrinth which I photographed near the Botanical Building some time ago.
I'm shown a notebook. A Native American basket on the left depicts a radiating labyrinth. Labyrinths are one very ancient human expression, filled with spiritual meaning.
I’m shown a notebook. A Native American basket on the left depicts a radiating labyrinth. Labyrinths are a very ancient human expression, filled with spiritual meaning.

To learn more about his fascinating labyrinths, please visit this Facebook page.

A canvas on El Prado asks random passersby to Paint On Me.
A canvas on El Prado asks random passersby to Paint On Me.
Dogs and people mingle, happy and free at Balboa Park's Nate's Point Dog Park.
Dogs and people mingle freely.  Sheer happiness at Balboa Park’s busy Nate’s Point Dog Park.
This musician was so joyful, he lit up many lives in this wonderful park.
This musician was so positive and so alive, he lit up countless hearts in wonderful Balboa Park.  Joy conquers.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

International Folk Dance Spring Festival in Balboa Park!

Artwork hung near entrance of the Balboa Park Club depicts Greek folk dancers.
Artwork hung near entrance of the Balboa Park Club depicts Greek folk dancers.

A great event is going on this weekend in Balboa Park! If you happen to be in San Diego, you might like to check it out!

The International Folk Dance Spring Festival is being held in the very beautiful Balboa Park Club building, and everyone is invited. The fun event is put on by the International Dance Association of San Diego County.

Anyone who attended the festival today could learn how to Greek dance! Tomorrow, Sunday, you’ll have the opportunity to learn and observe other styles of folk dancing. It’s easy to participate and lots of fun! And it’s a great social activity that provides healthy exercise!

I learned that the International Dance Association of San Diego County is eager to welcome new members. Do you enjoy folk dancing? Do you wish to learn? Are you merely curious and would like to read some more interesting information? Then click here to check out their website! They have numerous classes and special dances throughout the year!

Curious visitors enter the Balboa Park Club building, to enjoy the 2016 International Folk Dance Spring Festival.
Curious visitors enter the Balboa Park Club building, to enjoy the 2016 International Folk Dance Spring Festival.
Costumes are a fun aspect of authentic folk dancing. But you don't need one to participate!
Costumes are a fun aspect of authentic folk dancing. But you don’t need one to participate!  Come as you are!
People get ready to perform a social dance in the amazing 13,000 square feet ballroom inside the Balboa Park Club.
People get ready to perform a social dance in the amazing 13,000 square feet ballroom inside the Balboa Park Club.
People at the International Folk Dance Spring Festival in Balboa Park learn Greek dancing!
Ordinary people at the International Folk Dance Spring Festival in Balboa Park learn Greek dancing!
Life is beautiful. Indeed, it is!
Life is beautiful. Indeed, it is!
The stunning, historic grand foyer of the Balboa Park Club is decorated for spring. Buy stuff here during the festival to support the International Dance Association of San Diego County.
The stunning, historic grand foyer of the Balboa Park Club is decorated for spring. Buy stuff here during the festival to support the International Dance Association of San Diego County.
International Folk Dancing in Balboa Park is celebrating 69 years! Recreational folk dance is taught, demonstrated and performed for free in a stylish, air-conditioned ballroom!
International Folk Dancing in Balboa Park is celebrating 69 years! Recreational folk dance is taught, demonstrated and performed for free in a stylish, air-conditioned ballroom!
The Balboa Park Club is the site of a San Diego folk dance festival, running this weekend. Go check it out! Or, better yet, go and learn how to folk dance!
The Balboa Park Club is the site of a San Diego folk dance festival, running this weekend. Go check it out! Or, better yet, go and learn how to folk dance! Why not?

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

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Outdoor sculptures being installed in Balboa Park!

Many outdoor sculptures are being introduced into Balboa Park. The exhibit is titled Art of the Open Air. It is a unique project of the San Diego Museum of Art.
Many outdoor sculptures are being introduced into Balboa Park. The exhibit is titled Art of the Open Air. It’s a unique project of the San Diego Museum of Art.

During the past week, a number of sculptures in the San Diego Museum of Art’s collection have been carefully moved into the Plaza de Panama, a large outdoor gathering place in Balboa Park. For the next two years, anyone in San Diego will be able to freely enjoy the sculptures, and see them in changing light, beneath different skies. Moving such large pieces has taken a lot of work, but I noticed today that the installation, titled Art of the Open Air, is approaching completion.

Included in the unique outdoor exhibition are works by world-famous artists Joan Miró, Auguste Rodin and Tony Rosenthal. I wasn’t able to approach the artwork too closely–right now, while the sculptures are being readied, they’re still roped off. The same goes for a new piece in the museum’s May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden, which I also photographed from a bit of a distance. I put some identifying information in the photo captions.

Art of the Open Air is set to run from February 11, 2016 through February 13, 2018. I can already see that Balboa Park is going to be more lively and interesting than ever!

Alexander Calder. Spinal Column, 1968. Steel. A sculpture being installed in the San Diego Museum of Art's outdoor May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden.
Alexander Calder. Spinal Column, 1968. Steel. A sculpture being installed in the San Diego Museum of Art’s outdoor May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden.
Lynn Russell Chadwick. The Watchers, 1960. Bronze. Now stands in Balboa Park's beautiful Plaza de Panama, part of the Art of the Open Air exhibition.
Lynn Russell Chadwick. The Watchers, 1960. Bronze. Now stands in Balboa Park’s beautiful Plaza de Panama, part of the Art of the Open Air exhibition.
Auguste Rodin. The Prodigal Son, 1905. Bronze. Installed in the northwest corner of the Plaza de Panama, where the sculpture Youth Taming the Wild (Horse Trainer) used to stand.
Auguste Rodin. The Prodigal Son, 1905. Bronze. Installed in the northwest corner of the Plaza de Panama, where the sculpture Youth Taming the Wild (Horse Trainer) used to stand.
I can't find anything about this piece, but it seems somehow familiar. If you know what it is, leave a comment!
I can’t find anything about this piece, but it seems strangely familiar. If you know what it is, leave a comment!  UPDATE: I learned the bronze sculpture is called Mother and Daughter Seated, by Francisco Zuniga, 1971
Two very fine sculptures that will soon will be approachable in Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama.
Two very fine sculptures that will soon will be approachable in Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama.
Joan Miró. Solar Bird, 1966. Bronze. Standing guard near the entrance to the San Diego Museum of Art.
Joan Miró. Solar Bird, 1966. Bronze. Standing guard near the entrance to the San Diego Museum of Art.
Tony Rosenthal. Odyssey III, 1967. Aluminum.
Tony Rosenthal. Odyssey III, 1967. Aluminum.
Photo across front of the San Diego Museum of Art, the north end of Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama. Outdoor art is being installed.
Photo across front of the San Diego Museum of Art, the north end of Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama. Outdoor art is being installed.
Luis Jiménez. Border Crossing/Cruzando el Rio Bravo, 1989. Fiberglass with acrylic urethane finish. Stands outside the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Panama 66.
Luis Jiménez. Border Crossing/Cruzando el Rio Bravo, 1989. Fiberglass with acrylic urethane finish. Stands outside the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Panama 66.
Monumental totem-like sculpture depicts artist's immigrant grandfather carrying wife and son, crossing the Rio Bravo River.
Monumental totem-like sculpture depicts artist’s immigrant grandfather carrying wife and son, crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico.
A large sculpture seems to stride into the life-filled Plaza de Panama in San Diego's historic Balboa Park.
A large sculpture seems to stride into the life-filled Plaza de Panama in San Diego’s historic Balboa Park.

Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? Please visit Short Stories by Richard.

Do you love Balboa Park? Please enjoy my brand new, very special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Music and fun at San Diego Multicultural Festival!

This super nice lady posed while blowing some bubbles! And I got photobombed! What fun!
This super nice lady posed while blowing some bubbles! And I got photobombed! What fun!

Lots of photos today!

Let’s start out with the fun San Diego Multicultural Festival, which was held in sunny Ruocco Park, downtown near Tuna Harbor. I always enjoy walking through the annual event, taking in the cool, happy vibe and listening to some great live music. Here are a few pics!

Remember–tomorrow is the big MLK parade which goes down Harbor Drive along the Embarcadero! It begins at 2 o’clock!

Folks were at the San Diego Multicultural Festival in Ruocco Park listening to lots of great live music.
Folks were at the San Diego Multicultural Festival in Ruocco Park listening to lots of great live music.
This smiling lady representing the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park had a table full of beautiful crafts. They'll be having a Let Freedom Ring event on MLK Day.
This smiling lady representing the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park had a table full of beautiful crafts. They’ll be having a Let Freedom Ring event on MLK Day.
Super colorful art and wares at the WorldBeat table. Celebrating life, diversity and Martin Luther King Jr. Day in San Diego!
Super colorful art and wares at the WorldBeat table. Celebrating life, diversity and Martin Luther King Jr. Day in San Diego!
People were enjoying drumming on the grass in Ruocco Park, near Seaport Village.
People were enjoying drumming on the grass in Ruocco Park, near Seaport Village.
This cool musician on the stage saw me taking a photo! Hello!
This cool musician on the stage saw me taking a photo! Hello!

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Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? Please visit Short Stories by Richard.

Veteran’s Day celebrated in Balboa Park.

Getting ready for the Veteran's Day Memorial Program at the House of USA Cottage in Balboa Park.
Getting ready for the Veteran’s Day Memorial Program at the House of USA Cottage in Balboa Park.

Today I enjoyed a special Veteran’s Day program in Balboa Park. It was held on the lawn at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. The City Guard Band of San Diego played some great music, including a composition titled San Diego Exposition March, written by Gunner Tolbert for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition held in Balboa Park. Some other pieces I heard were selections from South Pacific, Victory at Sea, and, of course, the Star Spangled Banner.

I took a number of photos, and ventured into the House of USA Cottage to absorb some of the atmosphere. I thought you’d might like to have a look. Please read the captions for some more interesting information.

The band is ready to play as people gather around the stage in the lawn area of the International Cottages. It's a Sunday afternoon in San Diego's beautiful Balboa Park.
The band is ready to play as people gather around the stage in the lawn area of the International Cottages. It’s a Sunday afternoon in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park.
City Guard Band of San Diego plays during a special Veteran's Day program. The band originated in 1880, when members were part of a local volunteer militia.
City Guard Band of San Diego plays during a special Veteran’s Day program. The band originated in 1880, when members were part of a local volunteer militia.
Old plaque at base of large tree in the middle of the surrounding cottages. Dedicated in honor of Arthur E. Vest, Department Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Old plaque at base of large tree near the center of the surrounding cottages. Dedicated in honor of Arthur E. Vest, Department Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.
A small Veteran's Day gathering in Balboa Park's friendly House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
A relaxed Veteran’s Day gathering at Balboa Park’s peaceful House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Folks at a table in front of the House of USA Cottage listen to the band play patriotic and other popular tunes.
Folks at a table in front of the House of USA Cottage listen to the band play patriotic and other popular tunes.
These fine ladies smiled for my camera! Those treats on the table are well known to this blogger!
These fine ladies smiled for my camera! Those treats on the table are well known to this blogger!
American flag and a Welcome at the front door of the USA cottage in Balboa Park.
American flag and a Welcome at the front door of the USA cottage in Balboa Park.
Inside the USA cottage. Welcome home all the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
Inside the USA cottage. Welcome home all the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
Famous portraits and memorabilia from American history cover walls and fill shelves in the House of USA Cottage.
Famous portraits and memorabilia from American history cover walls and fill shelves in the House of USA Cottage.
Playing the piano for anyone who wanders in on another perfect sunny San Diego day. Someone was whistling nearby.
Playing the piano for anyone who wanders in on another perfect sunny San Diego day. Someone was whistling nearby.
The Stars and Stripes and books concerning Americana.
The Stars and Stripes and various books celebrating Americana.
Playing joyful music, from marches to musicals, celebrating those who've served to protect our freedom.
Playing sparkling music, from marches to musicals, celebrating those who’ve served to protect our freedom.

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