Unusual, artistic street signs line Park Boulevard.

Unusual street sign on Park Boulevard shows a road in someone's hand.
Unusual street sign on Park Boulevard shows the road in someone’s hand.

A dozen very unusual, artistic street signs line Park Boulevard in the vicinity of Balboa Park. Drive north and you’ll see them standing at intervals, all the way from Presidents Way up to Upas Street. For many years I’ve noted them.

I’m not sure how passing drivers respond to all the crazy artwork. I’m pretty sure these unique signs aren’t included in the Department of Motor Vehicles driving test! I hope not!

UPDATE!

I’ve learned this installation of art is titled Night Visions, by artist Roberto Salas. They first appeared in 1988, a year our city hosted the Super Bowl. According to what I read, in 1989 Night Visions was the very first acquisition of public art by the City of San Diego.

This funny sign shows a magician pulling a rabbit from hat.
This funny sign shows a magician pulling a rabbit from hat.
Drivers might think the speed limit here is 11 miles per hour.
Drivers might think the speed limit here is 11 miles per hour!
Odd, speckled sign stands beside Balboa Park's rose garden.
Odd, speckled sign stands beside Balboa Park’s rose garden.
This crazy sign is a meteoric explosion of creativity.
This crazy sign is a meteoric explosion of creativity.
Car near San Diego Zoo entrance heeds artistic street sign, I'm sure.
Car near San Diego Zoo entrance heeds artistic street sign, I’m sure.
Does this sign indicate that a lizard is crossing?
Does this sign indicate that a lizard is crossing?
This unofficial street sign is open for interpretation.
This unofficial street sign is open for interpretation.

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Amazing sight before the Big Bay Balloon Parade!

Balloons of every color and shape bob and rise above the gathering handlers.
Balloons of every color rise and bob above costumed handlers.

I headed down to the Embarcadero a good hour before the start of today’s 2014 Big Bay Balloon Parade. I hoped to capture some fun balloon pics. I succeeded!

The staging area, where the amazing, colorful balloons were being inflated, appeared like a vision in a wonderful dream, with gigantic faces and forms swaying high in the sky. It seemed as if they’d become magically alive!

These photos were taken in a large parking lot north of the County Administration Building. The Big Bay Balloon Parade, held every year in San Diego shortly before the Holiday Bowl, proceeded south on Harbor Drive and ended at Seaport Village.

Tourists pass staging area for San Diego's 2014 Big Bay Balloon Parade.
Tourists pass staging area for San Diego’s 2014 Big Bay Balloon Parade.
This is the nation's largest balloon parade. The event is held just before the Holiday Bowl.
This is the nation’s largest balloon parade. The event is held just before the Holiday Bowl.
Costumed San Diegans enter a fantastic world of huge smileys and ice cream cones.
Costumed balloon handlers enter a fantastic world of huge smileys and ice cream cones.
A giant traditional Christmas nutcracker tips a bit in the sea breeze.
A giant traditional Christmas nutcracker tips a bit in the San Diego sea breeze.
This big inflatable American flag will be part of the upcoming parade.
This big inflatable American flag will be part of the upcoming parade.
Cool! I see Mr. Potato Head!
Cool! A favorite toy when I was a kid!  I see Mr. Potato Head!
Balloons fill the blue sky, and so does a penguin in a tuxedo.
Balloons fill the blue sky, and so does a penguin in a tuxedo.
Are those gigantic pinatas? They must contain lots of candy!
Are those gigantic pinatas? They must contain lots of candy!
Preparation for the parade includes unrolling something wrinkly near an octopus.
Preparation for the parade includes unrolling something wrinkly near an octopus.
This colorful mess is destined to transform into a delightful big balloon!
This colorful mess is destined to transform into a delightful big balloon!
Happy bumble bee billows as it's filled with helium in parade staging area.
Happy bumble bee billows as it’s filled with helium in parade staging area.
USS Midway Museum had a lighter-than-air jet fighter.
USS Midway Museum had a lighter-than-air jet fighter.
Happiness is super-sized like a wonderful waking dream.
Happiness is super-sized like a wonderful waking dream.
Fun, happy childhood stuff flying all over the place. Marvelous mayhem!
Fun, happy childhood stuff flying all over the place. Marvelous mayhem!

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A garden and poem at New Children’s Museum.

New Children's Museum Garden Project beside Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.
The New Children’s Museum Garden Project beside Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

I can’t stand being cooped up inside, especially on Christmas, so around noon I went out for a short walk around a sunny but very quiet downtown San Diego. I didn’t intend to blog about anything, but here I am posting a few pics anyway. That’s because I was impressed by the beauty of a very small spot along a popular walkway.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade runs along a portion of Harbor Drive, and it passes San Diego’s fun New Children’s Museum. In addition to a playground right next to the pathway, there’s a very small urban garden. The museum’s Garden Project is a demonstration area that allows children to explore a few plants and the basics of gardening. Some art is incorporated into the space, and a surprising poem!

Small garden plot beside children's play area contains flowers and a few edible plants.
Small garden plot beside children’s play area contains flowers and a few edible plants.
Kids can explore gardening and learn with their own hands about our environment.
Kids can explore gardening and learn with their own hands about our environment.
Bicycle wheels and a couple scarecrows add to the fun in the Garden Project.
Bicycle wheels and a couple of scarecrows add to the fun in the Garden Project.
A few vegetables in plots enjoy the downtown San Diego sunshine!
A few vegetables in plots enjoy the downtown San Diego sunshine!
A whimsical poem is inscribed on a long wall enclosing the small garden.
A whimsical poem is inscribed on a long wall enclosing the small garden.

I should’ve photographed this entire poem, but I assumed at the time that it could be found on the internet. I was wrong! The poem seems like a fun, playful bit of writing, and I can’t make heads or tails of it looking at my few photos. Oh, well. I’ll leave it to you to reconstruct the verses I’ve selected!

I did figure out that the poem was written by Quincy Thomas Troupe, Jr., who used to be a professor at the University of California, San Diego, just up the coast in La Jolla. He is known for his biography of Miles Davis, the legendary jazz musician. Quincy also helped to write The Pursuit of Happyness, a true story which was adapted into the popular film starring Will Smith. (I love that movie!)

The poem bounds along with crazy, almost nonsensical words.
The poem bounds along with crazy, almost nonsensical words.
Hopping frogs seem to be important characters in this silly poem.
Hopping frogs seem to be important characters in this silly poem.
The poetry was written by local San Diego author Quincy Troupe.
The poetry was written by local San Diego author Quincy Troupe.
A beautiful sight greets pedestrians strolling down Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.
A beautiful sight greets pedestrians strolling down Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

Here are two photos I took the following spring of flowers in the garden:

Perfect beauty.
Perfect beauty.
Bursts of color.
Bursts of color.

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Cool mural at Restaurant Depot in Barrio Logan.

Super cool artwork depicts local community, history and sea life themes.
Super cool artwork depicts local community, history and sea life themes.

I don’t know much about this mural, apart from the fact that it’s huge, colorful and super cool. For years, it seems, scaffolding has stood against the long portion along Harbor Drive. Just recently the scaffolding vanished, and the brilliant, dynamic street art is fully visible in all its glory!

You can find this urban art at the intersection of Cesar Chavez Parkway and Harbor Drive, just south of downtown in Barrio Logan. It decorates the high wall that encloses the parking lot at Restaurant Depot.

I took these photos as I walked south to north along Harbor Drive, then turned west at the intersection for a little more fun artwork.

Enjoy!

Long wall along Harbor Drive is the canvas for this very large street mural.
Long wall along Harbor Drive is the canvas for this very large street mural.
Proximity to San Diego Bay inspires painted marine animals.
Proximity to San Diego Bay inspires painted marine animals.
This big fish seems to be watching for pedestrians on the Barrio Logan sidewalk.
This big fish seems to be watching for pedestrians on the Barrio Logan sidewalk.
A scuba diver seems unaware a large hungry shark looms just behind!
A scuba diver seems unaware a large hungry shark looms just behind!
Mother with young child gazes out at the blue Pacific Ocean.
Mother with young child gazes out at the blue Pacific Ocean.
People from all walks of life populate this very human work of art.
People from all walks of life populate this very human work of art.
San Diego Trolley travels through a scene similar to those found in nearby Chicano Park.
San Diego Trolley travels through a scene similar to those found in nearby Chicano Park.
Painted passengers on a trolley seem visible through a window.
Painted passengers on a trolley seem visible through a window.
Aztec warrior in elaborate costume blows on a ceremonial conch.
Aztec warrior in elaborate costume blows on a ceremonial conch.
Nearby Chicano Park's pavilion is shown with lots of folks dancing.
Nearby Chicano Park’s pavilion is shown with lots of folks dancing.
Young man and lady dance on the festive outdoor mural.
Young man and lady dance on the festive outdoor mural.
Musicians play instruments adding flavor to the celebration.
Musicians play instruments adding flavor to the celebration.
History of Our Community includes the once vital tuna fishing industry.
History of Our Community includes the once vital tuna fishing industry.
The lives of past and present residents provide generations of stories.
The lives of past and present residents provide generations of stories.
Fish caught in local waters just off San Diego.
Fish caught in local waters just off San Diego.
The end of Harbor Drive section, and now we'll turn west for a bit more...
The end of Harbor Drive section, and now we’ll turn west for a bit more…
Walking around the mural on the high wall at Restaurant Depot.
Walking around the mural on the high wall at Restaurant Depot.
This north-facing wall contains lots of bright aquatic life!
This north-facing wall contains lots of bright aquatic life!
Beautifully painted fish, a seahorse, jellyfish and starfish.
Beautifully painted fish, a seahorse, jellyfish and starfish.
An orange Garibaldi just above the sparkling ocean bottom.
An orange Garibaldi just above the sparkling ocean bottom.
Kelp frames the end of this long, amazing mural in Barrio Logan.
Kelp frames the end of this long, amazing mural in Barrio Logan.
This super fun street art is a landmark that is very hard to miss!
This super fun street art is a landmark that is very hard to miss!

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Dr. Seuss lives at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas banner on the Old Globe Theatre.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas banner on the Old Globe Theatre.

I saw on television that the Dr. Seuss Christmas tree in Balboa Park’s theatre complex was officially lighted a few days ago. I missed the event! Darn it! It looked like a whole lot of fun!

During my walk this morning, I decided to swing past San Diego’s famous Old Globe Theatre and check things out. It looks like all the colorful holiday decorations are up, and everything’s ready for the big Balboa Park December Nights festival in a couple weeks.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas has played at the Globe for seventeen consecutive seasons. Theodor Geisel, better known as much-beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, lived in nearby La Jolla, a beautiful neighborhood just north of downtown San Diego.

Dr. Seuss Christmas tree at the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.
Dr. Seuss Christmas tree at the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.
The fun Christmas tree is up again in Theodor Seuss Geisel's hometown!
The fun Christmas tree is up again in Theodor Seuss Geisel’s home city!
Kids love the Dr. Seuss displays all around the Old Globe plaza area.
Kids love the whimsical Dr. Seuss displays all around the Old Globe plaza area.
Another Who from Whoville near bench in the Craig Noel Garden.
Another Who from Whoville hanging out near a bench in the Craig Noel Garden.
Fun Grinch shirts for sale at the very cool Old Globe gift shop.
Fun Grinch shirts for sale at the very cool Old Globe gift shop.
Family gets a festive holiday photograph by the Seuss tree in Balboa Park.
Family gets a festive holiday photograph by the Seuss tree in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
The grouchy old green Grinch is peering over the gift shop!
The grouchy old green Grinch is peering over the gift shop’s roof!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is playing at the Old Globe for its 17th season!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is playing at the Old Globe for its 17th season!

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Spooky fun Boulevard BOO! Parade thrills kids.

Boy dressed as tin man enjoys Boulevard BOO! Parade in San Diego.
Boy dressed as tin man enjoys Boulevard BOO! Parade in San Diego.

I’ve heard about San Diego’s only Halloween parade for years. Today I checked it out!

The Boulevard BOO! Parade is now ten years old. It takes place every late October on El Cajon Boulevard near College Avenue. The neighborhood, just south of San Diego State University, appears to have really embraced this annual Halloween event!

Hundreds of families turned out to view the fun spectacle. The BOO! Parade is mostly for kids, and many young spectators had trick-or-treat bags and were in costume themselves!

Here are my best pics!

10th annual BOO! Parade took place on El Cajon Boulevard.
10th annual BOO! Parade took place on El Cajon Boulevard.
Two scary zombie kids were seen lurching down the street before the parade began.
Two scary zombie kids were seen lurching down the street before the parade began.
These pirates were being rascally and rambunctious in the parade staging area!
These pirates were being rascally and rambunctious in the parade staging area!
BOO! Parade kicks off a few blocks west of College Avenue in the late morning.
BOO! Parade kicks off a few blocks west of College Avenue in the late morning.

The tall ghostly blue creature is the character Boo!

Super tall Boo is blue, and he seems to blend in with the clouds.
Super tall Boo is blue, and he seems to blend in with the clouds.
Looks like all the regular monsters have shown up for this big Halloween parade!
Looks like all the regular monsters have shown up for this big Halloween parade!
There were a few not-so-scary clowns around, too!
There were a few not-so-scary clowns around, too!
Marine Corps marching band gets things rolling near start of parade.
Marine Corps marching band gets things rolling near start of parade.
One of many creative floats seen during the fun late October parade.
One of many creative floats seen during the fun late October parade.
Two different Ghostbusters cars were in the parade.
Two different Ghostbusters cars were in the parade.
Kids get goodies from a ghostbuster patrolling El Cajon Boulevard.
Kids get goodies from a ghostbuster patrolling El Cajon Boulevard.
Costumed parade participants from San Diego Center for the Blind.
Costumed parade participants from San Diego Center for the Blind.
Here come some smiling SDSU cheerleaders.
Here come some smiling SDSU cheerleaders.
The San Diego State University mascot Aztec Warrior gives a high five!
The San Diego State University mascot Aztec Warrior gives a high five!
Lots of cars in the parade were draped with creepy cobwebs.
Lots of cars in the parade were draped with creepy cobwebs.
Kids marching in the parade wore every sort of cool costume you can imagine!
Kids marching in the parade wore every sort of cool costume you can imagine!
Here comes a long line of classic cars with spooky decorations.
Here comes a long line of classic cars with spooky decorations.
A witch waves to a passing skeleton!
A witch waves to a passing skeleton!
The San Diego Police Department must be hiring guys with evil pumpkin heads!
The San Diego Police Department must be hiring guys with evil pumpkin heads!
One of two pirate ships I saw. This was most definitely very cool.
One of two pirate ships I saw. This was most definitely very cool.
Little zombies do a dance routine!
Little zombies do a dance routine!
Several schools were in the parade and everyone was having a blast.
Several schools were in the parade and everyone was having a blast.
Here come the Shriners in their Halloween-themed mini-cars!
Here come the Shriners in their Halloween-themed mini-cars!
And here come more clowns out of the woodwork.
And here come more clowns out of the woodwork.
The second pirate ship rolls along with some waving beauty queens.
The second pirate ship rolls along with some waving beauty queens.
A beauty queen is wearing a big, golden pharaoh headdress!
A beauty queen is wearing a big, golden pharaoh headdress!
I suppose these young ladies are the queens of Zombieland!
I suppose these young ladies are the queens of Zombieland!
And this beauty queen is dressed up as macaroni and cheese!
And this beauty queen is dressed up as macaroni and cheese!
Looks like the ROTC is recruiting young monsters.
Looks like the ROTC is recruiting young monsters.
Headless parader thrills girls and shocks poor old mom.
Headless parader thrills girls and shocks poor old mom.
A whole lot of fun was enjoyed by thousands today, young and old.
A whole lot of fun was enjoyed by thousands today, young and old.
Utility box on El Cajon Boulevard painted with scenes from BOO! Parade.
Utility box on El Cajon Boulevard painted with scenes from BOO! Parade.

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Signs of Halloween in downtown San Diego.

Scarecrow and hay bales at pumpkin patch in San Diego's new waterfront park.
Scarecrow and hay bales at pumpkin patch in San Diego’s new waterfront park.

During my mid-afternoon walk around downtown San Diego today, I was watching for fun Halloween photo opportunities. It’s less than two weeks away!  I had a little bit of luck…

(The above pic was taken after all the pumpkins were snatched up, but lots of families were still about enjoying the pleasant day!)

Spiders on side of Little Italy building wrap a skeleton.
Spiders on side of Little Italy building wrap a skeleton.
Spooky shredded sails of haunted Star of India on Embarcadero.
Spooky shredded sails of haunted Star of India flutter in wind on the Embarcadero.
Gaslamp parties celebrate Halloween and Day of the Dead.
Gaslamp parties celebrate Halloween and Mexico’s Day of the Dead.
Alamo Flags at Seaport Village has a smelly witch foot!
Trick or treat?  Alamo Flags at Seaport Village has a smelly witch foot!
Just relaxing on a nice Autumn Sunday by the Seaport Village carousel.
Just relaxing on a nice cool Autumn Sunday by the Seaport Village carousel.
Kid checks out pumpkins and colorful display at Seaport Village.
Kid checks out pumpkins and colorful leafy display at Seaport Village.
Gaslamp banners advertise a monster bash block party.
Gaslamp banners advertise a monster bash block party.
Donut Bar window contains a scary skull-headed server!
Donut Bar window downtown contains a scary skull-headed server!

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