I support restoring the Palisades in Balboa Park.

Some supporters of Balboa Park, including The Committee of One Hundred, would like to restore the Palisades area of the park to its former glory. I learned about this visionary effort on Labor Day while grabbing some napkins at the cafe inside the Casa de Balboa. A stack of postcards had been placed nearby. I picked one up. Here’s a photo:

Photos on a postcard created by The Committee of One Hundred shows Balboa Park's Palisades area in 1935 and 2017.
A postcard created by The Committee of One Hundred shows Balboa Park’s Palisades area in 1935 and 2017.

As you can see, in 1935, during the California Pacific International Exposition, the Palisades contained spacious lawns, flowers and benches where today you’ll find a large ugly parking lot.

Sounds familiar? For decades the Plaza de Panama on El Prado contained a similarly ugly parking lot. But after that parking lot’s removal and replacement with tables, umbrellas, potted greenery and public art, the Plaza de Panama has become a bustling hub of activity full of people enjoying the sunny San Diego outdoors, as was originally intended.

Now back to the Palisades area. After a little more research, I’ve learned The Committee of One Hundred is already working to replace the four long-lost murals that used to be above the entrance of the 1935 California State Building, which is home to the San Diego Automotive Museum. To see more about that project, check out The Committee of One Hundred’s 2017 newsletter.

Given what I’ve read and know, I must say I’m in full agreement with the idea of restoring the Palisades. The parking lot is an absolute eyesore and many of the surrounding buildings appear bare and decayed. Most people who park here don’t linger. They immediately head in the direction of El Prado.

The Palisades parking lot seems completely unnecessary. Today, without spending a penny in construction, it appears to me there’s already plenty of parking across Park Boulevard south of the Veterans Museum–that huge lower lot is usually mostly empty. Simply add signage and one or two more stops for the parking shuttle.

When San Diego Comic-Con opens their new museum in the Federal Building next year, I imagine many more visitors will be drawn into the Palisades area. It seems to me the energetic people at Comic-Con International and other museums who would greatly benefit from a revitalization of the Palisades–the San Diego Air and Space Museum in particular–could use their considerable combined influence to help speed a beautiful restoration.

And why must it be an exact restoration? Why not add more flowers, some new outdoor art, and even a lively, splashing fountain? Why not both restore history and make history? Balboa Park should be forward-looking, optimistic, alive! San Diego’s world-renowned gem could shine even more brightly! Just imagine!

New mural in San Diego extols humility, nobility.

A new mural in downtown San Diego contains great wisdom, extolling two human values. Be humble. Be noble.
A new mural in downtown San Diego contains great wisdom, extolling two human values. Be humble. Be noble.

A new street mural in downtown San Diego is being completed even as I post this! It’s being painted on a large parking lot wall just south of C Street, between Front Street and 1st Avenue. Check it out!

The artist, Trek Thunder Kelly, who operates out of Venice Beach, California, is known for creating unique designs that mix oddly contrasting messages and images. The cool mural that he’s working on at this very moment is sponsored by the internet retail company Zappos, and it extols one of their stated core values: humility. I couldn’t help but notice the quote highlights another important human virtue: nobility.

Be humble. You are made of earth.
Be noble. You are made of stars.

These powerful true words come from a Serbian proverb.

When I spoke to Trek, it sounded like he’d paint some of the stars with glow-in-the-dark phosphorescent paint. At this point he has a limited supply, so it will have to be artistically applied. I can’t wait to see the completed artwork!

Be humble. You are made of earth. Be noble. You are made of stars.
Be humble. You are made of earth. Be noble. You are made of stars.

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

To read a few philosophical short stories, click Short Stories by Richard.

Help protect the environment: Cool ideas at EarthFair.

Use cans and old kitchen tools for plant pots! Dryer lint as cotton with nail polish remover to take off polish!
Use cans and old kitchen tools for plant pots! Dryer lint as cotton with nail polish remover to take off polish!

Late this morning, I walked from Cortez Hill to the 2016 EarthFair in Balboa Park. The cool event, corresponding with Earth Day, is the largest annual environmental fair in the world!

Thousands turned out for 2016 EarthFair in Balboa Park, where San Diego celebrates Earth Day and learns how to help the environment.
Thousands turned out today for the 2016 EarthFair in Balboa Park.  San Diego residents celebrated Earth Day and learned how to help protect the environment.

I blogged about EarthFair the last couple of years and showed you a little bit of almost everything–so this time I decided to take a different, more practical approach. As I walked through San Diego’s garden-like Balboa Park, I searched the many exhibits for useful ideas about things we can do in our daily lives to protect the environment.

Here are a few things I found. Please read the captions! And feel free to share!

1. Ideas for creatively repurposing used household items.

One major theme of EarthFair was re-using and repurposing old items that might otherwise be thrown away. I noted some cool ideas and took pics!

Poster shows many creative repurposing ideas! Click photo to enlarge and read some cool, very unusual ideas that you might try!
Poster shows many creative repurposing ideas! Click photo to enlarge and read some cool, very unusual ideas that you might try!
These shiny, colorful handbags were made from recycled Kool-Aid and Capri Sun packets!
These shiny, colorful handbags were made from recycled Kool-Aid and Capri Sun packets!
Take old clothes to make new clothes for homeless and toys for kids.
Take old clothes to make new clothes for homeless and toys for kids.
Recycling vintage fabric into baby bibs.
Recycling vintage fabric into baby bibs.
Turn old sweaters into beautiful pillows.
Turn old sweaters into beautiful pillows.
People check out the world's largest fair celebrating Earth Day--EarthFair in San Diego's sunny Balboa Park!
People check out the world’s largest festival celebrating Earth Day–EarthFair in San Diego’s sunny Balboa Park!

2. Tasty ways to use up excess fruits and vegetables.

One display created by the County of San Diego provided excellent information about how to use leftover or surplus fruits and vegetables, to avoid unnecessary waste. Those pics came out blurry, so here’s what I noted:

Spinach–add to sandwiches, soups, egg dishes, pasta or smoothies.

Bananas–add to cereal, yogurt or smoothies. Blend frozen bananas with milk and vanilla for a healthy dessert.

Citrus–add to green or fruit salads, soups, pasta or sauces. Add peels to vinegar for a simple household cleaner.

Tomatoes–add to salads, egg dishes, sandwiches or pasta. Use to make fresh salsa, tomato sauce or bruschetta.

Onions–add to salads, soups, egg dishes, sandwiches or stir-fry. Pickle red onions. Make onion preserves.

Peppers–add to sandwiches, salads, egg dishes or stir-fry. Steam and puree to make soup or a sauce for meat or pasta.

Avocados–add to smoothies, salads, sandwiches, egg dishes or baked goods. Spread on toast. Use in pasta sauce with lemon, garlic, oil and basil.

Beets–add to salads, soups or stir-fry. Use roasted beets in place of meat on sandwiches.

Broccoli and Cauliflower–add to salads, soups, egg dishes or stir-fry. Add finely chopped or grated cauliflower to rice.

Berries–add to fruit or green salads, hot or cold cereals, smoothies or yogurt. Use in a fruit salsa served with bread or chips.

Potatoes–add to salads, soups or egg dishes. Use russet potatoes to make potato skins. Use leftover baked potatoes to make hashbrowns.

Corn–add to soups or salads. Use to make a fresh corn salsa. Bake into cornbread or potato pancakes.

3. Things you can do to help protect the environment–and save money!

Here are a few displays I photographed that contained some great advice! Click the photos to enlarge them!

Compost can be made with shredded paper, grass clippings, wood chips, garden leftovers, leaves, livestock manure, chopped up yard debris and used coffee grounds.
Compost can be made with shredded paper, grass clippings, wood chips, garden leftovers, leaves, livestock manure, chopped up yard debris and used coffee grounds.
To save energy, use efficient lighting, adjust your thermostat, install solar, reduce driving, and keep you car maintained and tires properly inflated.
To save energy, use efficient lighting, adjust your thermostat, install solar, reduce driving, and keep your car maintained and tires properly inflated.
Check to see if your city offers free utility inspections and efficiency analysis. In San Diego, a free water survey program is available.
Check to see if your city offers free utility inspections and efficiency analysis. In San Diego, a free water survey program is available.
Ride a bicycle to work! In San Diego, Bike to Work Day in 2016 is Friday, May 20. You might consider walking or taking public transit, too!
Ride a bicycle to work! In San Diego, Bike to Work Day in 2016 is Friday, May 20. You might consider walking or taking public transit, too!
Many San Diegans saved energy, reduced air pollution and stayed healthy by riding their bicycles to EarthFair!
Many San Diegans saved energy, reduced air pollution and stayed healthy by riding their bicycles to EarthFair!

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 new blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Signs containing wisdom enlighten the city.

A small handwritten sign seen in a San Diego window. The danger of falling in love is falling in love.
A small handwritten sign seen in a San Diego window. The danger of falling in love is falling in love.

Here are some wise (or seemingly wise) signs that I’ve photographed during my walks around downtown San Diego. Some enlighten passersby, some add a touch of lightness or levity to daily life.

If there is one thing that Republicans and Democrats can agree on is that coffee is Great! Indeed, many things in life are.
If there is one thing that Republicans and Democrats can agree on is that coffee is Great! Indeed, many things in life are.
Perhaps this is wise. Perhaps not. Play today, work mañana.
Perhaps this is wise. Perhaps not. Play today, work mañana.
Hazard. One word warns of unseen danger under the smooth, peaceful water of San Diego Bay.
Hazard. One small word to the wise, warning of unseen danger under the deceptively peaceful water of San Diego Bay.
More wisdom inside another downtown window. Live in the moment, take chances, be here now, tell someone how much they mean to you.
More wise philosophy inside a downtown window. Live in the moment, take chances, be here now, tell someone how much they mean to you.
Sign on San Diego sidewalk. With our thoughts we make the world. Buddha.
Sign on San Diego sidewalk with a powerful, insightful quote. With our thoughts we make the world. Buddha.

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

Do you like to read short philosophical stories? You might enjoy checking out Short Stories by Richard.

Bright ideas, colorful art, a construction site fence.

Imagination. One work of art on a construction site fence in East Village.
Imagination. One work of art on a construction site fence in East Village.

One can find some colorful, imaginative artwork on a long construction site fence in East Village. In case you aren’t in San Diego, or simply can’t swing on by, I took some photographs!

The large city block bounded by the fence is the site of a new mixed-use development called IDEA1. The visionary urban project includes a combination of apartments, lofts, restaurants, retail and high-tech office space. At the center of it all will be a community gathering place, called The Hub. I can’t wait to see everything finished.

Meanwhile, we can enjoy this cool urban art!

A skyscraper joins the ranks of a vertical pencil, ruler and paint brush.
A skyscraper fits right in with a vertical pencil, ruler and paint brush.
A big construction crane in downtown San Diego rises over globs of color.
A big construction crane in downtown San Diego rises over globs of color.
A cloud containing llamas engulfs the upper stories of a very tall building.
A cloud containing llamas engulfs the upper stories of a very tall building. Okay, that’s just plain weird!  But I like it!
Discover Beyond. Beyond this construction fence, IDEA1 is rising. IDEA1 is a mixed-use residential and business project in East Village.
Discover Beyond. Beyond this construction fence, IDEA1 is rising. IDEA1 is a new mixed-use residential and business project in East Village.
A noodle coming out of a basket spells Idea. Care for some sushi?
A noodle coming out of a basket spells Idea. Care for some sushi?
Cool graphic shows street lamp, signs, a DecoBike station, traffic signal and trolley.
Cool graphic shows lamp, street signs, a DecoBike station, traffic signal and San Diego trolley.
Curious? I am.
Curious? I am.
A psychedelic, tree-lined eyeball between colorful barren branches.
A psychedelic, tree-lined eyeball between colorful barren branches.
Bright Idea at the corner of Park Boulevard and F Street in San Diego's East Village.
Bright Idea at the corner of Park Boulevard and F Street in San Diego’s East Village.
Top of idea, with wires coming out.
Top of one idea, with wires coming out.
A couple, a red umbrella, and city lights.
A couple, a red umbrella, and city lights.

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

Have you seen my new blog yet? I think you might enjoy it! It’s called Beautiful Balboa Park! It contains lots of fun, interesting stuff!

Questions writers can ask to develop new ideas.

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I wrote another article for Mostly Blogging! In it I ask a number of questions designed to help creative people brainstorm. I titled the guest post: Brainstorm fresh, new ideas for your blog!

You’re not a blogger? My article might help anyway! It’s all about digging into any subject matter more deeply, discovering new angles. Writers who have struggled to develop new ideas might find my article helpful!

Check it out by clicking here!

Join me for a bunch of cool sights on Facebook and Twitter!

Do you like to read inspirational, thought-provoking fiction? Visit my Short Stories by Richard writing blog!

Cool idea: San Diego Bay to Balboa Park Skyway!

Conceptual art displayed by County of San Diego Supervisor Ron Roberts at CityFest shows proposed aerial skyway from downtown to Balboa Park.
Conceptual art displayed by County of San Diego Supervisor Ron Roberts at CityFest shows proposed aerial skyway from downtown to Balboa Park.

I just got back from walking through CityFest in Hillcrest. Lots of cool pics are coming! But first, I saw some conceptual artwork being displayed by San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts that has renewed my enthusiasm for a proposed transportation project.

The proposal, which I read about months ago, is for an aerial tramway, or skyway, which would connect downtown San Diego to Balboa Park. It’s an idea that’s both visionary and practical!

San Diego is an extremely popular tourist destination. There are many great things to see, including beautiful, amazing, enormous Balboa Park. Balboa Park, over a mile (to its center) from downtown, is often said to be one of the two best urban parks in America, along with New York City’s Central Park. But there’s one problem. If you don’t have a rental car, you must reach it on foot, by rented bicycle, taxi, or by city or tour bus. For some tourists this might be impractical, too time consuming, or unappealing. A skyway linking downtown’s many hotels, attractions and convenient trolley network to Balboa Park, I believe, would be wildly successful.

Can you imagine all the folks who work in offices downtown, easily heading up to Balboa Park during lunchtime? Can you imagine how visually unique and appealing such a project, tastefully designed, might be? Forget a Ferris wheel or tower on the waterfront, I say. That’s been done elsewhere.  Let’s create something that’s both fun and extremely useful!

Living atop Cortez Hill, directly between downtown and Balboa Park, I can’t tell you how often I’ve given directions to lost San Diego visitors. They drive north only to reach a dead end at Tweet Street Park. They have to navigate confusing one way streets to find their way across Interstate 5, then figure out how to enter Balboa Park and locate a parking place. An aerial tram would help solve that problem, as well!

According to some literature I picked up from Ron Roberts, the San Diego Bay to Balboa Park Skyway, powered by a 500 horsepower electric engine, could carry up to 2400 people per hour.

The views of downtown, San Diego Bay and Balboa Park would be breathtaking.  The ride itself would almost certainly become one of San Diego’s top tourist attractions.

From what I’ve heard so far, the idea is awesome!

The cool San Diego Bay to Balboa Park Skyway would travel from the Gaslamp up Sixth Avenue, covering two miles in 12 minutes.
The cool San Diego Bay to Balboa Park Skyway would travel from the Gaslamp up Sixth Avenue, covering two miles in 12 minutes.

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