San Diego students learn to write, recite poetry!

Teachers reading this blog, heads up!

Write Out Loud in San Diego offers several great educational programs that encourage students to thoughtfully read, write, speak and listen!

Yesterday, at the Arts in the Park event in Chula Vista, I learned how students can experience the transformative power of poetry!

Let Your Voice Be Heard is a program of Write Out Loud that provides free poetry writing workshops in schools. Students K-12 are inspired to reach within themselves and express their thoughts and emotions with a poem. Selected works are then displayed in libraries and retail businesses!

Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation competition for high school students. This educational program encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country…students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

I was told that some teachers, like many students, are bewildered and a bit intimidated by the very idea of poetry. But why? Poetry is simply words flowing from our inner selves. There’s no right or wrong. There’s no need to be exalted or profound. Just be yourself. And, possibly, learn a little more about yourself in the process!

Teachers, please explore all the educational programs offered by Write Out Loud by visiting their website here!

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 short story about a search in the dark.

Back in Middle School, a bunch of classmates and I spent a summer weekend camping on Catalina Island. At the Parsons Landing primitive campground to be exact.

We hiked all over the north part of Catalina and saw bison, cliff dived into the ocean, sat around a campfire, and even went on an afternoon snipe hunt. (We saw bison? That’s correct! A small herd of bison was transported to this Southern California island by Hollywood for the filming of The Thundering Herd, a 1925 silent movie.)

The snipe hunt fascinated me. We headed up one of the trails above the campground searching right and left and occasionally beating a bush with a stick. Everyone knew from the start that the snipes weren’t real, but we all had fun “hunting” them anyway. At least for a little while. I think what made the snipe hunt fun was the shared joke, and the fact that we were heading up a trail that was new to us.

An idea for a short story came to me some time ago, based loosely on that snipe hunt experience. Of course, I changed many elements for my fictional story. It was necessary that I make the setting of the story a dark night.

You’ll see why when you read my new story, The Snipe Hunt, by clicking here!

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!

To read a few thought-provoking stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Makers, dreamers, inventors come together in San Diego!

After a long pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Diego Makers Guild is looking to reenergize. Innovators and fun-loving creators are welcome to join!

I stumbled upon the San Diego Makers Guild tent at the Escondido Street Festival today. They are seeking cool new ideas and pathways to follow as makers move into a technology driven, ever evolving future. Interested? Hook up with them!

I was surprised to hear Dexter explain he’d helped build those awesome Cupcake Cars that have roamed around Balboa Park during past Maker Faires!

You can learn more about the San Diego Makers Guild by visiting their website here!

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!

Will this be your futuristic “wearable” car in 2050?

A futuristic car–a new form of wearable machine–is presently on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.

The Nissan GT-R 2050 is a full-size prototype made at Nissan Design America, San Diego. It was designed by student intern Jaebum “JB” Choi to be an autonomous, human-connected vehicle of the far future!

According to the Nissan website, The completed project runs just under 10 feet long and sits just over two feet high. The single occupant, the driver, rests horizontally in a “prone” position with limbs extended in an X-shape. The driver wears a futuristic, form-fitting suit and helmet that resembles a superbike riders’ protective helmets and leathers.

Does it come with a Bat Cave, too?

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!

Become a citizen scientist in San Diego!

Would you like to make contributions to science? But you’re not a trained scientist?

You can easily become a citizen scientist!

Opportunities are available for ordinary people who’d like to use their passion or particular talents to help broaden our understanding of the natural world.

I discovered several great ideas while visiting the San Diego Natural History Museum recently. Signs spotted around the exhibition Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science provide details.

Most of the following ideas apply not just to San Diego residents, but to anyone anywhere. Here they are:

Become a member of iNaturalist and post photographs you’ve taken of living things in nature. Scientists will identify what you recorded. Nature lovers around the world can discuss your observations. You’ll contribute to our shared understanding of biodiversity. To learn more click here.

Participate in the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count or Great Backyard Bird Count. Critically important data collected during these events is used by scientists to study bird populations across the country. To learn more click here.

Participate in the Celebrate Urban Birds project. Spend ten minutes helping scientists understand how common birds are doing in urban settings. More than a quarter of a million ordinary people have already made observations! To learn more click here. (Balboa Park’s own WorldBeat Center has participated in this project. Read about that here!)

Become a summer camper at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. Over the years, people walking around Balboa Park have observed green anole lizards, which aren’t native to San Diego. It was determined by the museum’s young summer campers that the green anoles were the descendants of escapees. These lizards had once been used as food for other animals at the San Diego Zoo! To learn more about attending summer camp at theNAT, click here. (Scholarships are available!)

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!

Graffiti Art Park at UC San Diego.

Some might be surprised that at UC San Diego, a premier research university, where faculty and staff have been awarded an astonishing 71 Nobel Prizes, student graffiti is encouraged.

Spray painted creativity and thoughts written by students fill several large boards at UCSD’s colorful Graffiti Art Park. The art park is located among eucalyptus trees south of Mandeville Auditorium, near Art of Espresso’s outdoor patio.

As you can see, some of the artwork is quite striking.

I read the numerous posted rules and then pondered possible contradictions. How free is the speech? And isn’t graffiti about breaking rules?

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!

An idea for San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital in 2024.

Last Saturday, at the conclusion of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Open House tour of the Design and Innovation Building at UC San Diego, our group listened to a talk on the second floor concerning San Diego-Tijuana’s designation as World Design Capital in 2024. (Wow, that’s quite a sentence!)

Needless to say, it’s super exciting that our two-city cross-border metropolitan area has received such a distinguished award. Read more about the many efforts that were undertaken to achieve this recognition here.

As World Design Capital, San Diego-Tijuana will not only showcase our region’s optimistic culture of progress and innovation, but it will be a chance for people in the community to come together and catalyze positive change!

As I listened to the talk, full of high-sounding jargon, outlining future events for professionals, I wondered what would excite ordinary people (like me) and spur greater involvement from the public. And an idea popped: why not have a big, fun, family-friendly World Design Fair event in Balboa Park? Something akin to the parkwide, very popular Maker Faire?

Designers, inventors, educators, planners, makers, futurists, environmentalists, kids, scientists, students, museums, civic leaders, dreamers . . . all coming together to celebrate, share ideas, learn and have fun!

And on top of that, it’s our amazing, beloved Balboa Park!

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!

Exhibit of 19th century patent models at UCSD.

Anyone interested in inventions, technology and history would love an exhibit now on display at UC San Diego. The fourth floor of the Design and Innovation Building is where you’ll find Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention.

The exhibit features 19th century patent models from the collection of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware.

Some of the artifacts might appear primitive and quaint to those who live in the 21st century, but they’re a reminder that unlimited human imagination and generations of visionaries, experimenters and builders have produced the complex technology that we take for granted today.

I walked around the exhibit last Saturday, peering into various glass display cases and reading signs that detail the history and progress of American invention.

I learned that by the late 1860’s, during the golden age of American invention, more than 13,000 patents were issued every year. But as applications continued to increase in number, the resulting deluge of patent models became difficult to cope with. After a change in regulations by the Commissioner of Patents in 1880, models eventually became a rare part of the patent application process.

Inventors highlighted in the exhibit include women, immigrants and people of color, and there are descriptions of struggles through the years for equal recognition and opportunity. Many of the inventors were “everyday” people inspired by a really good idea.

Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention is open through November 6, 2022. Reservations are required. You can reserve a tour by visiting this page.

I took a few photos…

The spirit of ingenuity characterizes America…
Patent Model – Life-preserving state room for navigable vessels. Patent #20,426.
Patent Model – Improvement in electro-magnetic induction-coils. Patent #138,316.
Women invented in industries ranging from agriculture to shipping…
Patent models by 19th century women inventors.

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 tour of UCSD’s new Design and Innovation Building.

Last Saturday I enjoyed a tour inside the new Design and Innovation Building at UC San Diego. The special tour, part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event, was one of many opportunities for the public to go “behind the scenes” at fascinating places around the city.

The Design and Innovation Building opened late last year. This great article describes the building as “A place where disruptive ideas come together to spark learning, technology, collaboration and new ventures.”

Inside the building it feels very spacious. Hallways are lined with large inside windows, allowing one to see activity in classrooms and labs and practically everywhere you turn. From the third floor you can look up through part of the ceiling to see the fourth floor. Even during the tour when the building was quiet, I had the feeling that I was moving freely through an incredible, connected, creative space.

The floors, from first to fourth, are called: The Basement, Maker Space, The Design Lab and the Entrepreneurship Center. Our student tour guide described how ideas proceed upward through the building, forming in The Basement, undergoing design and testing in the Maker Space, then rising to the Entrepreneurship Center where products can be brought to market. The Design Lab is where “faculty from the arts, humanities, engineering and the sciences join forces to solve complex issues related to education, health, mobility, communication and urban planning.”

The building will eventually include a good old restaurant on the first floor, but above all it was designed to inspire innovation.

I was excited to discover a museum-like room on the fourth floor of the building, with a gallery full of inventions! The exhibit is titled Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention. It was so cool, I think I’ll post a separate blog concerning it!

Now, to give you a taste of what our tour group saw, on with the photos…

Looking into a classroom on the first floor of the Design and Innovation Building.
Bits of stimulating art on the first floor.
Looking down from the second floor.
A room where there are seminars open to the public. At the conclusion of the building tour, our group heard a talk here about the selection of San Diego-Tijuana as 2024 World Design Capital.
We walk out onto the second floor terrace, with great views across UCSD, including the nearby trolley station.
Walking through the Maker Space on the second floor.
Display includes rapid prototyping.
I took this quick pic as we moved along.
Windows into the future.
A metalworking shop, if I recall correctly.
Tables where people with unique ideas can freely interact.
Gazing up from the third to the fourth floor.
One fascinating room at the Design Lab: Speculative Ecology and Bioarchitecture.
A room on the fourth floor where students can speak to entrepreneurs.
Social Contract on a fourth floor wall. I am joining an inclusive, collaborative community of partners. Together we will extend and expand the innovation economy in San Diego…
Nearby post-it dreams. Seeing beyond the horizon…Curating your knowledge and influence to create or envision something new…Solve problem in a new way…Opportunity and solutions with flare…

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!

Books celebrated at Local Author Showcase!

The 56th Annual Local Author Showcase is presently on display at the San Diego Central Library!

Local writers whose work was published last year are being honored for their hard work and success. Every sort of book is included in the showcase: fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, children’s picture books, poetry, music, history, religion, politics, travel guides, self-improvement . . . you name it! And eBooks, too! The authors, young and old, come from every walk of life, and their words all combine to enrich our shared culture and understanding.

I see that in 2021 books came out about Balboa Park, Ted Leitner, Father Joe, and the Padres. And I see a fun book about a visit to the San Diego Library, too!

If you want to learn more about the City of San Diego’s Local Author Program, check out the web page concerning it here.

The Local Author Showcase can be viewed on the ground floor of the downtown Central Library through the end of February.

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!