Inspiration found in small scenes of beauty.

Whenever I forget to look closely at the world, I miss the hidden beauty. And the unexpected inspiration.

These photographs were all taken today at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

This special garden’s breathtaking beauty has inspired a several very short stories. I wrote A Short BloomThe Child and the Koi and Waterfall Tears while sitting quietly by the stream that bubbles through the canyon.

I hope these photos–these small scenes of beauty–inspire you, 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!

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

Do you enjoy beautiful things? Visit my other photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

Seven blog memories that might touch your heart.

Here are seven posts from Cool San Diego Sights that might touch your heart. The following links contain powerful memories. You’ll find sadness, joy, hope, and much inspiration…

9/11 Firefighter’s legacy: Two Sons and Stickball.

A heartwarming Christmas tradition in San Diego.

Art by creative homeless provides purpose, hope.

Combat veterans create art to bring hope.

Quotes from the Tony Gwynn public memorial.

Students interview veterans for USS Midway exhibit.

Gratitude expressed by random people in a 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!

Strength and determination in wheelchair rugby.

Today I watched some of the world’s best athletes compete. I headed up to Balboa Park to experience the 28th Annual Best of the West Quad Rugby Tournament in the Municipal Gymnasium. Most people know the sport as wheelchair rugby, or murderball. That last name sounds rather tough, but it’s for a good reason.

The quad rugby players that participated in this tournament are among the best in the world. Some have competed in the Paralympic Games. There were teams from California, Arizona, Texas and Minnesota, and even from London and Australia. The amazing team from Australia was this year’s Best of the West champion.

At the very top level, wheelchair rugby players are unbelievable athletes. They are strong, fast, agile, and can turn and accelerate on a dime. To block opposing players, trap them defensively, or upset an unfolding strategy, players will literally smash their chairs into one another. As if in some sort of crazy demolition derby, the bashing wheelchairs sometimes tip sideways, even turn over. And the players don’t seem fazed in the least. Each is an irresistible force, determined to assist their teammates and find a way through the opposition to score, no matter how.

Here are a few photos that capture a bit of the action.

The composition of one photograph turned out to be exceptionally dynamic, but the image was completely unfocused, so I altered it to appear like a cool oil painting.

You really have to see quad rugby in person to appreciate the heart of these players.

Raw human determination can be unstoppable.

Watching quad rugby is inspirational.

For an explanation of quad rugby, click this photo and it will expand for easy reading.
For an explanation of quad rugby, click this photo and it will expand for easy reading.

The victorious Australian quad rugby team celebrates by joining hands.
The Australian quad rugby team celebrated their championship by forming a circle, joining hands and rocking the gymnasium with a spirited, victorious shout!

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!

Searching for warmth by the water on a chilly day.

A chilly wind. And an umbrella--just in case.
A chilly wind. And an umbrella–just in case.

This afternoon I went on a long, chilly walk along San Diego Bay. The sky was mostly gray. I regretted not wearing a light jacket. But I pressed on.

You never know when the sun might burst through.

The winter ice rink is being set up in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Anticipating holiday cheer.
The winter ice rink is being set up in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Anticipating warm holiday cheer.
Few people are out walking under the gray clouds. But two can always hold hands.
Few people are out walking under the gray clouds. But two can always hold hands.
Pigeons swoop in endless searching circles, before settling somewhere far away.
Pigeons swoop in long searching circles, before settling somewhere far away.
The sun is up there. Somewhere.
The sun is up there. Somewhere.
This person moving forward refuses to retreat.
This person moving forward refuses to retreat.
Time takes a toll. The Marriott Marina is slowly being refurbished. Moving forward, looking ahead.
Time takes a toll. The Marriott Marina is slowly being refurbished. Pushing forward, looking ahead.
A worker defies gravity near the Marriott Marquis.
A worker defies gravity near the Marriott Marquis.
Surfing Santa is awaiting the perfect wave. It should arrive soon.
Surfing Santa is awaiting a perfect wave–it should arrive in Seaport Village before too long.
Who is that lifting his hat! It's Mitchell, the cool didgeridoo guy! I was reminded by Mitchell that Earth's sun is a G-type main-sequence star. Nuclear fusion is pretty warm!
Who is that lifting his hat? It’s Mitchell, the cool didgeridoo guy! I was reminded by Mitchell that Earth’s sun is a G-type main-sequence star. I had forgotten. Nuclear fusion is pretty warm!
A smile like a ray of sunshine.
A smile like a ray of sunshine.

(And here I must make an apology.

While I sat on a rail speaking to Mitchell about life, the cosmos, and whatever, two smiling ladies came on by pushing a cart full of Noosa yogurt samples. Mitchell earned his sample by summoning deep magic with his didgeridoo. For my sample, I promised to post a photo of the smiling ladies on my blog–right here–where there is no photo.

Sorry. My camera beeped as if a photo were taken. But alas. My battery went dead and it turns out I don’t have that smiling photo.

I will say, however, that my Noosa yogurt was super creamy, yummy, and scrumdiddlyumptious. I really liked the bits of chocolate. I’m a sucker for chocolate.

There. Now will you forgive me?

Thank you ladies for helping to lift my spirits–it fits this theme perfectly!)

A distant kiteboarder, harnessing the chilly wind, rises above San Diego Bay.
A distant kiteboarder, harnessing the wind, rises above San Diego Bay.
Who cares about the weather? One can always make bubbles.
Who cares about the weather? One can always make bubbles.
Even during a gloomy spell, life can be very good!
Even during a gloomy spell, life can be very good! Just smile!

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!

Three short stories about creativity and freedom.

I’ve recently written three short stories that touch upon human creativity and freedom. And the unending struggle . . . and the infinite mystery . . . and slow, bitter anguish . . . and sudden inspiration . . . and that joy a creator experiences when they’ve assembled a thing that seems powerful and true. In other words, that wonderful but turbulent journey undertaken by every passionate artist.

These three new works of fiction can be found on my writing blog Short Stories by Richard. How it has grown! Please enjoy the following links:

A Secret Junkyard is an odd, funny story that concerns black despair and creative rebirth.

A Long, Deep Drink suggests that satisfaction can be found by turning to gaze in a different direction.

The Pistachio Rocket is about launching upward, ignoring rules.

I hope you enjoy reading these! You might be surprised!

Oil painted sails from the end of Broadway Pier.

Dozens of beautiful sails out on San Diego Bay yesterday. In the afternoon I sat at the end of Broadway Pier and lazily snapped photos.

I spotted tall ship Californian sailing gently past, and a host of shining sailboats racing across the blue water in the San Diego Yacht Club’s Lipton Cup fall regatta.

This morning, toying around with GIMP’s “oilify” filter, I created some dreamy images. I’ve never oil painted anything . . . but with the help of my trusty old computer, now I can pretend otherwise!

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 enjoy beautiful things? Visit my other photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

Art by creative homeless provides purpose, hope.

Life In A Meadow, by Chrystina W.
Life In A Meadow, by Chrystina W.

Some powerful canvases by talented artists are now on display on the first floor of the downtown San Diego Central Library. These artists all happen to be homeless.

The artwork you see in the following photos was created with the help of HEAL, a nonprofit organization that provides purpose, hope, and a creative outlet for the homeless in San Diego. Homeless Empowerment Through Art and Leadership has a Mobile Art Studio, allowing anyone on the streets to freely express themselves. Locations include Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and the downtown library. To learn more, click the photos of signs below and they will expand for easy reading!

If you’d like to shop for art that supports San Diego artists affected by homelessness, please visit HEAL’s Etsy store. The money from your purchase of artwork goes directly to the artist! (And please share that store’s link with your friends, too!)

If you happen to be homeless and are visiting my blog, first of all welcome! When I was young I was homeless myself for a time. But I found my way out of that maze and now have a hopeful, fulfilling life.

If you’re homeless, one thing you might consider doing is starting your own blog. You can easily start a free blog on WordPress. A public computer at the library is all you need! it’s actually pretty easy and if you accidentally mess up you can make changes or start over.

You can blog about anything that interests you. As you can see from my own blog, I like to walk around San Diego, take photographs and write short stories. After blogging consistently for a good while, Cool San Diego Sights now gets hundreds of page views every day! If I can accomplish that, believe me, anyone can! You just have to stick with it.

If you’re an artist and have a smartphone with a camera, you can use it to upload your own art online. Not only will that make you feel fantastic, and possibly open new avenues for your future, but by sharing your artwork with the world you might uplift the lives of many other people, too!

HEAL is a nonprofit that provides opportunities for creative self-expression and personal growth for individuals experiencing homelessness in San Diego.
HEAL is a nonprofit that provides opportunities for creative self-expression and personal growth for individuals experiencing homelessness in San Diego.
Many expressive works by talented artists are now on display at the San Diego Central Library.
Many expressive works by talented artists are now on display at the San Diego Central Library.
Blue Eye, by Dominique H.
Blue Eye, by Dominique H.
Fight To Be Happy, by Marius.
Fight To Be Happy, by Marius.
HEAL is Homeless Empowerment Through Art and Leadership. Their mobile art studio is free. Locations include Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and downtown San Diego. (Click the above image to expand it, for easy reading of days and times.)
HEAL is Homeless Empowerment Through Art and Leadership. Their mobile art studio is free. Locations include Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and downtown San Diego. (Click the above image to expand it, for easy reading of days and times.)
Love Is Eternal Tree, by Jolie.
Love Is Eternal Tree, by Jolie.
Geo Wood Collage, by Ben.
Geo Wood Collage, by Ben.
Circle Mandala, by Votive.
Circle Mandala, by Votive.
A Look Into My Mind, by David R.
A Look Into My Mind, by David R.
Sunny Day, by Carlos.
Sunny Day, by Carlos.
Shells By The River, by Propane Purps.
Shells By The River, by Propane Purps.
I Beseech You . . . Crows, by V The Artist.
I Beseech You . . . Crows, by V The Artist.
Memories Of The Caribbean, by Dario D.
Memories Of The Caribbean, by Dario D.
A very beautiful work of art. I apologize for not knowing the title or the artist's name.
A very beautiful work of art. I apologize for not knowing the title or the artist’s name.
Pink Sky, by Helena D.
Pink Sky, by Helena D.
River And Pine Trees, by Timothy R.
River And Pine Trees, by Timothy R.
Hindi Girl, by Shawn L.
Hindi Girl, by Shawn L.
Woman With Afro, by Dominique H.
Woman With Afro, by Dominique H.
Palms On The Beach, by Lawrence S.
Palms On The Beach, by Lawrence S.
Colorful Zig Zags, by Zak T.
Colorful Zig Zags, by Zak T.
Faces And Trees, by Vince and Leni.
Faces And Trees, by Vince and Leni.
Teal Dragon, by Kayla.
Teal Dragon, by Kayla.
Eye On A Butterfly, by Jelyn E.
Eye On A Butterfly, by Jelyn E.
Floating Face, by Kermina P.
Floating Face, by Kermina P.

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!